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Signals for Pen-y-Madoc - now building and making them work


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Signal diag front.doc

Bracket signal 2-5.doc

 

Those of you who have seen Pen-y-Madoc at various exhibitions will know that one of it's (various!) failings, is the non-working and badly constructed signals. I've had MSE parts kicking around for a while and have some replacements half built. It is my intention now to finally finish the signals and get them to work using the MERG servo drivers and R/C servos.

 

Now, the signal diagram is shown above. Referring to the bracket and disc signals 2-5.

The bare doll is for the line to the silted harbour. S&T have removed the arm

Signal 2 is the home for the main platform

Signal 3 is the home for the bay platform

Signal 4 is the calling-on arm for the main platform

Signal 5 is a 'fudge' It's a shunting signal giving access (and traction power!) to everywhere except the platforms and Engine Shed

 

One of the reasons for making the signals work is that the signals and points are interlocked and they together control the traction power to the layout (meaning no section switches). I dislike seeing new operators (and even me if the layout hasn't been up for a while!!!!) poking and prodding at locos wondering why they're not moving. My intention is to be able to check that the road is set (implying that traction power is available) by looking at the signal arms

 

So, back to the 3-doll bracket. What I want to do is to make it a four-doll bracket. Left to right......

Doll 1 bare

Doll 2 Signal 3 on a low doll - bay home

Doll 3 Signals 2 and 4 on a high doll - main home and calling-on

Doll 4 'ring' home on a low doll - shunting

 

Not totally prototypical, particularly doll 4, I know, but it gives me what I need for layout control. I can live with it IF a four doll signal is possible from a prototype constructional point of view - Is four dolls too many for a single post?

Layout is ex-Cambrian, GW, in late '30s based very loosly upon Porthmadoc.

 

What do you think?

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  • RMweb Gold

 

So, back to the 3-doll bracket. What I want to do is to make it a four-doll bracket. Left to right......

Doll 1 bare

Doll 2 Signal 3 on a low doll - bay home

Doll 3 Signals 2 and 4 on a high doll - main home and calling-on

Doll 4 'ring' home on a low doll - shunting

 

Not totally prototypical, particularly doll 4, I know, but it gives me what I need for layout control. I can live with it IF a four doll signal is possible from a prototype constructional point of view - Is four dolls too many for a single post?

Layout is ex-Cambrian, GW, in late '30s based very loosly upon Porthmadoc.

 

 

Nothing at all wrong with 4 dolls on a single main post as the Western definitely did it in tubular steel (bit late for your time band alas). They also did it in timber but sometimes with two main posts. Overall it is strikes me as a bit much for a small branch terminus which would have been far more likely to have signal with a mechanical route indicator or even a couple of unsignalled routes (which won't suit your control system by the sound of things). One answer is to keep the existing bracket and put in a double disc = one disc for each direction, you could use your planned 16/17 which are incorrect and shoud be a separate disc for each line (although they might work off the same lever and be selected by the points to clear for whichever of the two lines the route is set from - typical GWR for your period).

Your arm 4 is of course totally incorrect as you know - but it is a way of doing the job (but please don't put a Goods Line ring on the arm, that's a really basic mistake I see repeated all too often on layouts).

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Hi PW Slack.

 

The layout made its first appearance at the Hull Show in 2006 and has done about 20 since. Next show is Heywood, in late March. I'm just finishing a b-i-g shed in the back garden. This means that the complete layout can go up at home for the first time. Time for a 'Mid-life Update'

 

Problems in no particular order

(1) The reverse curve out of the fiddle yard is laid in SMP EM Gauge flexi-track. No gauge widening........

(2) Unevenness in the track in two places resulting in occasional uncoupling or even de-railing (HANGS HEAD IN SHAME!!!!!!!!) My excuse is that Pen-y-Madoc is my first layout and I'm still learning and now I have my shed I can put it right.

