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Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

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Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby RobertHurst » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:07 pm

First and foremost, thankyou for allowing to join your forum.
I have joined as I am hoping you guys can help shed some light on an old model lever frame I inherited several years ago.
It was originally manufactured by Walkers & Holtzappfel, Baker street. I would estimate the date of manufacture to be 30's or 40's.
In total it has 24 levers; 1-7 signals; 8-13, 15 points; 14, 16-24 signals.
The sign at the rear states "Balham", I've made the assumption it's based loosely on the old Balham Junction box (http://www.signalbox.org/diagrams/balhamjcnc1950.jpg), although there must be a fair bit omitted.
What I'd like to achieve is to reverse engineer it, and build a layout around it.
I have a fairly good understanding of how signalling should work, but would appreciate confirmation of the following.
When setting a route, the signalman would start roughly in the centre of the frame and work progressively towards the oncoming train, first setting the points, then exit signals, then entry signals?
If so, this would put the centre of the frame between levers 10 and 11.
Some interesting observations;
Levers 11 and 13 are painted dark blue, I'm aware that blue is normally associated with FPL's, however lever 13 can only be reversed if 12 is reversed. If they aren't FPL's they must be something significant?
Levers 15 and 14 can only be reversed in the wrong direction ie. 15 then 14, can I assumed this is for a shunting back signal?
I've made up a list of all possible routes, and have made a little progress, but the biggest problems I'm having are working out which part of the layout is missing, and whether pairs of signals share a common approach or exit?
Thanks for reading thus far, and really look forward to any help you may care to offer.
Rob.
Attachments
005(1).jpg
004(1).jpg
001(1).jpg
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby Danny252 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:04 pm

RobertHurst wrote:When setting a route, the signalman would start roughly in the centre of the frame and work progressively towards the oncoming train, first setting the points, then exit signals, then entry signals?


Points would usually go in the middle, with the main running signals being grouped on the side of the box that trains they apply to come from - so signals for trains running "left to right" would be placed on the left, and vice versa. Shunt signals generally tended to end up adjacent to the points they applied to (this sounds like the case with 14/15). Of course, there could be significant variation on this depending on the layout!

Signals would usually be cleared in the order that the train would pass them, although this wasn't enforced by the locking on many earlier frames - where it was enforced, it would be known as "sequential locking". As you say, the route would be set before the signals.

Your frame does seem a bit odd in that, on the right, the distants aren't at the end - this might suggest a branch line route with no working distant, but even then I would expect the branch route signals to be "inside" the main route ones (but its probably not unheard of!) - the fact that your last photo shows a fair bit of the pointwork reversed to clear signal 24 supports this. The number of distants also seems a bit excessive for such a small layout!

Following this "branch line" theory, it might explain the oddity of 13 requiring 12 reverse - 12 might be the single-to-double line points, with the normal position being for trailing moves (ones onto the single line) and the reverse being for facing moves (ones from the single line onto the double).

One thing you haven't mentioned is the white bands on some signal levers - these indicate section signals locked to the block/token/whatever system, which would be the "exit" signals you refer to.

If you could work out a list of which levers require which others reverse or normal, I think we could have a good go at working out the layout!
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:27 pm

Can I ask why you think it dates from the 30s or 40s?

War and post-war austerity, notably material shortages, make the latter decade unlikely (but not absolutely impossible), while before the war the smallest practical scale for fine modelling was O gauge and, although some large "through station" layouts existed, there weren't many of them and "Balham" doesn't ring any bells.

My guess would be that it dates from the 1950s when some larger OO gauge layouts were built with an emphasis on realistic operation - Frank Dyer's Borchester being an obvious and well known example - but there were others that "never left home" and as a result were little known. In particular, I can think of one person who had a substantial layout "based" on the London area of the Southern's Central Division and who may well have incorporated locked lever frames; what I can't now remember (50+ years on) was whether one of his stations was called Balham.
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby JRB » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:42 pm

As previously hinted, if you can tabulate all the locking, preferably in the customary form which has been described elsewhere in this forum, I'm sure the assembled wisdom can deduce the layout. It's a problem I have met before, long ago when I was less rusty on such things.

