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Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby Stuart Johnson » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:02 pm

The layout strikes me as very much the sort of thing that was used in signalling school model railways- see for example the GWR version on page 131 of Vaughan's "Great Western Signalling". That of course used Reading-built miniature frames of GW pattern, one or two of which have survived, but the track layout is almost identical to "Balham". Could it have been a SR or BR commission for a training school?

I remember W & H being at New Cavendish Street by the 70s, but that was just a shop.
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:25 pm

61 Baker Street was situated on the west side just south of Dorset Street, so one block away from Paddington Street, however it would be quite possible for two premises that close to share the same telephone number with a PBX situated in one or other of them and with private line links. I have some pre-war Model Railway News so will do some more digging.

I am amazed at the size of the frame which not only suggests gauge O or gauge 1 but quite possibly a garden line. This might explain the lack of an obvious site for a station as the railway could have had a terminus (presumably also with a fully interlocked frame) in a "shed" with the junction forming the splitting point for a bi-directional return loop (which could have had one or more simple pairs of platforms located on it rather than just being a simple balloon). I suspect that, had it still been in existence in 1960, I would have heard of it, but the survival of the frame in good condition is intriguing. It is certainly beginning to look as if your original 1930s guess may well be correct.

There was at least one very senior Southern Railway officer who was a model railway enthusiast but understandably he kept a low profile and the only detail I know is that in the mid-1950s he had a fine collection of commissioned 2mm scale models. I think it unlikely that an officer of one of the railways would have a model with a junction named after a location on the SR. However the owner may not have been a railwayman at all, just having a friend who could undertake the design work for the model.

Even a few years ago I may have been able to find someone who knew more answers but sadly they are all dead now.
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:33 pm

Stuart Johnson wrote:The layout strikes me as very much the sort of thing that was used in signalling school model railways- see for example the GWR version on page 131 of Vaughan's "Great Western Signalling". That of course used Reading-built miniature frames of GW pattern, one or two of which have survived, but the track layout is almost identical to "Balham". Could it have been a SR or BR commission for a training school?


I thought of that too, but came to the conclusion that the signal layout relates to a model railway rather than a real one - the lack of outer homes, for example - whereas I would have expected a "school" layout to have been slightly more complicated than the real thing (rather like today's heritage railways) in order to allow varying "situations" to be practised.

That said, it remains a possibility, but wouldn't the name "Balham" have rung a bell (sorry) with someone on this forum?
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby RobertHurst » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:19 pm

davidwoodcock wrote:
Even a few years ago I may have been able to find someone who knew more answers but sadly they are all dead now.


Sad indeed, although this is how I came by it from the estate of a deceased model engineer.

I don't think it was sited outdoors as the rusting is only slight and the wood is still solid.

Yes it reminded me of the old training school layouts.

A bit more on the inter-locking;

Reversing 8 doesn't prevent setting any of the up routes, however 8 can't be reversed if 9 is reversed. Despite earlier comments I believe 8 should be up (before) 9, as drawn.

I believe 5 is at the far end of the down platform, to hold trains in the station.

Could it be the DL train splits here, an engine comes from the siding and couples up to the rear 2 carriages.
Then shunts over 15 to UB. The main part of the trains continues DL.

15 and 14 can be reversed with 10 in either position, but no 11 (fpl) required. Really there's nowhere else to go but up, so perhaps this is accepted as it is a shunting maneuvre.
5 and 6 can be reversed at the same time 15 and 14, hence the splitting train theory.
5 must be beyond 15, but 5 must not be passed if 15 is intended to be used, so they must be at least a train's length apart.

Many thanks for all the interest,
Rob.
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:00 am

Having done some digging in (very) old model magazines, I can now say that Walker & Holtzapffel were at 61 Baker Street by 1933 (so that was almost certainly the address where the first set up) and remained there until September 1956 when they moved to Paddington Street. They (by then trading as W&H Models) finally moved to "larger showrooms" in New Cavendish Street during winter 1963/64. They retained the same Welbeck phone number throughout. It is quite possible that they had the Paddington Street premises before 1956, but not as a shop, as they had a substantial manufacturing (Romford motors, for example) and wholesaling business as well as retail.

Interestingly, their pre-war advertisements specifically state that they specialised in OO gauge at a time when the majority of modellers were still utilising the larger scales. There is, therefore, a definite conundrum, most pointers would suggest that the frame was used for a OO gauge model but the sheer length of the frame (to perhaps 1:4 or 1:5 scale rather than the 1:20 scale of the levers) tends to point towards something larger. A frame strictly to 1:20 scale could be difficult to work because of the size of one's fingers, but, for example, the Epsom & Ewell Club was producing some very nice "scale" interlocked frames by c1960 and although their lever spacing was a little over scale it was much closer than in this one.

It is interesting that the frame was acquired from the estate of a deceased model engineer, as I would have expected any model engineer to have constructed such a frame himself - a model frame being a simple exercise in metal machining to tight tolerances - rather than commissioning its construction. Indeed, I can think of several long dead skilled metal workers who had fairly coarse O gauge garden railways complete with fully-interlocked signalling, in at least one case machined during the owner's lunch-hour at work.

Anyway, I will come back to my initial opinion that the model frame dates from 1950s (up to 19560.

Finally, I did wonder whether the model railway was largely EMU-worked since the lack of a second crossover would preclude running round a terminating train off the branch - motor train working would have been possible but not something that I had ever seen on a model railway before CCW and/or Ks introduced GWR auto trailer kits in the late 1950s. A terminating EMU off the branch could terminate in the down platform, back into the siding to clear the line for a down main through train, and then follow it through towards the down advanced starter, before reversing over the crossover after the passage of an up through train. Splitting up trains would be simple but the lack of call-on signals makes the reverse procedure more problematic even with EMUs.
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