(3) The signals

 

 

Hi Stationmaster

 

Thanks for the response. I agree with you. The layout is oversignalled. But for the station and the explosive works at Penrhyndeudraeth and the station and slate transhipment yard at Minffordd, the line could well be 'one engine in steam' with no signals at all.

 

Regarding the signal diagram and given that the station is signalled at all.

 

(1) Yes, the 2/3/4 bracket should and would in reality, be a route indicator. Decisions, decisions - prototype fidelity or arms to give an indication to layout operators that the route is set correctly......

 

(2) Disk 5 (the fudge) is used for 'down' movements over turnouts 8 and 9 It applies traction power to sections B, F and G.

 

(3) you state that signals 16 and 17 are incorrect. I disagree but am very willing to be educated. The twin discs read top to bottom equalling left to right. Signal 17 allows 'up' egress from the yard over turnout 8 as far as advanced starter 21. Signal 16 allows 'up' egress from the run round loop over turnout 9 (8-9 are a tandem 3-way)again, as far as the advanced starter 21. Given that 17 in particular is used for departure (as well as for shunting) should it be an arm rather than a disc?

 

(4) Regarding the signals themselves, the station would have been signalled by the Cambrian. I believe that GW would have replaced the Cambrian signal arms (or at least reglazed them) soon after 1923 to get rid of the white/purple signal lights. By 1938/9 I believe that Reading would have re-signalled the Station as the Cambrian wooden posts would by then be 60-70 years old and full of rot, particularly below ground level. I thought about a mix of Cambrian and GW signals but decided to stick with GW. I'm planning mostly wooden posts but am allowing myself one steel post - a Reading guinea pig!

 

What's your thoughts on what I have in mnd?

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  • RMweb Gold

 

Hi Stationmaster

 

Thanks for the response. I agree with you. The layout is oversignalled. But for the station and the explosive works at Penrhyndeudraeth and the station and slate transhipment yard at Minffordd, the line could well be 'one engine in steam' with no signals at all.

 

Regarding the signal diagram and given that the station is signalled at all.

 

(1) Yes, the 2/3/4 bracket should and would in reality, be a route indicator. Decisions, decisions - prototype fidelity or arms to give an indication to layout operators that the route is set correctly......

 

(2) Disk 5 (the fudge) is used for 'down' movements over turnouts 8 and 9 It applies traction power to sections B, F and G.

 

(3) you state that signals 16 and 17 are incorrect. I disagree but am very willing to be educated. The twin discs read top to bottom equalling left to right. Signal 17 allows 'up' egress from the yard over turnout 8 as far as advanced starter 21. Signal 16 allows 'up' egress from the run round loop over turnout 9 (8-9 are a tandem 3-way)again, as far as the advanced starter 21. Given that 17 in particular is used for departure (as well as for shunting) should it be an arm rather than a disc?

 

(4) Regarding the signals themselves, the station would have been signalled by the Cambrian. I believe that GW would have replaced the Cambrian signal arms (or at least reglazed them) soon after 1923 to get rid of the white/purple signal lights. By 1938/9 I believe that Reading would have re-signalled the Station as the Cambrian wooden posts would by then be 60-70 years old and full of rot, particularly below ground level. I thought about a mix of Cambrian and GW signals but decided to stick with GW. I'm planning mostly wooden posts but am allowing myself one steel post - a Reading guinea pig!

 

What's your thoughts on what I have in mnd?

 

As far as 16/17 are concerned they are a single signal and would therefore only apply to one line - simple as that. I'm not quite sure where your idea came from but I suspect some sort of half baked explanation from somewhere, be it an article or book, in the past because the principle 'top to bottom = left to right ' applies to splitting signals only and not to grouped signals applying to more than one line. You could potentially replace 17 with a semaphore and keep 16 as a disc or have two separate discs - both arrangements have been noted in such circumstances so the choice is yours on that one.

