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Pet hate idioms used by railway enthusiasts


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4 hours ago, MidlandRed said:

Road traffic signals have a different process for showing aspects and in particular, show red, red and amber and green in that order from red.

 

That is not the sequence in North America. Here, it's red -> green directly. It cuts down 'creeping' as the red/yellow (!) shows in advance of the green. You can sometimes get a warning of the green if the signals for the cross street are visible, but you're not supposed to do that. 

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7 hours ago, Wickham Green too said:

I wonder if the mounted them upside down ??!?

 

in Boston (pronounced "bast'n") they are sometimes horizontal which can be a real burglar if you happen to be red-green color-blind.

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23 minutes ago, pH said:

 

That is not the sequence in North America. Here, it's red -> green directly. It cuts down 'creeping' as the red/yellow (!) shows in advance of the green. You can sometimes get a warning of the green if the signals for the cross street are visible, but you're not supposed to do that. 

 

Oh course automatic transmissions were much more common in NA than the UK. The amber gave people time to fumble around with the hand-brake, gear-stick and clutch before the green.

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7 hours ago, Wickham Green too said:

I wonder if the mounted them upside down ??!?

 

39 minutes ago, AndyID said:

 

in Boston (pronounced "bast'n") they are sometimes horizontal which can be a real burglar if you happen to be red-green color-blind.


And a single traffic signal is mounted upside down:

 

https://gizmodo.com/the-story-behind-syracuses-upside-down-traffic-light-1545301615

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1 hour ago, pH said:

 

That is not the sequence in North America. Here, it's red -> green directly. It cuts down 'creeping' as the red/yellow (!) shows in advance of the green. You can sometimes get a warning of the green if the signals for the cross street are visible, but you're not supposed to do that. 


The amber is probably more pertinent on the close of the stage - the sequence being green, amber, red. If you cross the stop line in front of a red light you commit an offence - clearly the amber enables motorists to prepare to stop (or to travel through without committing an offence if, for various reasons it’s unsafe to stop). The amber on the start up avoids wasted green time. It’s not too long ago that two aspect signals were used for road works (as indeed the manual version, using stop/go boards still is) - and for those who are old enough to remember, panda crossings (forerunner to pelican crossings) used two aspects, red and amber, no signal being shown when motorists could pass (motorists couldn’t cope with stopping at the red light, and the one introduced in 1961 near where I lived had a number of fatalities). The three aspects are for safety and operational reasons (though as we all know, auto enforcement with cameras is often necessary to avoid abuse of the safety margins, extending to red running for the first couple of seconds of red time - especially in congested areas like London). There is also the need to allow for the colour blind so seeing the signals in the same sequence helps, I guess. 
 

I always wondered whether the green above the red on railway signals may also have been related to the upper quadrant being the equivalent of green, and the horizontal, red (i.e stop) - hence green above red. Of course, this was not universal, some railways using the lower quadrant for the green equivalent... 

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1 hour ago, AndyID said:

 

Oh course automatic transmissions were much more common in NA than the UK. The amber gave people time to fumble around with the hand-brake, gear-stick and clutch before the green.

The 'red+amber' before green sequence was so there is no doubt of which colour is coming next. Just showing amber alone, the next colour will be red, no question. If the colours just alternated individually, when the amber was lit it would not be absolutely certain which colour was coming next, and as anyone who has done a lot of driving will know, there are plenty of occasions when you first 'sight' traffic lights in mid-sequence.

The 'red straight to green' certainly caught me out, the first time I drove in Europe.

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I dislike the announcements on some trains such as "This train is for Waterloo." 

 

No, the train is not for Waterloo, it is going to Waterloo. It is for the passengers who whatever the management may think are passengers not customers. 

 

Rant over (for now). 

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1 minute ago, Chris116 said:

I dislike the announcements on some trains such as "This train is for Waterloo." 

 

No, the train is not for Waterloo, it is going to Waterloo. It is for the passengers who whatever the management may think are passengers not customers. 

 

Rant over (for now). 

 

Funny thing is it's not even going to Waterloo.

 

The station in London is called London Waterloo.

 

The station named Waterloo is in Crosby. Look at the nameboards.

 

 

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3 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

The original normal arrangement of 4 aspects arranged  vertically had green at the bottom, a yellow aspect at the top and red between the two yellows.

