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News from Plumpton (Sussex)

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News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby DaveHarries » Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:09 pm

Evening all,

It looks as if Plumpton Level Crossing in Sussex will have its wheel-operated gates - which are listed - for a while longer. The PLCC (Plumpton Level Crossing Campaign) attended a meeting this evening of Lewes District Council's planning committee - and won! The upshot is on the PLCC's Facebook page. I had heard from the signalman on duty on Friday 25th that the gates were due to go to a heritage railway (Kent & East Sussex?) so it is bad luck on them: at least the gates would have been preserved if the K&ES had got them.

The post on the PLCC's Facebook page - along witha picture of some PLCC supporters having a pint - reads:

= = = = = = = = = =

Time to celebrate!!! LDC Planning Committee has unanimously rejected NR's planning permission to remove our Listed gates!!!! The stats didn't add up and had been misrepresented and the committee concluded that there was 'Insufficient information to justify their removal and the impact on an important heritage aspect outweighs the need for their removal'. Members of the committee explained to NR that there were lots of Heritage railways that could provide the parts NR can't seem to and that if we can send people to the moon why can't we make the parts for a railway crossing! Now to get the road back open.......

= = = = = = = = = =

Link: https://www.facebook.com/PlumptonLevelCrossingCampaign/photos/a.509163412455275.110787.508694195835530/976252705746341/?type=3&fref=nf

In the meantime I wonder what implications this will have for the replacement of the crossing. Puts it on hold for a while at least: NR had the road over the crossing closed until 0600hrs on Monday 12th October for the work to take place but presumably the road will now have to be reopened.

HTIOI,
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Re: News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby ex Probationer » Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:19 pm

I am disappointed to hear that the life expired wheel gates and equipment at Plumpton is not going to a Victorian railway museum.

The equipment dates from a bygone time when labour was cheap and skilled blacksmiths were able to make replacement parts easily. The skills and knowledge on how to correctly setup and maintain the gates equipment also belongs to a bygone time.

For modern maintenance checks, quick fault location and speedy renewal of broken parts requires standard 'off the shelf' components. If we expect Network Rail to provide a safe, reliable modern railway, they are right to want to upgrade unreliable and outdated assets.

Obsolete 19th century mechanical technology such as Littlehaven and Plumpton manned wheel gates have no place in a modern 21st Century railway, the equipment belongs in a museum.

Just my personal thoughts.
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Re: News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby Is Line Clear » Thu Oct 1, 2015 10:02 am

ex Probationer wrote:Obsolete 19th century mechanical technology such as Littlehaven and Plumpton manned wheel gates have no place in a modern 21st Century railway, the equipment belongs in a museum.

Just my personal thoughts.


I thought Littlehaven now had barriers. For a time it was unusual in that it had wheel operated gates PLUS Lights and Yodelarms.
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Re: News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby ex Probationer » Thu Oct 1, 2015 5:07 pm

Image
Littlehaven CCTV crossing in 2012

Yes, Littlehaven manned wheel gates were renewed in 2012. I understand both Littlehaven and Plumpton wheelgates were a similar design and age. I was trying to use the old wheel gated crossing as an example of an obsolete asset that had no place in a 21st Century railway.

I'm sure there must be many other types of crossing that are also becoming life expired and are due for renewal, such as motorised boom gates, early Mk1 AHB pedestals and Mk1 DriveUp/DriveDown pedestals. All present differing problems for the Maintainer who is being expected to get increased reliability with ever decreasing budgets.
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Re: News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby AN106 » Sat Oct 3, 2015 9:35 am

I fully agree with ex probationer. Apart from the cost and safety implications of operating obsolete equipment, how will the villagers react when their beloved crossing is forced to shut for three months because a vital piece has worn out and a new piece has to be made?
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Plumpton Level Crossing

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Thu Oct 8, 2015 7:43 pm

I'm not sure exactly what the position of Plumpton Level Crossing is. Can anyone advise? The crossing was supposed to be converted from a gated crossing to MCB-OD, I believe.

Last Wednesday, I noticed that the level crossing gates are now chained across the road at Plumpton. Temporary fencing has been also been erected across the road. A large pile of what appears to be redundant cabling has appeared behind the gate box and on the opposite side of the railway.

In addition T645 signal which used to be worked by Plumpton Gate Box, and is near the country end of the Down platform now seems to work automatically. The gate box itself seems no longer in use as a gate box - it is used instead by contractors. There was no audible or visual movement that could be observed from the road, even when standing next to the signal box with its door open. The illuminated signal box diagram seems no longer able to display the position of trains from where I was standing.

That said, the level crossing gates and the rodding remains in place, presumably still connected and I suspect that the reason for the prolonged closure of the road (now expected to be in excess of three months) is because the signalling is no longer interlocked with the gates, preventing them from being worked, hence the chains and padlocks.

