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Positions of signals and layout of point levers.


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I have some questions concerning the arrangement of point levers, also the positioning of signals. I am going to purchase Cobalt point levers by DCC concepts, up to 24 of them required, also what is needed to make a mimic panel to show point settings.

When looking at my trackplan, attached,  I will be standing in the middle and facing downwards, looking towards the station, engine yard and goods yard. So my left appears to the right on the diagram.

I plan to site the levers on the edge of the board near the station.

The levers for the fiddleyard, behind me, will also need to be mounted in front, since that's where the encoder boards will be located.

When positioning the point levers, I am thinking of three groups, one for each signal box and one for the engine yard. 

Also at some point, I hope that there will be working semaphore signals and I'm pondering the MegaPoints Controller system for that, but that will be after I have paid off the second mortgage on this project.

Notes:

Points

Point 5/6 is a double-slip to enable goods DOWN to reverse into goods yard.

A number of points are paired up and share one dcc address. These points are marked with one address number.

e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 21, 27, 29, 9, 11, 19, 18, 17, 16

Signals

S1/2 is a bracket distant. Can I get away with a single distant?

S6. Is it necessary, since I have S3/5 to protect point 9?

S9/10 is partly hidden behind a bridge, so I will need a high repeater.

S11 & S12. Do I need both? The distance between them is less than a 5-carriage train.

Ground signals

Is one needed at point 7?

Do I need a ground signal protecting the exit from goods yard to DOWN MAIN over point 6?

Do I need a ground signal protecting the exit from goods yard to UP MAIN over point 9?

Is the exit from goods line onto MAIN protected by a normal signal or a ground signal?

 

 

 

 

I have questions concerning the arrangement of point levers, also the positioning of signals. I am going to purchase Cobalt point levers by DCC concepts, up to 24 of them required, also what is needed to make a mimic panel to show point settings.

When looking at my trackplan, attached,  I will be standing in the middle and facing downwards, looking towards the station, engine yard and goods yard. So my left appears to the right on the diagram.

I plan to site the levers on the edge of the board near the station.

The levers for the fiddleyard, behind me, will also need to be mounted in front, since that's where the encoder boards will be located.

When positioning the point levers, I am thinking of three groups, one for each signal box and one for the engine yard. 

Also at some point, I hope that there will be working semaphore signals and I'm pondering the MegaPoints Controller system for that, but that will be after I have paid off the second mortgage on this project.

Notes:

Points

Point 5/6 is a double-slip to enable goods DOWN to reverse into goods yard.

A number of points are paired up and share one dcc address. These points are marked with one address number.

e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 21, 27, 29, 9, 11, 19, 18, 17, 16

Signals

S1/2 is a bracket distant. Can I get away with a single distant?

S6. Is it necessary, since I have S3/5 to protect point 9?

S9/10 is partly hidden behind a bridge, so I will need a high repeater.

S11 & S12. Do I need both? The distance between them is less than a 5-carriage train.

Ground signals

Is one needed at point 7?

Do I need a ground signal protecting the exit from goods yard to DOWN MAIN over point 6?

Do I need a ground signal protecting the exit from goods yard to UP MAIN over point 9?

Is the exit from goods line onto MAIN protected by a normal signal or a ground signal?

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image.png.30776f3d971c52a6800f06504001b991.png

 

 

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  • RMweb Gold

An important question - which company/BR Region and what period are you portraying?

 

The double slip looks very wrong to my eyes and should really be a single slip with no facing entry off the running line into the sidings - any shunt off that line would propel in through the trailining connection.

 

 I can't see any real need for two signal boxes although that does depend very much on era and part of the country you are portraying.

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Thank you for your questions.

The location is deliberately non-descript.  The locomotives are all steam and BR, but the types represent each of the big four. So Anytown middle England will do.

It's a Double-slip because that's what I had and I could not justify the expense.

It's 2 signal boxes because I took my trackplan with me to Alexandra Palace a couple of years back and consulted a gentleman demonstrating building signals, a retired railway signalman with The Model Railway Club.  I wanted to know how it should be signalled. He told me that two boxes was plausable, given the curve in the track.  This also meant that I did not have to lay rodding through the station.  The few signals that I have constructed are all upper quadrant.