There was a period when some regions liked to put the main running signals for each direction at opposite ends of the frame with the distants on the inward end of each row of signals. It looked odd but was an accepted regional standard for a while (where? , when?).
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby RobertHurst » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:48 pm

Many thanks for the response.
In no particular order;
1. The photo's were taken by me with my own camera.
2. Seemingly W & H were in business from 1932 - 1956, I was only guessing at the age.
3. Lever 24 is slightly bent and is in the normal position as show.
4. I've made the assumption that left to right is "down", as there are more (entry?) signals on the right.
5. As an example, 1, 2 are the normal route, 3,4 are the (9,10) reversed route. Does this follow convention? I assume both 9,10 need to be reversed to prevent conflicting routes under block control? i.e 9 is the actual route, 10 is reversed to make the UL appear blocked.
Here's a list of valid routes.
Down.
A 5, 2, 1 DL - DB?
B 10, 9, 5, 4, 3 DL - DL?
C 8, 5
D 8, 7, 5
E 10, 8, 7, 5
Up.
F 11, 17, 18, 19
G 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19
H 10, 11, 12, 13, 24
J 10, 11, 23
K 10, 11, 15, 14
L 15, 14 locks all other points and signals
M 8, 16 seems odd?


I'll add a list of which down routes and up routes can be selected simultaneously.
Thanks again for your interest.
Rob.
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby Danny252 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:37 pm

RobertHurst wrote:3. Lever 24 is slightly bent and is in the normal position as show.

Ah, I thought it looked a bit odd. Oh well!
4. I've made the assumption that left to right is "down", as there are more (entry?) signals on the right.

No reason to believe this - I can think of signalboxes that had more signals for down trains than up, rather than what you've assumed. However, let's go with that just to make life easier!
5. As an example, 1, 2 are the normal route, 3,4 are the (9,10) reversed route. Does this follow convention? I assume both 9,10 need to be reversed to prevent conflicting routes under block control? i.e 9 is the actual route, 10 is reversed to make the UL appear blocked.

Nothing to do with block controls - that's flank protection. By reversing 10, any runaway train will be diverted on the line parallel to the train - if 10 was normal, it could hit the side (flank) of the other train.

Onto what I've worked out so far:
Firstly, you never mention signal 6 - this is quite odd, as I would have expected it to be the left-to-right section signal, and that lever 1 would require 2, 5, 6 and lever 3 would need 4, 5, 6.

Similarly, you haven't mentioned 20, 21, or 22 yet, so it's a bit of guesswork there!

However, I have been able to have a good go at working out what things are - I've assumed that 1 and 3 do require 6 reverse, mostly as it would make little sense otherwise. The layout seems to have a mainline junction on the down side, with the Down Main and Down Branch converging at points 9, and points 10 being the Up Main/Up Branch facing points. Points 8 seem to be a trailing set of points somewhere on the main.

1, 2, 5, 6 is the Down Main route. This would require 8 and 9 normal.
3, 4, 5, 6 is the Down Branch to Down Main route. 9 is reverse, and 10 is required reverse due to flank protection. 8 Must be locked normal.
17, 18, 19 is the Up Main route, requiring 10 normal and bolted by 11, and locking 8 and 9 normal.
22 is probably the Up Branch starting signal.
I've put 8 as a trailing crossover between the branch junction and signal 5. Disc 7 reads Up Main to Down Main backing, whilst Disc 16 reads Down Main to Up Main backing.

The Up Main route doesn't care about the position of 12, so these points must not interfere with that route. I'm tempted to say that there may be an Up Slow from the right, which merges with both the Up Main/Up Branch separately, so that Up Slow to Up Branch can be done at the same time as an Up Main through route.

Following that logic, 23 might be Up Main to Up Branch Home and 24 Up Slow to Up Branch Home, with points 12 being the Up Slow to Up Branch points.

Continuing on that theme, I figure that 15 would be the Up Slow to Up Main points, with 17 20 21 being the Up Slow to Up Main route, and 13 locking both 15 and 12. 14 reading over 15 would certainly lock a lot of the signals, but you claim it locks all of them - even 1 2 5 6?

My first-go diagram can be found at this link - I'm very doubtful of my layout for the Up Slow junction and the discs, and some more information on the locking would be helpful!

(I've just noticed my B on 22 is backwards. Oh dear...)
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby RobertHurst » Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:45 pm

Thanks for your input, there's a lot to take in so I'll get back to you once I've had chance to digest.
My comment about "more up routes than down" was in relation to the diagram of Balham Junction, the link to which is in the first post, rather than a general one.
I don't want to get too hung up on the arrangement at BJ for real, but I wonder if it was based on BJ before the track widening scheme was carried out in the 1920's? Where might I find an older track diagram to cover this period?
Is there any possibility the Up Slow to Up Branch avoiding line could actually have been the carriage sidings on the Down Branch?
Again, many thanks.
Rob.
p.s. Signal 6 is not interlocked mechanically, but is released by an electromagnet (as are most of the signals).
p.p.s. Route "G" should read 11, 12, 13, 17, 20, 21
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby Danny252 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:30 pm

RobertHurst wrote:p.p.s. Route "G" should read 11, 12, 13, 17, 20, 21


Aha! In that case, 12 must be where I've put 15 on my diagram and the "avoiding" line doesn't exist (it didn't really make much sense before). However, 20/21 and 24 are all correct.