As far as Cambrian signals are concerned their semaphores lasted, with Cambrian arms - but no doubt at all changed spectacle colours - until the early 1960s in several places; a decent quality timber post from before the Great War was quite capable of lasting 50 years with regular maintenance and a little luck on its side. GW steel posts - initially a 27ft high signal with a wooden arm, first appeared on straight post signals in the early 1930s and the first style of bracket was very late Pre-War or shortly after war started without delving to check the exact date. But we sometimes stretch dates for rolling stock and other things so why not for signalssmile.gif?

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Stationmaster said............As far as 16/17 are concerned they are a single signal

 

Sorry Mike, I don't understand. Signals 16 and 17 are two separate discs mounted one above the other. Surely they are two signals, just as two arms on a single doll would be?

Regards

Steve

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  • RMweb Gold

Stationmaster said............As far as 16/17 are concerned they are a single signal

 

Sorry Mike, I don't understand. Signals 16 and 17 are two separate discs mounted one above the other. Surely they are two signals, just as two arms on a single doll would be?

Regards

Steve

 

 

 

Technically they are a single signal - with two 'arms' thus reading TO two different destinations/routes. Discs would normally be placed to the left of the line to which they apply (even on the GWR) and the signals reading FROM two different lines would normally be well separated - like by one of the lines concerned for example. There were occasional instances on the GW, stemming from a more common earlier practice and where clearances were tight, of semaphores for two immediately adjacent lines to be sited in the cess and thus to the left of both of them but that was with running signals - not with discs mounted on a standard double disc fitting.

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Thanks Mike. Understood. I was confused about the difference between the signalling for converging and diverging routes. Dual disk goes in the 'what do I do with this' box.

Single disc 16 to control (and to the left of the line) egress from the loop over turnout 9.

Signal 17 will be a single arm (with/without ring? I think without) to left of line out of goods yard egressing over turnout 8.

 

 

Been mulling over this thread. Signal 2/3/4 will be a 4 ft arm with a route indicator on a GW steel post. Question here - should the calling-on signal 4 be a separate arm or should it be one of the routes? Signal 17 will be an ex-Cambrian signal with a wooden post and a GW 3ft steel arm-a replacement. Bracket signal 19/20 will be either ex-Cambrian or GW, depending upon a chat regarding bracket parts availability with Andrew of MSE (He's our club Membership Secretary). Other signals (1, 21) will be wooden post GW or Cambrian - one of each I think, both with 4ft wooden arms.

 

Regards Steve

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GWR-based branches tended to be operated other ways than OES. This layout is not set up for OES.

 

This is very true. The whole branch is fully signalled. Three stations in 5 3/4 miles with the terminus town having a population of over 5000, a thriving slate transshiment facility, working granite quarries and with Sept 1939 only months away, an explosives factory working 24/7. Not to mention seaside excursion trains!

 

A sleepy OES Branch? I don't think so..................

 

The point that I was making was that but for these reasons and the traffic they generate, it COULD have been run OES.

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I would be tempted to incorporate a over-ride switch(es) somewhere in one or more of the possible movements, something like a stereo jack plug (token!) for a loco that might be involved in station duties... movements that might in real life be waved on/through.

 

It's interesting having a fully interlocked layout - but there are times when it's a pain, Penlan was fully interlocked initially, eventually when 'playing' trains, especially with the grandchildren, I had to take it all out - this also allowed me to get things running quickly at exhibitions with my crew, who only operate the layout two weekends a year, even now we do have problems of points not thrown over..... :angry:

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I would be tempted to incorporate a over-ride switch(es) somewhere in one or more of the possible movements, something like a stereo jack plug (token!) for a loco that might be involved in station duties... movements that might in real life be waved on/through.

 

It's interesting having a fully interlocked layout - but there are times when it's a pain, Penlan was fully interlocked initially, eventually when 'playing' trains, especially with the grandchildren, I had to take it all out - this also allowed me to get things running quickly at exhibitions with my crew, who only operate the layout two weekends a year, even now we do have problems of points not thrown over..... :angry:

 

Overriding the interlocking............yeah, I know where you're coming from !!!! I have an interlock override on the control panel. Turns the whole layout into one elecrical section, the layout becoming one-engine-in-steam, so it's like the power kill switch - there for emergencies only.

