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Signals and Box placement


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Hi

 

I'm after some advice. After years of waiting i've finally been able to build a layout. It consists of a modern loop and a heritage point to point track. Ive started work on detailing one end of the heritage line but need some advice on where to place the signal box and signals. The station consists of two terminus lines and a short shunting line. It is based in the GWR region and very loosely inspired by Staverton in Devon.

 

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers

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My experience is that heritage lines tend to fall into two categories.

1. No signalling at all, relying on one-engine-in-steam principles. 

2. Luxurious signalling to cater for all possibilities.

Its important to remember that the degree of signalling provided was dictated by the train movements envisaged by the traffic dept. 

With no run round loop, I suspect your layout very much falls into the OEIS mode of working!

 

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A heritage line would usually put their signalbox (if any) where the line originally had one.  That might be appropriate to the station when it was a through station, although the heritage organisation might only be using it as a terminus having only enough funds for part of the original route.

 

If there is a level crossing, I would expect the box to be next to that.

Otherwise it would be close to the points it controls, as you don't want a long run of point rodding with mechanical operation. 

 

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The station as drawn wouldn't normally have signals or a signal box.   With no run round loop on a network rail line there is no scope for goods traffic  so little point in having the sidings.   With a heritage line the maybe the turnback loco could lurk in a siding  which could give scope for starting signals and a signal box at the station throat, even a splitting home signal to route the trains to one or other of the platforms.   I don't know of any actual examples as usually they  top and tail trains where no run round is available as indeed do engineers trans etc trans on the network rail system but hey its your railway.  There will always be someone telling you it's wrong.   I would suggest 1850s GWR disc and crossbar signals mixed with 4 aspect colour lights on ex GNR lattice posts to really wind them up.

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If it's based on a prototype, go with the prototype. Staverton has a ground level box (Peco SS29 isn't a bad match) which had about a dozen levers in a ground frame, although there were a couple more sidings to control. IIRC it only has 2 or 3 levers still in use since Bishops Bridge was put in.

 

Probably the easiest way to justify signals would be a level crossing. Here's one example.

 

Berwig_Halt_railway_station_(postcard).j

 

Cheers

David

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To Jester.

 

Looking at your layout I would suggest the following.

 

1). A bracket home signal at the first set of points on the approach to the station with the tallest arm on the right  hand side to lead into the main platform and a lower arm bracketed to the left to route into the bay. If you really want to make it look good, you could add a raised disc signal, (normally, but not exclusively, seen as ground signals), to the left of that to route into the siding.  The photo below shows what I mean albeit from behind. In this case, the arms seen from the front would be the reverse of what you need, i.e. the higher arm is on the left, the lower arm in the middle and the disc on the right. (Ignore the lowered "calling on" arm below the higher arm in this case). These signals are at the approach to Buckfastleigh just along the line from Staverton. Here the higher arm routes into the platform, the lower arm into the loop and the disc into the yard. When this photo was taken the locomotive had just run around its train which was in the platform, hence the use of the calling on arm.1951450339_3205lightatBuckfastleigh041010.jpg.0bb21ae96b1be276bba795446e4ef922.jpg

 

2). Also on the approach and If you have sufficient room you could also have a fixed distant on the approach to the station, (around 800 - 1200 scale yards from the home signals, (or thereabouts).

 

3). A starting signal on both sides of the platform for trains to depart. You could also add a ground signal at the exit from the siding. (The Great Western were well known for providing signal for every eventuality.)

 

4). Again, if you have room you could install an advanced starting signal. Alternatively a "limit of shunt" board would be in order.

 

As for the position of the signal box, in your case I would make two suggestions, both of which would be prototypical. Either at the approach side of the first set of points or on the end of the platform itself. Both locations would be close to the points and signals and also make it easier for the signalman to hand over/receive the single line tokens to/from the loco crews.

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by Coombe Vale
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11 minutes ago, DavidB-AU said:

If it's based on a prototype, go with the prototype.

Trouble is Jester's plan is a terminus and Staverton is a through station with a passing loop and sidings. In fairness though Jester did say his plan is "inspired by" not "based on" Staverton. 

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1 hour ago, Coombe Vale said:

Trouble is Jester's plan is a terminus and Staverton is a through station with a passing loop and sidings. In fairness though Jester did say his plan is "inspired by" not "based on" Staverton. 