Hope that helps.

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44 minutes ago, Flying Pig said:

Would it be possible to move crossover 11 adjacent to crossover 9 and abolish the north box?

Crossover 9 is nearer to the South Box than it is to the North Box and crossover 11 is still well within normal operating distance of the South Box.

 

If we are going for 'anytown' let's di a bit of simplification - you could do away completely with visible distant signal s if you want and assume that each 'box has control of the off scene distant of the other.  If you want to retain lower arm distants because you like the look of them then do so and do it properly - thus S10 would also havea lower arm distant or far more logically it would actually be slotted by the pother 'bocx because they are so close together.

 

There's no b need at all for the splitting distant on anybody's method of signalling in Britain after the relatively early Pre-Group years but each 'box - if you are going to work them as separate 'boxes would be likely to have control of the other's distant signals because of the very short distance between them.  In the real world most of the Big Four would have abolished one of the 'boxes at some time because they are so close together - having them separate serves no purpose at all and complicates the working plus increasing running costs in the real world.

 

In fact looking at the scale plan the way in which points and signals have been allocated to the two 'boxes isn't really  logical and compared with the scale plan there are too many stop signals. S8, S9, and S10 on the scale plan make perfect sense in terms of distance between them and you only need to add an Advanced starting Signal (= to the one you show as S12).  similarly in the opposite direction S3, S5, and S6 on the scale plan make perfect sense. (S6 on your signal box plans, aka S5 on your scale plan, would have to be a stop signal with a red arm as it protects a trailing connection.)

 

Unless you can find some really compelling reason to have two signal boxes I wouldn't do it.   And if you are going to have two then logically points should be worked by the 'box nearest to them - which means that the 'box at the far end of the station will only work the trailing crossover next to it and nothing else.  On the scale plan all the other points are nearer to the signalbox at the other end of the station.

 

As modellers we have to compress things to fit into the space we have for a layout but we must do that selectively (selective compression) and we also need to do it believably.  The logic of a signal box working the points nearest to it remains the same in model form as it does in the real world if we are looking to portray the real world.  Of course we might not be trying to portray the real world - it all depends on the amount of 'believability' we want our layout to convey.

 

As far as the ground discs are concerned it's looking perfectly ok if you are aiming for something more generic rather than capturing a particular Company's way of doing things.  The only question mark comes with what you have called the 'Goods Line' where I'm a little unsure about its purpose?  If it is intended purely as an access for shunting the various sidings then apart from S5 on the signal box diagram/S4 on the scale plan what you have is ok but I would reduce S4 to a ground disc adjacent to the running signal.  If you intend to be a 'proper' Goods Loop line then you need a semaphore signal for the exit back onto the running line in addition to the ground disc reading to the sidings.

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S6 would have been a stop arm not a distant - the distant for North box would have been S4, or more probably the same distant as South box (ie distant off = clear road through the station).  Likewise with the distant S9.  I would also expect to see a running signal rather than a disc as the exit from the goods line - if indeeed it is used as a goods loop.  If it just part of the goods yard, then the disc is OK for that purpose, though perhaps a yellow disc or a second red disc for access to the sidings dependent on the company.

 

If north box controls crossover 9, then surely you do need rodding through the station?  By the date that those points became power -worked (obviating the need for rodding) the signalling would have been rationalised to a single signal box.

 

As regards S1/2, I wouldn't expect a splitting distant into a goods yard or goods running line, as the entrance points would be low speed, so only the one distant.

 

I am with Flying Pig on moving 11 crossover as that is the only reason for having north box - but perhaps you need in at that end to use the platform length in order to run round trains?  UNLESS you intend to terminate Down trains in the platform and send them back in the Up direction, which case you would need a running signal for that move.  

 

The layout on your screenshots don't look like a proper box diagram because they just look wrong with the exits from the fiddle yard not protected by signals.  The fiddle yard of course is notionally another station or the rest of the world, and wouldn't be worked from that box anyway.  So I would put the fiddle yard control onto a completely separate screen/set of levers, and  the screens for the scenic area could then look more like box diagrams, especially if you added the platforms.

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Thank you for your comment everyone.  They were very helpful; I had to read them a couple of times and keep referring back to my diagrams.