 

With the b-i-g shed nearly ready in the back garden, after the 'mid life upgrade' (fixing current problems!) the layout is likely to be turned into a 'U'. You talked about a 'single line token' for in-station use. The equivalent I suppose, of the Signalman leaning out of his box and going for it with the green flag.When the layout is enlarged, the signal box/control panels on the two legs of the 'u' will be block worked with bells. I've worked out the electronics to simulate single line token working so operating could get quite interesting! More electronics to be overridden with novice operators in control!

 

Must go. Coffee's drunk and I'm running short of light to get the shed insulated and lined

 

Regards Steve

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  • RMweb Gold

(2) Disk 5 (the fudge) is used for 'down' movements over turnouts 8 and 9 It applies traction power to sections B, F and G.

 

<snipped>

 

What's your thoughts on what I have in mnd?

 

Never, ever link power to signalling ;)

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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks Mike. Understood. I was confused about the difference between the signalling for converging and diverging routes. Dual disk goes in the 'what do I do with this' box.

Single disc 16 to control (and to the left of the line) egress from the loop over turnout 9.

Signal 17 will be a single arm (with/without ring? I think without) to left of line out of goods yard egressing over turnout 8.

 

 

Been mulling over this thread. Signal 2/3/4 will be a 4 ft arm with a route indicator on a GW steel post. Question here - should the calling-on signal 4 be a separate arm or should it be one of the routes? Signal 17 will be an ex-Cambrian signal with a wooden post and a GW 3ft steel arm-a replacement. Bracket signal 19/20 will be either ex-Cambrian or GW, depending upon a chat regarding bracket parts availability with Andrew of MSE (He's our club Membership Secretary). Other signals (1, 21) will be wooden post GW or Cambrian - one of each I think, both with 4ft wooden arms.

 

Regards Steve

 

Steve - 17 should really have a ring on the arm (the Cambrian signal with a ring on the arm looked very nice - at least one survived in that form into the 1950s but alas i missed it at Aberdovey although I've seen pics of it).

 

The Calling On signal should be a separate arm (a Calling On arm obviously) and for the period you are modelling none of those fancy red & white stripes on the GWR - nice plain red with the letters 'CO' on the front. And it all sounds rather good - using different signals in that way helps to create the sense of place and period, great stuffsmile.gif

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Thank you all for your comments. I know now what I need to get from MSE. You may recall that I said at the start of the thread that I planned on using MERG servo drivers and R/c servos. Perhaps you've seen in MRJ the article about the signals on Retford. MSE are doing the servo mounts and servos.

I have just now.......

 

A MERG driver board (built), together with the (built) setting box

Bits for most of the signals that I need

All of the (unbuilt) servo driver boards that I need

A 'Retford' servo mounting etch for mounting 2 servos

 

but need to get

Cambrian signal parts

more servos and more servo mounts

 

I plan on starting the signals in the next week or so but must clear the workbench. I have to be careful as my Exhibition calender is full

Heywood in March

Sutton Coldfield in April

Expo EM in May

Perth, Scotland in June

Grantham in September

Hazel Grove in October

and Spalding in November

 

and stewarding at four Folk Festivals with my wife.

 

On the workbench (the kitchen table, literally) are a number of part finished projects which will have to be completed either before Heywood or after the mid life update

A GW 43xx Mogul (Bachmann body/Comet Chassis). In the paintshop and will be ready for Haywood

A GW 49xx Hall (Hornby body/etched chassis). Almost ready for the paintshop (Perth?)

A resurected Kemilway GW Monster. Body in the paintshop. Needs a roof and the bogies sorting (Perth)

A Shirescenes 4-wheel siphon. Needs lettering and weathering (Haywood)

A GW Iron Mink. Needs lettering and weathering (Haywood)

A GW Iron Mink, modified to be a Ferrocrete cement van. A static cameo for the mid life update.

