Signals

THE SIGNAL BOX


Railway signalling discussion

Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

For railway modellers to discuss and share ideas on realistic signalling arrangements.

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:06 am

kbarber wrote:Sadly George Morgan is no longer with us to ask, but he certainly spoke of working Bethesda as a signalman; this would've been (I think) the early '50s when he was on the relief, he was signalmens' instructor at Carlow St in the late '70s (I knew him at the back end of '78).


I had noted what you wrote previously but I wonder whether George Morgan was referring to Bethesda Junction box where the Bethesda branch came off the main line.

Where there was no need to differentiate (and there is no way that the open frame on Bethesda's platform warranted the added expense of a signalman), I have in the past heard men refer to junction boxes without using the actual "junction" word, much in the same way as in area with only a single station with a pair of boxes one would hear reference to "the east box" or "the west box".

For example, I never heard Borough Market Junction referred to in speech as anything other than "Borough Market".
davidwoodcock
Rest-day relief
Rest-day relief
 
Posts: 947
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:58 am
Location: Champlon, Belgique

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby Pete2320 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:59 pm

Probably worth remembering that some LNWR open frames were actually signal boxes, e.g. those on the Bedford to Bletchley line. Given the apparent intensive passenger service to Bethesda I suspect it was a block post.
Concerning George Morgans' incident, I think it sounds more likely to have occurred at a box that needed to switch out, which certainly favours Bethesda Junction but as the rules prohibit closing a box with a fault we can't rule out Bethesda itself, and George may well have fancied the O/T!

Pete
Pete
Pete2320
Main line box
Main line box
 
Posts: 2114
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:50 pm
Location: Barton on Humber

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby tynewydd » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:20 pm

There is a way for both the signalbox to have existed and the open GF based on timing. Although clearly not definitive, the disused-stations site entry that I linked to in my earlier post positively asserts that
  • Bethesda was provided with signal box to control traffic movements. It was located to the north of the passenger station between the lines that led to it and the goods yard sidings
  • On 11 February 1954 the Bethesda signal box was closed and demolished
  • It was replaced by a 9 lever ground frame
Presumably a definitive date of closure and other details like that came from somewhere..

And it is also very possible that there was a second GF on the platform for goods yard and run-round work.

I have seen a picture of an open ground frame on the platform at Bethesda somewhere - but if there was a signalman (or even porter) required because of the volume of traffic at any stage - an open frame would have been torture (of the water variety). Throughout the year Bangor always has between 19 and 25 days of rain a month and between 2 and 4" totals, and Bethesda was (in my recollection) if anything slightly wetter - such that the spoil heaps of slate would always be shiny. A testament to the ruggedness of equipment and men.

And we also have a different date given for the closure of the Bethesda Junction box here of 28 August 1965 - two years after the end of all branch traffic - so a simple substitution error doesn't seem to be at work.

I have ordered a used copy of the book cited as a principal source "Chester to Holyhead: The Branch Lines" and we can see what can be gleaned therein. The snail mail to the former colonies will take a while, so I will just have to be patient unless someone else has a copy to hand.

Adam
tynewydd
Crossing box
Crossing box
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:04 pm
Location: Les Etats-Unis, Cote Ouest

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby John Hinson » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:29 am

I think some of the comments on Bethesda and Bethesda Junction need clarifying and summarising to make sense.

There was a signal box at Bethesda from the opening of the line in 1884 and 1954 sounds an appropriate date for its abolition. Working had been by Train Staff & Ticket between Bangor No1 and Bethesda, and Bethesda Junction was a block post only in that section (and of course on the main line).

When Bethesda box closed, working was One Train in Steam between Bethesda Junction and Bethesda, with a ground frame released by the Single Line Staff provided at Bethesda to work the yard connections. This was necessary as excursions continued to run until 1962.

I do not know whether the L&NWR's practice of using Key Interlocking frames as signalboxes applied at Bethesda but it seems unlikely. However, to be clear, its purpose was not to economise in staff but to economise in signalling costs. The desire to save staff by combining platform staff's jobs with that of signalman didn't really flourish until after nationalisation, when labour costs were becoming expensive. Back in the 1880s, when key interlocking "seemed a good idea", signalling was something the railway companies didn't want to spend money on, preferring to channel their funds into building bigger and faster engines to outrun their competitors. Around the turn of the century, when the L&NWR started extending the KI system to larger layouts, controlled from full-sized signal boxes, the Board of Trade tapped them on the shoulder and the idea immediately went out of fashion although existing examples remained until recent years.

My records show that Bethesda Junction closed on 1st August 1965.

John
Image
‹(•¿•)›
User avatar
John Hinson
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 6840
Joined: Thu Nov 8, 2007 1:13 pm
Location: at my computer

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby tynewydd » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:51 am

Thanks, John.

I have updated the plan to remove the inner home bracket and the second bridge.