There was a piece of local television which can be viewed until 1900 08.10.15. It starts about 16.20 and ends at about 19.10

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... y-08102015

There is also a letter that has reproduced on the Plumpton Level Crossing Campaign Facebook page, from Network Rail which may help to explain matters further:-

https://www.facebook.com/PlumptonLevelC ... 7472096531
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Re: Plumpton Level Crossing

Unread postby John Webb » Thu Oct 8, 2015 7:55 pm

Peter - there's already been some discussion in the Level Crossing section.

Threads merged and edited to avoid confusion - Mod
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Re: Plumpton Level Crossing

Unread postby Yabbadabba » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:27 pm

Peter Gibbons wrote:I'm not sure exactly what the position of Plumpton Level Crossing is. Can anyone advise? The crossing was supposed to be converted from a gated crossing to MCB-OD, I believe.

Last Wednesday, I noticed that the level crossing gates are now chained across the road at Plumpton. Temporary fencing has been also been erected across the road. A large pile of what appears to be redundant cabling has appeared behind the gate box and on the opposite side of the railway.

In addition T645 signal which used to be worked by Plumpton Gate Box, and is near the country end of the Down platform now seems to work automatically. The gate box itself seems no longer in use as a gate box - it is used instead by contractors. There was no audible or visual movement that could be observed from the road, even when standing next to the signal box with its door open. The illuminated signal box diagram seems no longer able to display the position of trains from where I was standing.

That said, the level crossing gates and the rodding remains in place, presumably still connected and I suspect that the reason for the prolonged closure of the road (now expected to be in excess of three months) is because the signalling is no longer interlocked with the gates, preventing them from being worked, hence the chains and padlocks.

There was a piece of local television which can be viewed until 1900 08.10.15. It starts about 16.20 and ends at about 19.10

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... y-08102015

There is also a letter that has reproduced on the Plumpton Level Crossing Campaign Facebook page, from Network Rail which may help to explain matters further:-

https://www.facebook.com/PlumptonLevelC ... 7472096531


Plumpton Gate Box is fully closed out now and ground frame abolished.

T643 on the down line now has a proved replacement on it.

T645 in the down platform has gone from a slotted semi auto signal controlled form Plumton Gate Box with a slot from TBASC to a fully controlled signal from TBASC via the way of a temporary auto working.

T646 on the up (Race course) platform has gone from a three aspect auto signal to become a two aspect distant signal.

T800 up the up approaching Plumpton has gone from a three aspect signal controlled from Plumpton Crossing Box but within the actual signal section T648 to T646, has now been moved closer to the crossing and has become an actual controlled signal from TBASC in its own right replacing T646. T800 also was also converted to a temporary auto signal while the signalling alterations were carried out.

Both T645 and T800 are controlled by Single Buttons (as in not NX) and have a blue auto buttons associated with them.

There have been various alterations to the track circuits in the Plumton area for the new signalling.
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Re: News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby scarpa » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:32 am

The level crossing could be closed up to a year rumour has it.If the signalbox has heritage status will this prevent removal unless relocating to a Heritage line.If Plumpton is managing without the crossing Networkrail should close it permanently.
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Re: News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:20 am

scarpa wrote:The level crossing could be closed up to a year rumour has it.If the signalbox has heritage status will this prevent removal unless relocating to a Heritage line.If Plumpton is managing without the crossing Networkrail should close it permanently.


Well it looks to me like this:-

1. Villagers want to retain the abolished but listed signal /gate box, but refuse to become involved in maintaining it. Said structure falls into disuse, so that it will have to be demolished on safety grounds or mysteriously catches fire
2. Villagers want to retain the non-listed and rotten level crossing gates, complete with a splinted fracture on one of them, but refuse to offer a new home for them, even though the East Kent Railway have offered to preserve the gates.

Network Rail have two options, either to proceed with the replacement of the gates with full barriers or to close the road on a permanently. By the look of things it appears that they are doing the only sensible thing, that is to proceed with the replacement crossing as far as possible, but until the actual removal of the gates plus concrete pillars can legally be removed, the crossing stays closed to all traffic. There is an alternative route for pedestrians via the station footbridge but obviously that is not step free access.

The gates remain padlocked across the road and I suspect that they have been disconnected from the gate wheel to that they cannot be operated. There are large piles of redundant cabling stacked up outside to former gate box and on the opposite side of the line.
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Re: News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby John Hinson » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:41 am

There is a lot of mixed information in this discussion.

It would appear the gates are considered to be listed by all concerned. Quoting from a letter from Network Rail reproduced at https://www.facebook.com/PlumptonLevelC ... 7472096531 they seem to recognise this:
Sadly our plans did not receive listed buildings consent on 30 September. On 25 September we started preparatory works to non-listed structures to prepare for a new level crossing, because we had assumed, based on the fact that our listed buildings consent application had been recommended for approval by Lewes District Council officers, that permission was likely to be granted. We should not have made this assumption and we are sorry for this.