 

Marty, you're not thinking fourth dimensionally. Staverton has passing loop now but it didn't when SDR reopened in 1969. It didn't get the passing loop and most of the sidings until 30 years later.

 

You could imagine the line continues and the heritage group hasn't yet reopened the next section beyond this temporary terminus. In fact instead of a buffer stop, have a stop board and imagine the track beyond is still being restored. There are preservation precedents to have a temporary terminus on a single line without passing loop. Think of Berwyn on the Llangollen. Just top and tail all the trains or have them propel in one direction.

 

Cheers

David

Edited by DavidB-AU
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7 hours ago, Jester said:

The station consists of two terminus lines and a short shunting line.

You need a run-round loop. Period.

 

No heritage line running anything other than DMUs would be able to operate the terminus as drawn. There has to be a way of getting the loco (steam or diesel) to the front of the train. Propelling a train is simply not done.

 

The only alternative is to top-and-tail every train - only practical in unusual and temporary circumstances such as damage to the loop pointwork at Broadway on the GWSR recently.

 

If space is a problem, lose the second terminus line - these are not so common on preserved lines.

 

Yours, Mike.

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42 minutes ago, KingEdwardII said:

You need a run-round loop. Period.

 

No heritage line running anything other than DMUs would be able to operate the terminus as drawn.

 

Again I'll point you to Berwyn which was the temporary terminus of the Llangollen from 1986 to 1990.

 

  

42 minutes ago, KingEdwardII said:

Propelling a train is simply not done.

 

It is done today at Didcot, the Manchester Science and Industry Museum, the Beamish Museum and the Alderney Railway to name just a few. And it was done on many other heritage lines in the early days.

 

Cheers

David

Edited by DavidB-AU
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9 minutes ago, DavidB-AU said:

It is at Didcot...etc

On (very) short demonstration-style tracks. I've even driven KEII at Didcot myself and yes, propelled a coach up the main line there.  But these cases are hardly representations of a branch line terminus.

 

Propelling coaches is not a general practice at heritage lines - far from it. And I note that the Llangollen soon adopted a terminus with a run-round once they had a suitable length of line. If you're modelling a preserved line terminus, it will have a run-round.

 

Yours, Mike.

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4 minutes ago, KingEdwardII said:

On (very) short demonstration-style tracks. I've even driven KEII at Didcot myself and yes, propelled a coach up the main line there.  But these cases are hardly representations of a branch line terminus.

 

Propelling coaches is not a general practice at heritage lines - far from it. And I note that the Llangollen soon adopted a terminus with a run-round once they had a suitable length of line. If you're modelling a preserved line terminus, it will have a run-round.

 

Hence my early suggestion that the line is still being restored and this is a temporary terminus. There is plenty of historical precedent for not having one. 

 

And it's done on Alderney today, not on a short demonstration-style track.

 

Cheers
David

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Thanks for all the replies. I should probably claify my ideas bit:

 

The concept of this side of the layout is modeling the fictional town of Leston. This town used to have a twin line cross county route towards Birmingham and a single track branch line to local villages and industries. In the 50s/60s the branch line was axed completely and Leston station closed and demolished. The cross country line stayed open but just for through trains. In the late 80s due to increased demand a new station was built on the site of the old Leston station, restoring cross country services. At the same time a preservation group had sought to reopen parts of the old brachline and built a new terminus called Leston North on the site of a former good sidings just outside Leston. The buildings here are recycled from other closed parts of the network or new builds with a 'period' style.

 

Due to buliding this in my loft I have a few space constraints that limit what I can do. To fit a run-around in I would be limited to rakes of only 2 coaches with any engines bigger than an 0-6-0. I operate the terminus syle layout using multiple engines so as one train comes in, the loco is detached and another connects at the other end and drives the train back out. I do have a run-around at the other end where i have much more space.

 

Pics show the progress so far.

IMG_20211008_111601.jpg

IMG_20211008_111359 (1).jpg

IMG_20211008_111551.jpg

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On 07/10/2021 at 22:57, ikcdab said:

My experience is that heritage lines tend to fall into two categories.