Adam
tynewydd
Crossing box
Crossing box
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:04 pm
Location: Les Etats-Unis, Cote Ouest

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby Chris L » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:29 am

Forgive me if this has been mentioned before (can't spot it), but there is a diagram of Bethesda on p.233 of Richard Foster's "A Pictorial Record of LNWR Signalling". The diagram itself is undated, but a note states that the lever frame was installed in 1884. The legend on the diagram reads; "Open ground frame on platform - set of 10 levers - spaces 1 and 8. Siding points released by Annetts key 'C'. (The platform run-round loop points - both ends - were worked directly from the frame.)

Chris.
Chris L
Branch line box
Branch line box
 
Posts: 134
Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:02 am

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby John Hinson » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:52 am

Chris L wrote:Forgive me if this has been mentioned before (can't spot it), but there is a diagram of Bethesda on p.233 of Richard Foster's "A Pictorial Record of LNWR Signalling". The diagram itself is undated, but a note states that the lever frame was installed in 1884. The legend on the diagram reads; "Open ground frame on platform - set of 10 levers - spaces 1 and 8. Siding points released by Annetts key 'C'. (The platform run-round loop points - both ends - were worked directly from the frame.)

It hasn't, and I hadn't noticed that despite having the book out today to look up something else.

This shows, and the accompanying text confirms, that although an uncovered frame it was not of the Key Interlocking type. It was raised above platform level, as some of that time were. So basically, I guess, it could be regarded as a signalbox without walls or roof!

John
Image
‹(•¿•)›
User avatar
John Hinson
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 6840
Joined: Thu Nov 8, 2007 1:13 pm
Location: at my computer

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby tynewydd » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:18 pm

Found it! Here is a scanned picture of the platform ground frame at Bethesda - the accompanying "blurb" says that it was taken in 1927.

It seems to be looking out over the goods yard - opposite what would be the cattle dock. The "box" diagram is titled "Bethesda Station". That blurb also calls that box on the fence a "telegraph instrument" - I see maybe a bell tapper but it doesn't have any block indicator that I can see. Also in the text is mention of this frame controlling points signals and "crossing gates". But that seems improbable - I can't see any crossing within range of the platform based on the OS map. There is a shadowy blob on the platform at the LHS of the frame that is shaped like the head of an Annett's key vertically inserted into a "lock" - is the picture showing the frame unlocked?

There aren't any nameplates on the levers, but they seem to be differently colored - all "shades of grey" to coin a phrase... I see light, light, dark, dark, light, dark, space, space, dark, dark - those last two are reversed.

On the diagram you can just make out two pairs of ?crossover points? both facing SW-NE on the right lower end (one partly under a lever). <edit - maybe it is one facing point partly under the lever #4 and a crossover - that would make it more likely to be the passenger loop, but would also fit the goods RR>. Then there is also at least a crossover to the left upper and several suggestions of points in that area as well.

If you compare to the 1889 Map the diagram doesn't seem to all be quite right in several respects to fit all the aspects of that layout. The situation in the Goods Yard seems a little more complex than I would have expected. There's an ability to run-round completely within the yard, I think, and a through line in the goods shed that ends in a head shunt accessed via crossover over another line? Nice to see a prototype for the commonly modeled reverse road into Gas works siding!! And a handy crane near where the long sidings and the good shed line converge. The turntable has a coaling line - just space for a coal wagon but no coal dock, perhaps, and also a space for an engine to stand beyond the turntable - but no shed.

Not sure what we are to make of all this. The signal box on the same 1889 map that other people mentioned seeing would have to be beyond the end of this map. At the LHS in the photo's diagram the lines do not seem to be converging like the map shows them to be - supporting the notion that a signal box controlled the divergence point and this frame controlled shunting?

Adam
tynewydd
Crossing box
Crossing box
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:04 pm
Location: Les Etats-Unis, Cote Ouest

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby Chris L » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:09 pm

Thanks for posting the photo of the frame.

The diagram I referred to above (in Richard Foster's book) does explain how it worked (it's not, of course, de rigueur to reproduce it here).

It would seem that all points in the goods yard itself were hand operated; the frame was only concerned with the "main", passenger-carrying line. As I said in the previous post, the actual connection to the goods yard was released by an Annetts key which could be obtained from the frame when the appropriate levers were Normal (and locked them so while it was absent). Hence there was deemed to be no need for any more signalling facilities at Bethesda than those provided by this relatively modest installation; of course, it should be remembered that the LNW was renowned for the simplicity of its signalling provisions, when compared to some other companies!

Chris.
Chris L
Branch line box
Branch line box
 
Posts: 134
Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:02 am

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby John Hinson » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:13 pm

tynewydd wrote:There is a shadowy blob on the platform at the LHS of the frame that is shaped like the head of an Annett's key vertically inserted into a "lock" - is the picture showing the frame unlocked?

There aren't any nameplates on the levers, but they seem to be differently colored - all "shades of grey" to coin a phrase... I see light, light, dark, dark, light, dark, space, space, dark, dark - those last two are reversed.