As such we are now in the unfortunate position that we cannot currently proceed with the new level crossing whilst we do not have the listed buildings consent required to remove the existing gates.

The villagers are not obliged to maintain a listed building, the owner is. Network Rail has demonstrated its ability to do so capably elsewhere. None of these have been "mysteriously burned down" as far as I am aware.

The gates may well show signs of age, but if listed they can be restored, just like signal boxes can (and are).

Nobody has to "find a home" for listed structures, normal practice is that they should stay where they are. Consent is required if they are to be moved.

The period of closure of the crossing is anticipated by Network Rail to be around three months - from the same letter:
We are working round the clock to try and find a temporary safe solution for the level crossing that is acceptable to residents and the local community and meets our obligations. However, this will take us some time and it is likely that the current diversionary routes will remain in place for at least the next three months whilst we work on solutions and discuss these with Lewes District Council, residents and the local community. However, we will do everything we can to bring this forward.


Let's please stick to facts.

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Re: News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:20 am

John Hinson wrote:There is a lot of mixed information in this discussion.

It would appear the gates are considered to be listed by all concerned. Quoting from a letter from Network Rail reproduced at https://www.facebook.com/PlumptonLevelC ... 7472096531 they seem to recognise this:
Sadly our plans did not receive listed buildings consent on 30 September. On 25 September we started preparatory works to non-listed structures to prepare for a new level crossing, because we had assumed, based on the fact that our listed buildings consent application had been recommended for approval by Lewes District Council officers, that permission was likely to be granted. We should not have made this assumption and we are sorry for this.

As such we are now in the unfortunate position that we cannot currently proceed with the new level crossing whilst we do not have the listed buildings consent required to remove the existing gates.

The villagers are not obliged to maintain a listed building, the owner is. Network Rail has demonstrated its ability to do so capably elsewhere. None of these have been "mysteriously burned down" as far as I am aware.

The gates may well show signs of age, but if listed they can be restored, just like signal boxes can (and are).

Nobody has to "find a home" for listed structures, normal practice is that they should stay where they are. Consent is required if they are to be moved.

The period of closure of the crossing is anticipated by Network Rail to be around three months - from the same letter:
We are working round the clock to try and find a temporary safe solution for the level crossing that is acceptable to residents and the local community and meets our obligations. However, this will take us some time and it is likely that the current diversionary routes will remain in place for at least the next three months whilst we work on solutions and discuss these with Lewes District Council, residents and the local community. However, we will do everything we can to bring this forward.


Let's please stick to facts.

John


Well I've looked on the Historic England web site and although the signal box is indeed mentioned as listed, the level crossing gates clearly are not mentioned. Historic England maintains the official and up to date National Heritage List for England:-

http://historicengland.org.uk/listing/t ... ry/1238580

There is nothing whatever within that listing, that mentions the level crossing gates.

The station buildings and footbridge at Plumpton are separately listed.

Even if listed, I don't believe that places specific obligations on the owner to maintain the structure. A good example was the signal box at Dawlish, once listed, then de-listed, because the structure fell into disrepair and was a danger to the travelling public. it was eventually demolished in July 2013.
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Re: News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby John Hinson » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:51 pm

I know there is nothing on that web site mentioning the gates - I did look. But it is incomplete in many respects, local councils maintain the more detailed records. An absence there seems to me to have little weight when both Network Rail and the local residents believe the gates are listed and have said so in writing.

Dawlish is not a good example at all, and has been discussed before. Signal boxes specifically chosen for listing conform to standard designs - English Heritage do not consider one-offs as worthwhile for listing. Dawlish was non-standard and only came to be listed by default because the whole of Dawlish station was listed. No doubt it was for that reason that de-listing was agreed.

Concerning whose responsibility maintenance is, you may find this of interest:
http://www.tameside.gov.uk/listedbuildings/faqs#t6

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Re: News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby Stuart Johnson » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:40 pm

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Re: News from Plumpton (Sussex)

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:40 pm

I've now had it confirmed by Lewes District Council that the level crossing gates are not actually listed in their own right, but are considered by them to be curtilage to the Grade 2 listed signal box. The Planning officers report states,

"The existing gates are associated with the Grade II listed, 19th century signal box and, although not mentioned in the list description, are considered to be curtilage listed structures as a result of this relationship. The gates are operated by a signaller from the signal box using a traditional system of levers and wheel. Network Rail intends to donate the gates to the East Kent Railway, a Heritage Railway Charity based in Shepherdswell, near Dover".

That being the case, I would assume from that statement that the 20th Century Bowmac slabs that make up the crossing, as well as the 1990s style lighting columns are also assumed to be curtiledge?

Nevertheless Lewes District Council planning officer recommended that 'listed planning consent' should be granted. It would seem that the Councillors for the District Council voted against that advice, thus extending the road closure for the next three months according to the signage erected this week at the crossing.
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