Yes, certainly compression does play a big part in this layout.  That's all the space I have and it was a long journey to get that trackplan.

Removing the North Signal Box will be an easy one, although I have got used to seeing it there now.

That also means combining the North and South diagrams; which makes the printout twice as long and I don't fancy buying an A3 laminator just for this.

I had not thought of having the fiddleyard points on their own diagram.  Yes, the fiddleyard is 'off stage' and I have built a pair of bridges across the track at each end to mark the limits of the scene.

 

Regarding running (non-operating) rodding from the south box to points S11 and the signals there,  space through the station is tight.  Can the rodding run between the up and down lines? Can it run behind the Down platform?  Or since I cannot see it from inside the layout, I might just have it disappearing between the south track and the platform?  (that would save me a few pounds, the Ratio plastic rodding is quite expensive; will also save depleting the stock at my shop)

Points S11 will stay where they are, I need them for when I want to disconnect a loco and run it round.  Besides, it's all ballasted now.

Not needing a bracket distant (S1/S2) is welcomed.  Anything that reduces the number of signals I have yet to build is always welcome.

 

I think I can go ahead and order those levers now.

Thank you again.

Alan

 

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  • RMweb Gold

Normally the rodding through a platform area would be between the sleeper ends adjacent to the platform wall and that gives plenty of room for two rods so a single rod is easy and was a very common sight in the past.  But it isn't easy to do if you've already ballasted and as the Wills rodding is overscale it might not fit very well anyway.  Going into the 6 foot between the two lines was done occasionally but was unusual because it cost more needing more ct ranks etc than a run between teh sleeper ends.  and it was also a major hazard to staff working on the ground.

 

But your compromise idea of just having the parts of the run not hidden by the platform strikes me as a good compromise although you might need to chose your angles very carefully when taking photos of the layout ;)

 

 

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Because of your sharply curved platforms I would suggest you might want to deem 11 crossover motor worked if you abolish north box.  Rodding doesn't like going round corners.  Rods are straight and whilst they can change direction at a compensator or a crank, it's a series of straight runs changing the angle a bit every so far, and you don't want too many in the run.  I have seen rodding in strange places not even adjacent to the track but it's most unusal and not appropriate here.

 

The longer the rodding run the heavier the points are to work, and accomodating curves only makes it worse.  The Board of Trade set a limit at various dates, which is why the ideal position for a signalbox (in the absence of level crossings) is half way between the two outermost sets of points. 

 

One rod only is usually needed for a crossover, working both points with additional rodding with a compensator connecting them together.  A second rod for a Facing Point Lock is required if passenger trains are signalled over it from the toe of a point, but 11 is a trailing crossover.  But install motor points and there's no rodding, and it overcomes the potential problem of distance from the Box!

 

See also this thread...

 

 

Edited by Michael Hodgson
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Hello Michael, Mike.

I just took a good look at my layout  with a tape measure.  It's not just point(s) 11 that's rodded, the first points at the end of the fiddleyard just stick out of the end of the bridge mouth, so they are rodded also.  Then there will be signals 7 to 9.

In all, that's about 14m of Wills rodding back to the South Box, or over £100 on something that is purely cosmetic.  I just cannot justify that sort of expense.

So my options are:

1. As suggested, use motors. But were they available in the 50's and what about the three signals?  I am ignoring the ground signals.

2. Leave the North Box where it is and say that it is the start of the next block that goes beyond the end of the scenic area under the bridge. After all, the scale is compressed.

3. Remove the North Box and have the rodding run under the bridge in the opposite direction because it belongs to the next block northbound. This will mean that I use up the spare rodding that I have and don't need to buy any more rodding kits.

 

Having already placed the North Box, I know what is my favourite option is.  I suppose that the South Box could be moved further south to the inside of the curve beyond points 5/6, to make a stronger case for the North Box; but then I am back to adding significant rodding (cost) threading its way through the points.

 

As we all know, our layouts are a compromise and sometimes reality has to be suspended.  However, I can take away from this, the recommendations on additional signals.

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5 hours ago, AyJay said:

Hello Michael, Mike.

