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Building North Eastern Railway Signals


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Some time ago, I had a thread going which detailed the scratch building of North Eastern Railway lattice signal bridges and signal gantries, though in their later guises as part of the LNER and British Railways (North Eastern Region) signalling apparatus. The North Eastern Railway used a third party supplier - McKenzie & Holland of Worcester - as their provider of many of their signalling installations. The products of this Company were very distinctive, not least in their use of lattice girders, lattice posts and lattice dolls.

 

Many of these structures lasted well into British Railways days (the Scarborough Falsgrave bridge was only removed in 2010 and there is a much smaller bridge still in place at Harrogate) and certainly up until the late 1980's they were a common sight around parts of the old North Eastern, though often modified by the replacement of the slotted posts and lower quadrant arms, by LNER wooden dolls with upper quadrant arms.

 

When we were kids, watching the trains in the 1950's and 60's, these things were everywhere and, of course,  we took very little notice of them; they would always be there. Now they are all gone and now we wish that we had photographed them, measured them and recorded their presence. Fortunately they were photographed, they were recorded and we can accumulate enough information to make models of them for they were impressive and even quite beautiful things and the railway scene is the poorer for their passing.

 

Anyway, having built a few of these structures and now about to restart a couple more of these structures, which I briefly alluded to on my Scratchbuilding thread, it's time to move the discussion into the correct topic area.

 

So as an introduction, a photo or two of some of the signalling structures already built, all of which are models of real signalling structures which stood at either Hessle Haven, on the main line out of Hull to Selby and Doncaster or they stood at Scarborough.

 

The first two photos were my first ever signal models; the third photo was my fourth model and the fourth photo was the third.

 

So if anyone has any questions as to how (or why) this was done, then I'll be happy to answer them on this thread.

 

 

 

Cheers

 

Mike

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And by way of introduction, a photograph of the real thing. The Barlby North (near Selby) signal bridge in the mid 1950's.

 

Pure North Eastern, pure McKenzie & Holland, apart from the later doll with the miniature arm, and a quite splendid and lovely example of something which was a ubiquitous feature of the old North Eastern, the LNER (Northern Area) and British Railways North Eastern Region.

 

For me this photo, like so many others of its time, captures so much of what we loved about the railway of that time for this really is a photo of a very different railway, as only the up and down Hull lines now survive from this scene. All else (Peppercorn A1 60140, the East Coast Main Line to York now re-routed, the signal box, the signal bridge) has gone!

 

Cheers

 

Mike

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Some time ago, I had a thread going which detailed the scratch building of North Eastern Railway lattice signal bridges and signal gantries, though in their later guises as part of the LNER and British Railways (North Eastern Region) signalling apparatus. The North Eastern Railway used a third party supplier - McKenzie & Holland of Worcester - as their provider of many of their signalling installations. The products of this Company were very distinctive, not least in their use of lattice girders, lattice posts and lattice dolls.

 

Many of these structures lasted well into British Railways days (the Scarborough Falsgrave bridge was only removed in 2010 and there is a much smaller bridge still in place at Harrogate) and certainly up until the late 1980's they were a common sight around parts of the old North Eastern, though often modified by the replacement of the slotted posts and lower quadrant arms, by LNER wooden dolls with upper quadrant arms.

 

When we were kids, watching the trains in the 1950's and 60's, these things were everywhere and, of course,  we took very little notice of them; they would always be there. Now they are gone and now we wish that we had photographed them, measured them and recorded their presence. Fortunately they were photographed, they were recorded and we can accumulate enough information to make models of them for they were impressive and even quite beautiful things and the railway scene is the poorer for their passing.

 

Anyway, having built a few of these structures and now about to restart a couple more of these structures, which I briefly alluded to on my Scratchbuilding thread, it's time to move the discussion into the correct topic area.

 

So as an introduction, a photo or two of some of the signalling structures already built, all of which are models of real signalling structures which stood at either Hessle Haven, on the main line out of Hull to Selby and Doncaster or they stood at Scarborough.

 

The first two photos were my first ever signal models; the third photo was my fourth model and the fourth photo was the third.

 

So if anyone has any questions as to how (or why) this was done, then I'll be happy to answer them on this thread.

 

 

 

Cheers

 

Mike

 

Interesting mix of lower and upper quadrant signals on that gantry! Why does one solitary signal have a sightboard?

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Interesting mix of lower and upper quadrant signals on that gantry! Why does one solitary signal have a sightboard?

 

Good question and I don't know, but it did have a sight board. If I can locate one of the photos of this signal bridge, then I'll post it.

 

I was corrected by my old mate Mick Nicholson, who was a signalman for many years, about calling signal bridges, gantries. There is a difference and a very simple difference. A signal bridge normally has posts at each end, though some do have a a smaller cantilevered section beyond the posts ( the Barlby North signal bridge for one), whereas a gantry is predominantly cantilevered. Forgive the long words but they do convey the meaning.

