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Everything posted by TheSignalEngineer

  1. The various lines of my family mostly moved to Birmingham in the second half of the 19th century, although I have traced one connection back to the time of Oliver Cromwell's mates having a bit of a scrap at Camp Hill. Three of my grandparents had railway in the family so it was I suppose inevitable that I followed on, eventually spending almost fifty years directly or indirectly earning a living from it. My earliest railway memory was just before my second birthday. I had a great aunt who was married to a Monument Lane driver. My Dad took me down to New Street to get the tickets for our holiday trip to my Mom's ATS friend who lived in Brighton. He arranged it to coincide with a particular train that our relative was booked to work and I was lifted up onto the footplate. My earliest memory is of being held aloft to pull the whistle cord to acknowledge the Guard's whistle before being handed back down to the platform. The next memories of the railway were trains running along the embankment between Selly Oak and where University station now stands, then when we got allocated a new house we used to catch the bus near Stechford station. That was where I saw my first Stanier Pacifics on Sunday diversions, We also walked up to the old airfield where Castle Vale estate now stands to visit the British Industries Fair and Battle of Britain displays. In those days if you were lucky you might catch a Garrett on the long coal trains into Washwood Heath. Growing up a bit and moving to a better house after my sister was born and it was train spotting at New Street on a regular basis before Snow Hill was discovered. I had been there before to catch the night train to Cornwall on a busy Friday in summer, a big adventure for a lad of about four at the time. Talking of model shops, I often used the one in Burlington Arcade, but mention of Bearwood Models brought back a lot of memories. Before the shop in Constitution Hill they had one on The Parade at the bottom of Summer Row which was close to where my Dad worked. I still have the Hornby Dublo 3-rail stuff which came from there in the 1950s, and it still runs perfectly.
  2. As far as I remember there was no switching of the OLE at Piccadilly. The DC was cut back to the bays at Oxford Road and the AM4 units initially worked Crewe to Oxford Road as 25KV then later through to Altrincham when that section was converted.
  3. True even the buffers were painted brown on the white ones, but then very little of the livery complied with the Corporate Identity Manual. Plain blue DMUs originally had blue solebars.
  4. Not seen one so far. The dates I have seen are unfitted up to 27/7/1959 and fitted from 12/4/1962 so not a lot of help. As far as livery goes most of the pictures are no help as the loco spent most of its time in unlined grot.
  5. Even then it can be awkward. On an LMR 1943 pattern frame I could probably get out about 80% of the levers with little problem. The rest could be a bit difficult especially next to a join in the locking trays.
  6. We often did that during stagework and when a box was due to come out of use in the near future. I don't know when it was actually introduced. It was not in the 1928 requirements but certainly appeared in the 1950 edition.
  7. Evening Paul, This is an explanation of lever positions and contacts we prepared earlier, about 32 years ago for some training notes actually. Eric Updated higher resolution attachment added 13May2022 12:36
  8. I saw a lever snapped in the frame at Duddeston Road. It was the one controlling the points at the entrance to Saltley loco shed, so a bit inconvenient. Fortunately with an LMR standard frame it was quite easy to change a lever and there was a spare in the frame that we could get out to change for the broken one. Job finished in about an hour, so not much delay, just disconnected the points then barred and clipped them as required whilst the change was done. Just fortunate that we were already working in the box when it happened.
  9. Besides at Shunt Frames, the WCML retained mechanical boxes working colour light running signals on the Northampton Loop (prior to No.3 being replaced) then from Atherstone to Basford Hall excluding Norton Bridge, through the Independent Lines bypassing the station to Coal Yard then on to Liverpool excluding Weaver Junction and Edge Hill panel to Lime Street which retained its Westinghouse power frame. To that you can add Grange Junction to Macclesfield, Cheadle Hulme, Adswood Road, Edgeley Junction No.1 and No.2, Stockport No.1 and No.2 and Heaton Norris. A few still exist especially the latter five boxes where there is even some Absolute Block working shown in the current Sectional Appendix. I think that all of the points at the remaining boxes have probably now been converted to motor working.
  10. Better to change the lever as it would be difficult to do the weld and get the handle smooth when in situ. There is also the question of getting the weld through the full thickness, you can't just tack it on.
  11. See my post above clarifying that the 20mph referred to running light engine. Tanks classified as Passenger or MT were allowed 45mph running light.
  12. Sorry, not quite clear in what I was referring to. The speeds were for tank locos running light rather than hauling trains. This is what was I was thinking of, taken from the 1959 WTT for Gloucester & Worcester Districts. When hauling trains freight tank locos were subject to the normal speeds for the line plus those for crossovers etc, subject to any lower figure specified for a class at particular locations in the local restrictions such as some moves where the 94xx tanks were permitted at "Dead slow speed".