I just took a good look at my layout  with a tape measure.  It's not just point(s) 11 that's rodded, the first points at the end of the fiddleyard just stick out of the end of the bridge mouth, so they are rodded also.  Then there will be signals 7 to 9.

In all, that's about 14m of Wills rodding back to the South Box, or over £100 on something that is purely cosmetic.  I just cannot justify that sort of expense.

So my options are:

1. As suggested, use motors. But were they available in the 50's and what about the three signals?  I am ignoring the ground signals.

2. Leave the North Box where it is and say that it is the start of the next block that goes beyond the end of the scenic area under the bridge. After all, the scale is compressed.

3. Remove the North Box and have the rodding run under the bridge in the opposite direction because it belongs to the next block northbound. This will mean that I use up the spare rodding that I have and don't need to buy any more rodding kits.

 

Having already placed the North Box, I know what is my favourite option is.  I suppose that the South Box could be moved further south to the inside of the curve beyond points 5/6, to make a stronger case for the North Box; but then I am back to adding significant rodding (cost) threading its way through the points.

 

As we all know, our layouts are a compromise and sometimes reality has to be suspended.  However, I can take away from this, the recommendations on additional signals.

First of all I would totally detach any involvement with the fiddle yard from the scenic part of the layout.  There are no signals in the fiddle yard area and the multiplicity of fiddle yard tracks at the n North Box end is not exactly 'everyday railway' in appearance.  As someone has already suggested up thread you need to completely separate fiddle yard pointwork from the 'visible' part of the layout.

 

Yes, point machines were available in the 1950s but they would hardly have been likely to have been used in the situation of crossover No.11 - it was well within the distance for mechanical operation by rodding.  The curve on the layout is of necessaity - on just about every layout we care to name - much tighter than it would be in the real world and in fact the radius is so tight virtually no normal main line locos would be allowed round it.  If you consider it believable to run a pacific or large 4-6-0 or 2-8-0 or any Type 4 diesel to run round it then it is equally suitable for a rodding run.  Rodding runs obviously had to go round v curves because the railway isn't always straight especially where there site constraints and complex layouts.  In case anyone considers that to be wrong here is a photo of a rodding run with a curve in it - albeit on a heritage railway but the chap who laid it out had plenty experience of curved runs on BR and more than a few folk, including me, have worked levers operating curved rodding runs and lived to tell the tale without a rupture.

 

1243828684_IMGP6981copy.jpg.e30571a88b0f03aef473f729dbe924a3.jpg

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  • RMweb Gold

If you are really attempting to have a realistic lever layout you probably shouldn't attempt to control the points in your yard or shed areas from your simulated signal box(es).

 

You could maybe put those controls on a separate panel, possibly in a different form to clearly distinguish between the "proper" signalling and the model controls.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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22 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

If you are really attempting to have a realistic lever layout you probably shouldn't attempt to control the points in your yard or shed areas from you simulated signal box(es).

 

You could maybe put those controls on a separate panel, possibly in a different form to clearly distinguish between the "proper" signalling and the model controls.

 

 

A good example of this is the Plumpton S4 layout which features on several YouTube videos.

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I don't want to get fixated on the engine yard/fiddle yard.

The points in the engine yard will have ground levers (non-working) attached to them when I reach that level of detailing.  Don't want to fit them yet as I risk breaking them.

The fiddleyard is 'off stage' and does not count.

It is just the points associated with the main lines that are rodded.

All of the points will be operated by Cobalt levers.  The levers for the main line will be arranged in a group, centre front of operating area.

The levers for the fiddle yard will be in a second group to one side, as will the levers for the engine yard.

But, they will all be within reach ( 0.5m) of the two Cobalt Encoder boards that will be needed.

Behind the levers will be the mimic panel with LED's.

 

This enquiry was really about what signals are needed and how the levers should be arranged.  I was not expecting scope creep to take me into why I have a second signal box.

I have some success with making several signals in brass, from kits supplied by MSE (or is it Wizard now?).  I will need to make some more and am just pleased that I don't have to make another bracket signal. The four bracket signals I made for my last layout were an utter ***** to build.

I hope at some point to have the signals operating by servos, controlled by the MegaPoints Controllers system, once I establish if it can be interfaced to the points control?

Phew!

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