A Dapol GW 20ton coal wagon. Painted but needs lettering as one of the wagons leased to Stephenson Clarke (Perth?)

A 1-plank PO wagon. Painted but needs lettering and weathering (Haywood)

An Airfix GW B-set coach, converted, as GW did, into an autocoach. In the Paintshop (Perth?)

 

Unless anyone's particularly interested, I intend to shut this thread down for a week or two whilst I buy the bits I need for the signals and clear the workbench.

 

Thank you all, once again

Regards

Steve

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....... I have to be careful as my Exhibition calender is full

Heywood in March

Sutton Coldfield in April

Expo EM in May

Perth, Scotland in June

Grantham in September

Hazel Grove in October

and Spalding in November

 

and stewarding at four Folk Festivals with my wife........ I intend to shut this thread down for a week or two .....

With an exhibition calender like that I would be shut down (domestically), Penlan only does two a year, which with all my other non-railway commitments is enough (e.g. panic scenario's).

 

Hopefully I will get to see Pen-Y-Madoc sometime B)

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With an exhibition calender like that I would be shut down (domestically), Penlan only does two a year, which with all my other non-railway commitments is enough (e.g. panic scenario's).

 

Hopefully I will get to see Pen-Y-Madoc sometime B)

 

Have a look at April 2008 Railway Modeller, but take no notice of the mountains on the backscene. They've been rounded and greened! If you want to see Pen-y-Madoc, I need to get to a West Country show. The trouble there is that I live in Hull. I'm not afraid to travel. I've done Sedan, in France and am doing Scotland twice - Perth 2011 and Glasgow SECC in 2013. However, it's the costs that the show would have to bear. To do the deepest West Country, I'd be looking for three nights rather than two (for three people), Van hire for four days and 6-700 miles diesel at about 6 1/2 miles to the litre. So if there's an obliging West Country Exhibition Manager out there, I'm booking 2013 and 2014 just now....

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK,

 

Back to business. I've cleared the workbench (kitchen table!) of non-signal projects. Referring back to the signal diagram at the top of this topic, I'm going to start building with signal 17. The attachment details my ideas, together with some sketches.

 

I'd intended to use the 'Retford' signal and servo mounts, but the proximity of a retaining wall precludes the use of a servo mount in this position. I've started to build the signal and have the mounting bracketry built. I'll build the signal over the next day or so and will post photos of 'above baseboard' and 'below baseboard' soon.

Signal 17.doc

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So rather like this onewink.gif

 

post-6859-0-10754500-1297969901_thumb.jpg

 

 

post-6859-0-36938000-1297969922_thumb.jpg

 

 

Thank you, yes, but with one difference. In my haste to get the mountings sorted, I soldered the signal post to the mounting plate without shortening it. It's over 18ft high, so I need to add a platform. Doh!

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  • RMweb Gold

Thank you, yes, but with one difference. In my haste to get the mountings sorted, I soldered the signal post to the mounting plate without shortening it. It's over 18ft high, so I need to add a platform. Doh!

Platforms on many signals are a modern invention. Fashions changed, even between districts of the same railway, as did legal requirements and their interpretation.

When I was young I got sent up a sixty-footer without even a hoop on it to do a two handed job. Good job my Dad was in the Fire Brigade and had taught me how to work safely on a ladder in "look - no hands" mode. Still come in useful for cleaning out the guttering.

Conversly I have worked on straight post semaphores with the arm at about 13' above cess level and a platform at about 9'. Bl---y useless, as the only way you could do most jobs was sitting down with your legs hanging over the side. It was more dangerous than working from a ladder.

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Platforms on many signals are a modern invention. Fashions changed, even between districts of the same railway, as did legal requirements and their interpretation.

