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Hales Street, Norfolk

Discussion concerning level crossings

Hales Street, Norfolk

Unread postby Mechy » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:35 pm

Following on from the thread about the first barrier crossing in the UK, I have read somewhere recently that another experimental crossing was set up at Hales Street, Tivetshall (Now an AHB) in the late 50's early 60's. The operation of the crossing seems quite peculiar and it almost seems to be a precursor to a modern day UWC-MWL crossing.

From what I can see the crossing was kept closed to road traffic at all times; when a user wanted to pass over they would press a plunger which would ring a bell in the signal box. The signal man would check that the user had sufficient time to cross and remotely raise the barriers. 10 seconds before the crossing barriers were due to close a bell would ring to warn the crossing user.

Does anybody have any further information on this crossing?
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Re: Hales Street, Norfolk

Unread postby StevieG » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:39 pm

Mechy wrote:Following on from the thread about the first barrier crossing in the UK, I have read somewhere recently that another experimental crossing was set up at Hales Street, Tivetshall (Now an AHB) in the late 50's early 60's. The operation of the crossing seems quite peculiar and it almost seems to be a precursor to a modern day UWC-MWL crossing.

From what I can see the crossing was kept closed to road traffic at all times; when a user wanted to pass over they would press a plunger which would ring a bell in the signal box. The signal man would check that the user had sufficient time to cross and remotely raise the barriers. 10 seconds before the crossing barriers were due to close a bell would ring to warn the crossing user.

Does anybody have any further information on this crossing?
One of 'Keith's posts in the previous thread for which a link was quoted in the latest 'First barrier crossing' thread, had within it, a link to a "sabre-roads" website thread which had, earlier still, discussed the Warthill installation of which 'Frank' postd a photo : I think one of the posts in that 'sabre' thread quoted the same or very similar, details to those you have just mentioned, although I don't recall mention of the Tivetshall location.
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Re: Hales Street, Norfolk

Unread postby Mechy » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:24 am

So it is! As a matter of fact that is the first reference I have found to it on a website; I was told about it by a colleague at work a few months back whilst discussing the number of AHB's on the northern GEML then read something similar on a facebook page. Perhaps this information was found on that same site and it has spread from there?

Looking at the post on that site, I wonder what "report" he was referring to in 1959. Details certainly seem very sketchy and the total lack of any information makes me feel that this may just be a rumour.
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Re: Hales Street, Norfolk

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:53 am

There have been a number of reports on level crossings over the years.
I don't know of one in 1959, but in 1957 a joint MoT/BTC working party concluded in summary that :
- lifting barriers were suitable for almost all crossing operated by an attendant on site
- on-call barriers were suitable on relatively unimportant crossings within 1/4 mile and within view of the operator
- that trials should carried out in the UK for AHBs

So 1959 would be about right if such trials were conducted for their results

This 1957 report entitled "level crossing protection" resembles an accident report in its format and presentation.
A similar report was produced in 1978, basically amending the changes brought about by Hixon.
A report in similar format entitled "automatic open level crossings - a review of safety" was produced in 1987 by Prof P F Stott CBE FEng
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Re: Hales Street, Norfolk

Unread postby StevieG » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:11 am

Mike Hodgson wrote:There have been a number of reports on level crossings over the years.
I don't know of one in 1959, but in 1957 a joint MoT/BTC working party concluded in summary that :
- lifting barriers were suitable for almost all crossing operated by an attendant on site
- on-call barriers were suitable on relatively unimportant crossings within 1/4 mile and within view of the operator
- that trials should carried out in the UK for AHBs

So 1959 would be about right if such trials were conducted for their results

This 1957 report entitled "level crossing protection" resembles an accident report in its format and presentation.
A similar report was produced in 1978, basically amending the changes brought about by Hixon.
A report in similar format entitled "automatic open level crossings - a review of safety" was produced in 1987 by Prof P F Stott CBE FEng
Thanks for the list/summary Mike.
I had been trying to remember the author's name of the last one, which report I think was commissioned after the tragedy at Lockington AOCR, and which became known as merely 'Stott' to those concerned with taking account of its conclusions and recommendations, in the same way as did, in their time, to varying degrees, 'Hidden', 'Fennell', 'Uff', and 'Cullen'.
Last edited by StevieG on Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hales Street, Norfolk

Unread postby Fast Line Floyd » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:22 am

Mechy wrote:Following on from the thread about the first barrier crossing in the UK, I have read somewhere recently that another experimental crossing was set up at Hales Street, Tivetshall (Now an AHB) in the late 50's early 60's. The operation of the crossing seems quite peculiar and it almost seems to be a precursor to a modern day UWC-MWL crossing.

From what I can see the crossing was kept closed to road traffic at all times; when a user wanted to pass over they would press a plunger which would ring a bell in the signal box. The signal man would check that the user had sufficient time to cross and remotely raise the barriers. 10 seconds before the crossing barriers were due to close a bell would ring to warn the crossing user.

Does anybody have any further information on this crossing?

This is the same as Ashwell Gatehouse crossing works with the addition of an absence switch in Ashwell signal box which will hold the barriers up whilst the box is closed.
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Re: Hales Street, Norfolk

Unread postby AndyRush » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:22 am

According to a former Norwich Division Crossing Register, which I have had access to, Hales Lane crossing was equipped with lifting barriers on 28.06.1959, and attendance was withdrawn 22.12.1960
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Re: Hales Street, Norfolk

Unread postby Pete2320 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:41 pm

There have been a few crosssings of this type. Retford (Thrumpton) certainly has one, now with "non statuatory" CCTV and I'm pretty certain it has/had more, going back to the mid 70s'.

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Re: Hales Street, Norfolk

Unread postby chrisb1953 » Tue Jan 3, 2017 1:37 pm

I recall a visit to Hales St crossing in 1961/2.....we had moved to East Anglia in 1961 so that sets the date....and my father and I had been tracing the Beccles-Bungay-Tivetshall branch.
My father, an engineer, had heard about the new style crossing so we went for a look whilst in the area. We drove over it; I don't recall stopping nor pressing a plunger to operate it, but in fairness it was still "supervised" by the former and then redundant crossing keeper who seemed to be tending his garden which was adjacent to the crossing keeper's cottage. He shared his somewhat scathing views of the safety of the new crossing and the short time intervals for farm vehicles, having lost his job to technology. I suppose one could understand his thought process. Whilst he may have pressed the plunger for us, I don't recall it nor any signs mentioning such procedure. We chatted for about 20 minutes which gave him a helpful breather from his gardening. It was the busy GE Main Line and a few trains passed plus some local vehicular traffic and bicycles. I recall no flashing lights, just a warning bell.
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Re: Hales Street, Norfolk

Unread postby beast66606 » Tue Jan 3, 2017 6:20 pm

Hales Street was a conventional AHB when I photographed 66763 there this morning.
Better to be thought a fool than to type a response that confirms it.

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