1. No signalling at all, relying on one-engine-in-steam principles. 

2. Luxurious signalling to cater for all possibilities.

Its important to remember that the degree of signalling provided was dictated by the train movements envisaged by the traffic dept. 

With no run round loop, I suspect your layout very much falls into the OEIS mode of working!

 

Not necessarily- the Northampton and Lamport is OEIS with full (indeed potentially ludicrously so) signalling. 3 signal boxes in less than half a mile with no run round loops!

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8 hours ago, Helmdon said:

Not necessarily- the Northampton and Lamport is OEIS with full (indeed potentially ludicrously so) signalling. 3 signal boxes in less than half a mile with no run round loops!

Sounds like my option 2....

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The placing of a signal box is governed by a combination of several factors, including proximity to the turnouts in order to minimise the runs of the rodding, proximity to the signals themselves in order to minimise the cable runs, the need to operate level crossings, and positioning to enable the signalman to have a clear view of operations.  Thus, they tend to be sited on the outside of running line curves, or adjacent to junctions.  On some single track routes with passing loops at stations, they are situated on the main platform next to the station building, a factor in the combined negligence of the station staff that resulted in the Abermule disaster.

 

These same factors will influence the siting of signal boxes on heritage railways; usually the original site is used when the station is restored.  In the case of Jester's heritage terminus, my feeling is that the most natural position is level with the platform ramp but on the other side of the heritage main running line, in between it and the Network Rail running lines.  There will be a fence separating the heritage property from NR, which will run behind the box.  This gives the best view of the operations for the signalman. 

 

 

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22 hours ago, Helmdon said:

Not necessarily- the Northampton and Lamport is OEIS with full (indeed potentially ludicrously so) signalling. 3 signal boxes in less than half a mile with no run round loops!

I don't know if it's operational yet but the new platform at the Windhover has a run aound loop.

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54 minutes ago, RobinofLoxley said:

I don't know if it's operational yet but the new platform at the Windhover has a run aound loop.

it does and it isn't (as in the whole station isn't operational) - sometime next year with a bit of luck and fingers crossed. In fact, service trains are still not going south of Pitsford sidings to date.

 

Unfortunately the loop is still the only one - ie there isn't one up at Merry Tom crossing, and nor is there one at Pitsford & Brampton, so I don't think propelling will be finishing any time soon.

 

However.... the latest update from the in-house magazine is that when Boughton is open attention will turn back to getting north to Spratton, so eventually the lack of loop at P&B won't matter. But I'd say a good few years/decade in the future.

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15 hours ago, ikcdab said:

Sounds like my option 2....

sorry, I was commenting that it's more like secret option 3 - 'all signalled up with one engine in steam, propelling, and nowhere to go'!

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7 minutes ago, Helmdon said:

However.... the latest update from the in-house magazine is that when Boughton is open attention will turn back to getting north to Spratton, so eventually the lack of loop at P&B won't matter. But I'd say a good few years/decade in the future.

 

And considering they have been operating without a run around since 1995, this is more than sufficient historical precedent. It's how many fledgling heritage lines started.

 

Cheers

David

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48 minutes ago, DavidB-AU said:

 

And considering they have been operating without a run around since 1995, this is more than sufficient historical precedent. It's how many fledgling heritage lines started.

 

Cheers

David

 

The ORR (and their immediate predecessors) do not like propelling passenger trains over signifficant distances or on a regular basis unless a the leading vehicle is fitted out akin to a DVT with the means to immediately stop the train and audible warning devices.

 

When the Bluebell started its shuttle to Horsted House farm in the late 80s it fitted an observation window into a yellow painted gangway cover of a coach plus required the guard to station themselves at that end ready to apply the brake if anything went wrong or to use a horn to give an audible warning to track workers.

 

While a potential easy thing to do it does introduce a lack of flexibility as you now require a specific piece of rolling stock on every train.

 

Thats why lots of railways go for two locos in a top and tail arrangement. Driver is at the front at all times and no adaptions are necessary to the rolling stock.

 

 

 

 

Edited by phil-b259
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On 08/10/2021 at 11:54, Jester said:

Thanks for all the replies. I should probably claify my ideas bit:

 

Due to buliding this in my loft I have a few space constraints that limit what I can do. To fit a run-around in I would be limited to rakes of only 2 coaches with any engines bigger than an 0-6-0. I operate the terminus syle layout using multiple engines so as one train comes in, the loco is detached and another connects at the other end and drives the train back out. I do have a run-around at the other end where i have much more space.