 

I hear what you're saying. My gut reaction is that as the GW were the most 'standardised' of the big four, the S&T HQ at Reading would stifle individual enterprise. If the Reading rule book said 'Platforms above 18 ft' then platforms above 18 ft it would be until Reading said otherwise........................

 

Anyway, I promised photos. Firstly, some drawings of what I'm trying to achieve

 

post-261-0-47439600-1298070765_thumb.gif

 

 

The first sketch shows the general principles of mounting the signal. A (lavender) socket is fitted under the baseboard into which the signal, on its (gold) mounting plate, is inserted. Interlocking tubes provide alignment. The ‘blue’ 8BA machine screws (which are soldered to the signal mounting plate) secure the signal to the baseboard. The (green) tube is soldered to the signal mounting plate and transfers the drive from the servo (pink) to the signal balance arm. Stops (red) limit the travel of the signal drive rod. The drive from the servo is transferred to the signal by a flexible wire (black) which bends if the servo mechanism overdrives the signal. Note that the servo wire passes through a hole drilled through the lower (red) stop

 

 

post-261-0-89805700-1298070971_thumb.gif

 

The second sketches detail the measurements of the signal mounting plate and its underboard socket. Not shown are the lengths of the two interlocking tubes as these depend upon the thickness of the baseboard top – 9 mm in the case of Pen-y-Madoc.

 

 

 

WARNING. Take extreme care when drilling hole F. Even when using several progressively larger drill bits and holding the strip in a hand vise, the drill can EASILY bind, potentially resulting in a trip to A&E for the wounds to be stitched up!

 

 

 

post-261-0-37180000-1298071130_thumb.gif

 

 

 

The third sketches detail the mounting brackets for the servo. These brackets suit the micro series of Radio Control Servos – the 9G type, which are nominally 20 x 30 x 10mm in size.

 

 

 

To install the signal……..

 

a) Using the underboard socket as a drilling jig, drill three holes through the baseboard. Holes to be 3.2mm and 10.5mm. Given that the signal mounting plate is ½ in wide, position the mounting as shown below.

 

 

post-261-0-89399700-1298071199_thumb.gif

 

B) Fit the socket under the baseboard.

 

c) Install the signal and its mounting plate into the socket. Secure the signal using two 8BA nuts and two 8BA washers

 

d) Referring to the first sketch, that shows the installed signal and servo, drill the output shaft of the servo and fit a length of 0.45mm brass wire as an actuator arm.

 

e) Inserting the actuator arm through the lower (red) stop, fix the servo to the underside of the baseboard.

 

f) Connect the servo to the control board.

 

 

 

 

 

And now some photos

 

post-261-0-64191800-1298071343_thumb.jpg

 

post-261-0-93047800-1298071466_thumb.jpg

 

post-261-0-16904700-1298071546_thumb.jpg

 

post-261-0-39312800-1298071581_thumb.jpg

 

I still have to install the finial, platform and platform but the signal WORKS! From under the baseboard! However, the construction has brought up a flaw in the design. Referring back to the 'concept' sketch, the lower stop (shown in red) is a weakness that could bend/fracture in use. I have a 'fix' that I'll try tomorrow and post piccies and a revised sketch if it works.

 

Its 2330 or so just now with me off work with a nasty little throat/chest infection so I'm off to bed. More tomorrow...................................

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Now some more photos of the signal ready for painting.

 

post-261-0-40239900-1298235791_thumb.jpg

post-261-0-28049600-1298235829_thumb.jpg

post-261-0-52451800-1298235867_thumb.jpg

 

Some changes. I'd neglected to trim down the length of the post. This resulted in the signal being 27ft high. It has been fitted with a platform. As a tall signal doesn't suit for the yard egress, it's no longer signal 17 but is now signal 1 - the outer home. I've taken off the 3ft ringed arm and fitted a 5ft arm.

The signal works. The MERG control board works well.

 

 

Next signal is I think, going to be a ground disc. I want to see if I can make one work.

 

The

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