 

On the LMR when Bletchley Power Box Opened in1965 the 4 Aspect Signals were, reading from the bottom, Red, Yellow,  green, Yellow.

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1 hour ago, Steamport Southport said:

Funny thing is it's not even going to Waterloo.

 

The station in London is called London Waterloo. ......

Wasn't always the case ....... but don't ask me when they dumbed it down for anyone who didn't know what city they were in  ..................... surprising they didn't add 'England' too !

 

Same, of course goes for Victoria and Charing Cross .............. at least we're spared London, London Bridge !

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As were the 4 aspect MAS Newport and Cardiff schemes.  I believe this was the national standard for such schemes at that time, and the ‘original’ normal arrangement the Mike refers to, which I couldn’t tell you the date of but I’m sure he can, had been superseded.  The double yellow aspect was the uppermost of the two yellows.  

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13 minutes ago, Wickham Green too said:

Wasn't always the case ....... but don't ask me when they dumbed it down for anyone who didn't know what city they were in  ..................... surprising they didn't add 'England' too !

 

Same, of course goes for Victoria and Charing Cross .............. at least we're spared London, London Bridge !

 

Definitely the case in BR days. I'm pretty sure I've seen photos of the large 1950s style green signs with London Waterloo on them.

 

At least NSE.

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/donotalighthere/6973111511

 

The Underground is Waterloo, but that doesn't count.

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5 hours ago, pH said:

 

That is not the sequence in North America. Here, it's red -> green directly. It cuts down 'creeping' as the red/yellow (!) shows in advance of the green. You can sometimes get a warning of the green if the signals for the cross street are visible, but you're not supposed to do that. 

Also been tried in the UK in some places but was restored to the original sequence.

 

In the UK it is:

Red - Stop

Red & Amber - Go

Green - Why haven't you moved yet?

Amber - Keep going

Red - Stop (but only if they've started crossing the other way)

:D

 

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7 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

The original normal arrangement of 4 aspects arranged  vertically had green at the bottom, a yellow aspect at the top and red between the two yellows.  Thel Southern cluster head signals had the two yellows arranged vertically and red and green placed either side of the horizontal centre line, and I believe the LMS cluster head signals were similar while early LMS 3 aspect heads with the aspects arranged vertically had red at the top.   Red was relocated to take the position at the bottom because of concerns over build up of snow on lens hoods but older signals with red in a different position survived fora long time - including one I photographed at Stratford (exGE version thereof) in the early 1990s.

 

The only signals which have the red aspect is specifically arranged to bring in nearer to a Driver's eye level is a ground mounted multiple aspect head.  In the case of all straight post signals the height of the signal structure decides which aspect (in a multiple aspect signal) is nearest to a Driver's eye level so it is nonsensical to suggest that red was moved to the bottom for that reason.  Gantry mounted multiple aspect signals only acquired red at the bottom as a result of the genera; change in the position of the red aspect.

 

 

Hi Mike

 

The signals in the Liverpool Street end of the GER lines didn't seem to match the standard of later systems, in fact they looked like someone had improvised on the basic theme. After all it is the land of the Jazz trains. 

 

From memory the four aspects were from top to bottom Green, Yellow, Red, Amber Yellow. I am sure Andi Dagworth will correct me if I have them wrong.

 

Some of the searchlight four aspect signals when going to double yellow could momentary show yellow/red or yellow/ green as the motor changed the lens.

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5 hours ago, MidlandRed said:

There is also the need to allow for the colour blind so seeing the signals in the same sequence helps, I guess. 

The sequence on the road signals of a Pelican varies from that of normal traffic lights though, Pelicans do not show the red and amber together phase, instead showing a flashing amber. 
 

Andi

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4 hours ago, Wickham Green too said:

Wasn't always the case ....... but don't ask me when they dumbed it down for anyone who didn't know what city they were in  ..................... surprising they didn't add 'England' too !

 

Same, of course goes for Victoria and Charing Cross .............. at least we're spared London, London Bridge !