  13. The M3A was the version of the M3 developed for use on AC electrified lines IIRC. Early Siemens machine at Snow Hill North https://www.warwickshirerailways.com/gwr/gwrbsh1672.htm Later machine at Snow Hill South https://www.warwickshirerailways.com/gwr/gwrbsh1740.htm From dated photograph I suspect that these lasted until the late 1930s before being progressively replaced by GRS machines. Circa 1968/9 I was tasked with doing a review of the S&T stores stock levels at Birmingham compared to annual usage. Whilst going through the stock bins I found a large quantity of spare parts for original Siemens point and signal machines as installed at Snow Hill North, Snow Hill South and Hockley North. When the last of these boxes, Hockley North, was taken out of use c1967 there was a lot of equipment made by Krupps before WW1 still in use there. I don't have the book but I expect it would have been a Westinghouse Style C machine. We still had one at the exit to the Up Loop on the Oxford line at Aynho Junction at least into the 1980s. Not a very good picture as it is a low res scan of a shot taken with a miniature pocket camera, but this was a Style C machine with the cover off showing rodding for operation of the combined FPL and detector box in the four-foot. (if anyone wants a high res scan of the print I can PM one, but it may be a bit big to post in the topic.)
  14. Actually not so. In the late 1950s/early 1960s the WR WTTs quoted a maximum speed for freight tank locos of 20MPH, the same as for a 350 shunter.
  15. I have filled visible screws which may need to be removed in future with a small bit of decorator's caulk levelled off with a scalpel blade. Comes out easily if you need to access them.
  16. I remember reading somewhere that the theoretical maximum was 28.3 mph with the engine at permitted full revs. That would probably require that there was no tyre wear.
  17. The official top speed of a Class 03 was 27 mph. I remember them working the Albion shunt trip from Monument Lane in the 1960s before the electrification came. It went out to Albion on Monday at 0420, arriving at 0439 and was outstabled IIRC, working daily between Albion, West Bromwich Gas works, Oldbury Goods and Spon Lane Basin, returning at some time on Saturday. At one time I think they also got on 18 Trip which went as far as Tipton and Bloomfield Junction. Sometimes it took a train between yards and at other times it was booked Engine and Brake.
  18. First of all, you need some points to act as traps to protect the passenger line against unauthorised moves from the sidings. There is a set of points in the yard which could be worked from the box for this purpose. The left hand end will depend on the method of working. There is a whole string of questions to consider starting with the company and era you are modelling. Will you have more than one loco on the layout at any one time? It would also be helpful to have a complete plan of the layout and the moves you intend to make. You may like to start a separate thread to look at the various options and decide the best way forward.
  19. Yes, and don't forget that the position is determined not only by distance but also if there is a change of action from pull to push at a crank in the run. One of the lost attachments that has come back from the other side shows an example of how the rodding run is can be laid out. It was derived from what I could see on a photo posted in a question about a Midland location. The IRSE has a file on the web in its Minor Railways section about mechanical points, including some drawings of compensation of rodding runs towards the end. https://www.irse.org/Portals/0/NewPortal/DownloadableLinks/Get Involved/MinorRailwaysSection/PA01 - Mechanically Operated Points v2.pdf?ver=2019-09-12-130218-450
  20. Another good tip is not to put a signal box behind a stop block. Two instances spring to mind, firstly when my Dad was in the Fire Brigade he got called to Monument Lane shed one morning to find top top of Sheepcote Lane box perched on a loco tender. About 12 years later c1970 I was travelling to Worcester on the first train out of Birmingham and we were talked by Kidderminster Station's Home signal into the platform. When we got there a coal wagon was buried in the end wall of the box nearest to the Goods shed.
  21. You will need an adjusting crank in the rod to the points so they wouldn't come straight out from under the box to the points - normally. Having said that I once did one during some power box stage works where we put a crank coupled directly to the pedestal crank below the lever, ran a rod along the bed timber of the frame to an adjusting crank opposite the point stretcher. There isn't a problem in having to two ends of a crossover on either side of the box. I can think of at least three ways of running a rod both ways from the lead off. Best is probably using two joints from the crank, one with standard jaws then a second with wide jaws fitting over the first joint. I don't know if in the real world you can still get the wide jaw joints but they were certainly around in my days on mechanical signalling Not a problem if you have space. The walking route at Saltley Junction was between the sleeper ends and the rodding, with boarded ramps over the cross rods. https://www.warwickshirerailways.com/lms/mrsalt618.htm Try to avoid having cross rods beyond a trap point or stop block as at best you will spend a lot of time replacing the rods after a derailment, and more importantly distorting the rodding may lead to the points opening under a train on another track, especially nasty if you have a Midland Economical FPL.
  22. There doesn't appear to be a signal to the siding as it is only a ground frame connection. Reversing the points would need the token to be put into a lock on the frame and couldn't be removed unless the FPL lever was normal. The FPL could not be locked with the points reverse.
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