 

 

The Spa Valley Railway have a similar setup at Eridge which has no signals and just a simple ground frame to operate a couple of point ends.

 

Due to there not being space for a loop direct access to the National Rail station car park being in the way of the only possible way of providing one and the ground frame only being able to be worked once the single line token has been inserted to unlock it,  they sometimes operate in a similar way. Basically...

 

(1) First train arrives into Eridge 'top and tailed' with a single line token from Groombridge.

(2) Rear loco pulls train back out of the platform

(3) Single line Token is used to unlock the groundframe

(4) Leading loco is detached and put in the bay

(5) Ground frame restored to normal and train propelled by loco back into the platform

(6) Token returned to the train and what was the rear loco of the incoming train takes the outgoing train back to Groombridge.

 

Then

 

(7) Next train arrives from Groombridge into main platform

(8) Loco released from bay platform and couples to the rear of the arrived train.

(9) Entire train pulled back clear of the points

(10) What was the leading loco split off and put in the bay

(11) Train propelled back into the platform.

 

Until the last train of the day when the loco in the bay is simply dropped on top of the train and the whole thing heads back in 'top and tail' mode.

 

Of course this is a bit of a faff - and due to the limited space at Tunbridge Wells West platform its sometimes easier just to top & tail every train - which does away with any issues about propelling over long distances of course.

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1 hour ago, phil-b259 said:

 

 

While a potential easy thing to do it does introduce a lack of flexibility as you now require a specific piece of rolling stock on every train.

 

 

though made considerably easier when you've only got three carriages in service on the railway anyway... If the carriage with the viewing gangway goes u/s then you're not running trains (or have to top and tail).

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49 minutes ago, Helmdon said:

though made considerably easier when you've only got three carriages in service on the railway anyway... If the carriage with the viewing gangway goes u/s then you're not running trains (or have to top and tail).

 

This is true - but most Heritage railways (as opposed to museum sites with demo lines) know that not being able to run a service is a significant threat to their exsistance. As such they will seek to have sufficient vehicles and traction available that trains are not sidelined by the failure of a single vehicle.

 

Similarly 'top and tailing' is only an option if you have sufficient traction in working order to do it -if thats what you are relying on and one one of your loco breaks down but you have nothing to replace it then you also end up not being able to run.

 

Hence what pretty much every Heritage railway does once they are up and running is look for a place to put in a run round loop. If this cannot be done at the station itself then having one beyond it (Chinnor and Groombridge being good examples) is always an option. This then gives the railway a lot more flexibility even if it does lead to a more complex operation (e.g. making sure all passengers have alighted at Chinor as the the loop is not fitted with FPLs while the train is shunted and the loco swapped from one end to the other).

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49 minutes ago, phil-b259 said:

 

This is true - but most Heritage railways (as opposed to museum sites with demo lines) know that not being able to run a service is a significant threat to their exsistance. As such they will seek to have sufficient vehicles and traction available that trains are not sidelined by the failure of a single vehicle.

 

Similarly 'top and tailing' is only an option if you have sufficient traction in working order to do it -if thats what you are relying on and one one of your loco breaks down but you have nothing to replace it then you also end up not being able to run.

 

Hence what pretty much every Heritage railway does once they are up and running is look for a place to put in a run round loop. If this cannot be done at the station itself then having one beyond it (Chinnor and Groombridge being good examples) is always an option. This then gives the railway a lot more flexibility even if it does lead to a more complex operation (e.g. making sure all passengers have alighted at Chinor as the the loop is not fitted with FPLs while the train is shunted and the loco swapped from one end to the other).

agree with all of that - the 'only three coaches' was a specific reference back to the N&L example.

 

There is a station loop at Pitsford actually - much like Chinnor it's beyond the station, but it tends to get used for stock storage.

 

At Chinnor the loop being beyond the station has allowed the railway to preserve the atmosphere of a sleepy Watlington branch station - something that I'm a bit worried is going to be swept away with the redevelopment and new footbridge... 

 

Still, as I think the thread's proving there's pretty well a prototype for anything!

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