Also, having looked at it again, my placement for 14/16 seems illogical - you would expect them to be a pair of discs reading over points 15 in different directions (much like 7 applies to 8 ). Does 16 clear with 15 reverse (with or without 8 )?

I wouldn't get overly hung up on the layout necessarily representing reality - plenty of model railways use names from real locations, but with track layouts that only very vaguely represent what was actually on the ground, if there was any similarity at all!
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby RobertHurst » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:37 pm

Ok, thanks for the guidance.
I think I've figured it all out, see attachment (sketch by self).
Your comments would be very welcome.
Cheers,
Rob.
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby Danny252 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:55 pm

That would certainly work - I'd have put disc 16 before points 9 (or swap the order of the branch and siding points), to allow trains off the branch to reverse in, and to allow 9 to be interlocked/detected before a train tries to move over it, but I don't know if your frame agrees with that bit of interlocking.

You could also have the Siding as a Down Slow with a fixed distant if you were so inclined, but your choice works just as well!

Does 14 clear with 15 normal, just out of curiosity? I think I've seen layouts (e.g. older GWR ones) where 14 would only clear with 15 reverse, so either version would be fine.
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby RobertHurst » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:02 pm

Hi, 14 will not clear until 15 is reversed.
Yes, moving 8 beyond 9 makes more sense, I'll check if the interlocking agrees.
Rob.
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:56 am

RobertHurst wrote:Seemingly W & H were in business from 1932 - 1956, I was only guessing at the age.


W&H (Models) Ltd was incorporated in October 1956 but Walkers & Holtzapffel (or "Walkers" as they were generally called by modellers) continued to be used as the trading name until March 1959. They were actually located in Paddington Street but they added Baker Street to their address until the trading name change. I am not certain when the business started but it was certainly pre-war so I wouldn't disagree with a 1932 date. They went into receivership circa 1995.

Having looked at the signalling diagram that has emerged, it is possible that it was used on a gauge O (or even gauge 1) model railway but I still think OO most likely, and I still think that post-war is more likely than pre-war, not least because the frame has survived in good condition - and anyone working in gauge O or gauge 1 pre-war would have more likely gone to Bonds o'Euston Road or even Bassett Lowke for its manufacture (although they would probably have had sufficient model engineering know-how and equipment to have made it themselves.

I am almost certain that Walkers would not have had the expertise to have designed an interlocked frame themselves which suggests that the manufacture was commissioned to the design of the owner, or at least one of his friends, and that a professional S&T engineer must have been involved.

I am not sure that the signalling layout is quite right yet - certainly 8 should also work a trap and 7 might well have been a dolly. A model of an elaborately signalled junction without a station would have been unusual and I found it difficult to decide on the juxtaposition of the crossover with any platforms.
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby John Webb » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:46 pm

davidwoodcock wrote:.....I am not sure that the signalling layout is quite right yet - certainly 8 should also work a trap and 7 might well have been a dolly. A model of an elaborately signalled junction without a station would have been unusual and I found it difficult to decide on the juxtaposition of the crossover with any platforms.

Returning to the original Balham diagram in post #1, could one assume that the platforms lie to the right of 20/24 and 18/23 of the model's assumed layout? (Except there are no home signals protecting the platforms so perhaps there weren't any on the model?)

Thanks too for the information on W&H - my father used to purchase items from them on occasion, but I lost contact with them when I gave up railway modelling in the early 1960s.
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby RobertHurst » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:56 pm

I was presuming the platforms sat between 5 & 6 and 18 & 19, UF being an avoiding line and having no platform.

Rob.
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Re: Balham (Junction) Lever frame.

Unread postby RobertHurst » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:22 pm

davidwoodcock wrote:W&H (Models) Ltd was incorporated in October 1956 but Walkers & Holtzapffel (or "Walkers" as they were generally called by modellers) continued to be used as the trading name until March 1959. They were actually located in Paddington Street but they added Baker Street to their address until the trading name change.


The label on the backboard reads 61 Baker St. W1 - Tel. Welbeck 8835, which is the same number W & H models were using at their Paddington Rd store.
Would that suggest this frame is pre '56, as two addresses could not share the same telephone number?
One thing I haven't mentioned is the scale, approx 1:20. The levers stand pround 2 1/2" at 1" centres.
Rob.
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