The big LSWR terminus was not the only Waterloo in the UK, it had a namesake on the Brecon & Merthyr southern section's Machen-Caerphilly branch.  It was a little different from the better known Waterloo, consisting of a couple of sleepers to mark the edge of the 'platform', a gate, a lamp post, and a nameboard.  It was a request stop served by auto trains on the Newport-Pontypridd service, in one direction only.  Pontypridd-Newport trains served Fountain Inn, another ground level halt about 20 yards away, because the up and down lines ran on separate formations here in order to ease the gradients for loaded coal trains.  No clock to rendezvous beneath, no Great Train Robbers selling flowers, no Pullmans, in fact not much of anything really.  

 

But of course the station in London has to be London Waterloo in order to avoid confusion with the Welsh one.  Not sure how you differentiate the Welsh one from the one in Belgium where the battle was fought, though...

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8 hours ago, pH said:

 

That is not the sequence in North America. Here, it's red -> green directly. It cuts down 'creeping' as the red/yellow (!) shows in advance of the green. You can sometimes get a warning of the green if the signals for the cross street are visible, but you're not supposed to do that. 

Same down here. The pedestrian lights can also give some forewarning.

 

The sequence in reverse is, of course:

 

Green = Go

Amber = Go faster

Red = Stop

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7 hours ago, Dagworth said:

Pelicans do not show the red and amber together phase, instead showing a flashing amber. 

 

Which blind people can still easily distinguished from the amber-before-red phase because it's flashing.

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12 hours ago, MidlandRed said:

panda crossings (forerunner to pelican crossings) used two aspects, red and amber, no signal being shown when motorists could pass (motorists couldn’t cope with stopping at the red light, and the one introduced in 1961 near where I lived had a number of fatalities).

 

Panda crossings had two amber phases: the one before the red light "pulsated", and there was a flashing amber phase after the red light similar to what pelican crossings have.  They were devised as an alternative to zebra crossings for busy roads, partly because it was felt that allowing pedestrians to cross whenever they liked would "delay traffic" - heaven forfend.  The idea that drivers would be able to distinguish between "pulsating" and flashing, and thus know whether they should be prepared to stop, or could proceed with caution, was homicidally idiotic - especially when the system was effectively designed to encourage free flow of traffic, and thus implicitly suggest that the default situation should be that drivers should be expected to proceed rather than stop.  Over forty of these things were trialled around the UK over a five year period before the number of pedestrian casualties persuaded the MoT to come up with something better.

 

The pelican crossing was actually preceded by a thing called an "x-way" crossing, which was basically a pelican crossing but instead of a green light it had an illuminated white cross.  "X-ways" were rapidly rolled out as a direct replacement for the existing disastrous panda crossings, and it was quickly realised that the white cross was just silly - being basically a way to try to pretend that it wasn't actually a set of traffic lights - and the pelican crossing as we know it became the standard within a couple of years and began to be rolled out across the UK.

 

The first episode of the sixth series of Endeavour, set in in 1969, begins with Chief Superintendent Bright (portrayed by the rather wonderful Anton Lesser), having been moved from CID to Traffic, appearing in a public information film about pelican crossings - complete with actual pelican, much to the amusement of his colleagues.  This sequence even includes the explanation for the name, which was originally pelicon, from Pedestrian Light Controlled crossing.  That quickly became pelican, for simplicity, which then spawned the other avian-themed names such as the toucan crossing (which is designed to allow bicycles as well as pedestrians to cross - from "two can") and the puffin crossing, which is the type that has the pedestrian lights built in to the same box as the button that you press to cross, and which doesn't have the flashing amber phase for traffic on the carriageway (they use a sensor to detect when the crossing is clear before allowing traffic on the carriageway to proceed).  The puffin has replaced the pelican as the standard type for the majority of new light-controlled crossings these days.

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11 hours ago, Wickham Green too said:

Wasn't always the case ....... but don't ask me when they dumbed it down for anyone who didn't know what city they were in  ..................... surprising they didn't add 'England' too !

 

Same, of course goes for Victoria and Charing Cross .............. at least we're spared London, London Bridge !

It was done when it seemed to be fashionable to tag "London" onto transportation facilities - London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stanstead, London Luton & IIRC London Manston & London Lydd.

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Waverley is commonly referred to as "Edinburgh Waverley", despite the fact that Princes Street station disappeared decades ago.  There was a fair amount of discontent amongst locals when it was realised that it was referred to officially as just "Edinburgh" (e.g. on the National Rail Enquiries web site) but AFAIK that's still the case.

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