 

Cheers

 

Mike

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A couple more drawings, done in 2010, by which time only the Falsgrave bridge was left of those which once stood at Scarborough. This bridge - the Falsgrave signal bridge - was, by then, one of only two which were still operational, anywhere, (a much smaller example exists at Harrogate) and was a listed structure. It was dismantled, shortened and refurbished by Network Rail to be re-erected at the north end of Grosmont Station, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

 

By 1950, when the photographs were taken, on which the Washbeck drawing was based, many of the original NER lamps had been repaced by LNER lamps, which were smaller.

 

Cheers

 

Mike

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I managed to get a few pictures of the Falsgrave gantry on an official visit in July 2010, not long before it was taken down.  They're not brilliant photographically but might be of interest to somebody making a model, hope it's OK to post them here!

 

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As you can see, there had been a few alterations by then compared with the drawing; 'theatre light' route indicators facing both ways have appeared to the north end, and the lower quadrant arm towards the south end had been replaced with an upper quadrant on a tubular doll.

 

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Steve,

 

Certainly is ok to post them on here! These are now photographs of a piece of industrial history. Interesting to see the changes since 1950, which was the date of the photographs on which the drawing was made. The distants have both been removed and a number of other changes made as you describe in your posting above.

 

At the time of the photographs, used to make the two drawings (c 1950), there were nine of these signal bridges between Scarborough Central and the locomotive depot straight shed; a distance of around one and a quarter miles. One, which stood outside the Scarborough loco depot roundhouse was a real monster with the double posts (arranged as an A) at each end and spanning over one hundred feet.

 

One can only imagine the corrosion which these iron bridges must have incurred in the salt laden air of a seaside town, yet some of them stood for seventy or more years. Certainly, in the last year or two before its removal, the Falsgrave signal bridge was in a very precarious state, such that staff were restricted from using the decking; any work on the bridge used a 'cherry picker' to access it.

 

Cheers

 

Mike

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I managed to get a few pictures of the Falsgrave gantry on an official visit in July 2010, not long before it was taken down.  They're not brilliant photographically but might be of interest to somebody making a model, hope it's OK to post them here!

 

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As you can see, there had been a few alterations by then compared with the drawing; 'theatre light' route indicators facing both ways have appeared to the north end, and the lower quadrant arm towards the south end had been replaced with an upper quadrant on a tubular doll.

This signal bridge was actually "New" c1933, I have somewhere, more information.

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Here's on interesting event, the drawing speaks for its self.

attachicon.gifDECEMBER 1947.JPG

 

And with a date of December 22nd, 1947 then this must have been one of the very last things that the Sighting Committee did for the LNER, for ten days later the LNER ceased to exist.

 

Cheers

 

Mike

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Let me see if I've got this right:

The bracket signal with the outer homes, that was to be removed, was in rear of the signal bridge, i.e. would be encountered first by an up train.

Moving the signal bridge back 90yds meant moving it further in rear of the junction it signals, i.e. towards the position of the bracket signal - an up train would encounter it sooner than previously.

Fingers crossed!

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Let me see if I've got this right:

The bracket signal with the outer homes, that was to be removed, was in rear of the signal bridge, i.e. would be encountered first by an up train.

Moving the signal bridge back 90yds meant moving it further in rear of the junction it signals, i.e. towards the position of the bracket signal - an up train would encounter it sooner than previously.

Fingers crossed!

 

Isn't the key to this move of the signal bridge and the elimination of the bracket signal, the provision of track circuits, as detailed on the LNER document?

 

Cheers

 

Mike

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And here is how all of these signal models began/begin. With a 4 mm drawing. You might ask why do I do the drawings in quite so much detail? Well I would probably just answer 'why not'.

 

Anyway, the 4 mm drawing of the Barlby North signal bridge as it was around the mid 1950's. With a length, across the decking, of over 80 feet and over 40 feet high, to the top of the finial of the tallest doll, this was a big and impressive thing; they were, these McKenzie & Holland signal bridges.

 

Cheers

 

Mike

 

P2040031.JPG

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Here's another example of Recovered Material being used to create a "New Signal".

 

 attachicon.gifBROUGH UP MAIN SIGNALS 1947.JPG

 

attachicon.gifBrough Iron Bracket 1974.jpg

Mick,

 

That really is a hybrid, with the wooden dolls of the LNER and the lattice dolls of the NER Northern Division on the same structure.

 

Cheers

 

Mike

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Mick,

 

That really is a hybrid, with the wooden dolls of the LNER and the lattice dolls of the NER Northern Division on the same structure.

 

Cheers

 

Mike

Those "LNERly" wooden dolls may be "Filled In" ex NERly dolls, post war, and for some years after, materials were short, plus the railways were "Pennyless".

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