The blob is indeed the Annett's key holder and the key is in because the goods yard is not in use. It would have to be in the frame for the right-hand two levers to be reversed (as they are) as they are the signals for a passenger train departure.

The levers are probably painted correctly. They would look shades of grey in a monochrome picture! The desription plates can clearly be seen behind the levers, near ground level. The badges on the levers just list the pulls. If you can't make them out, see here for an indoor example: http://www.signalbox.org/gallery/lm/widnes7.php

John

PS - I think the box on the fence would have contained the repeater for the distant signal when it was operational, which it can't be by the date of that photograph because somebody has nicked the lever. The block instrument would have been in the station somewhere, along with the train staff and the ticket box.
Image
‹(•¿•)›
User avatar
John Hinson
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 6840
Joined: Thu Nov 8, 2007 1:13 pm
Location: at my computer

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby tynewydd » Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:27 am

John Hinson wrote:The blob is indeed the Annett's key holder and the key is in because the goods yard is not in use. It would have to be in the frame for the right-hand two levers to be reversed (as they are) as they are the signals for a passenger train departure.

The levers are probably painted correctly. They would look shades of grey in a monochrome picture! The desription plates can clearly be seen behind the levers, near ground level. The badges on the levers just list the pulls. If you can't make them out, see here for an indoor example: http://www.signalbox.org/gallery/lm/widnes7.php


Hate to quibble slightly, John, but those two reversed levers are "dark" which is what a black or blue lever would look like in a BW photo when compared to a light -> red or lighter -> yellow. (I did the experiment with the Widnes picture). So I think that they would be a pair of points (like maybe a RR loop)? That way this frame has 3 signals and 5 points/FPLs - which is better than the alternative 5 and 3 - a case of the over-signalling I have been accused of :lol:

I have then a space (former distant?), two home signals, two points (or FPL and point), possibly a starter, a point, a space and then two points (or an FPL and a point).

Adam
tynewydd
Crossing box
Crossing box
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:04 pm
Location: Les Etats-Unis, Cote Ouest

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby Pete2320 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:58 am

I'm not going to get into a debate about the apparent colours of levers in a black and white photo. Agreed the right hand pair look darker than the left hand pair but feel this may well not be due to levers being different colours, perhaps different reflection from reversed levers, camera angle, etc. However this is all pointless debate as we know there is a diagram in Richard Fosters book, accessible to at least two of the contributors to this thread who can doubtless confirm the function of those reversed levers. As one is John Hinson I imagine he checked up on this before his post.

Pete
Pete
Pete2320
Main line box
Main line box
 
Posts: 2114
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:50 pm
Location: Barton on Humber

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby JRB » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:08 pm

Not needed this time, but a lot CAN be deduced from colour rendering in b/w photos. Most noticeably, anything old enough to be taken on orthochromatic film has reds very dark and wellows and oranges tending that way. Later panchromatic films is designed to give a more even response - not helpful in this context.
JRB
Double-manned box
Double-manned box
 
Posts: 3208
Joined: Sun Dec 9, 2007 10:12 pm
Location: GWR

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby Stuart Johnson » Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:31 pm

For those who don't have the Foster book, the numbering is:
1 Space
2 Home
3 Inner Home
4 FPL on loop points
5 Loop points
6 Disc from loop
7 Space (was engine release points)
8 Space
9 Advance starting (on same post as 2)
10 Starting (on same post as 3)
Stuart J
User avatar
Stuart Johnson
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 842
Joined: Fri Nov 9, 2007 5:47 pm
Location: Metroland

Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby tynewydd » Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:38 pm

Stuart Johnson wrote:For those who don't have the Foster book, the numbering is:
1 Space
2 Home
3 Inner Home
4 FPL on loop points
5 Loop points
6 Disc from loop
7 Space (was engine release points)
8 Space
9 Advance starting (on same post as 2)
10 Starting (on same post as 3)


Thankyou, Stuart. That gives me enough to think about the signaling contrasts between the proposed model as it is now and the prototype, including of the sharing of posts, which is a nice thought.

It is clear to me that there was no way to get the needed information from the photograph (I did use a crude orthochromatic filter in photoshop in my experiment, incidentally) and the nameplates are illegible even using the best techniques in detail enhancement I have once John had kindly pointed their position to me.

I looked through the large-scale OS county maps from 1887 onwards and in the first one I see a black dot at the position that others claimed to have seen a box which vanishes entirely in 1889 to be replaced by an open dot in 1919 and each subsequent map. In none of these maps does it carry a label. A dot just beyond the road bridge similarly vanishes from the next station up the line at Tregarth also by 1889 but is replaced by an SP.

Passim Bethesda - Back to Nantlle.

I think, therefore, an open platform-based GF it has to be in order to be prototypical for the LNWR, although perhaps one may go soft and ensure it has a roof - which helps in ensuring that the lack of movement of the levers is not so glaring. That leaves the question of whether it would be better to move the prototype to the Midland as a Nantlle (Midland) competing with the real Nantlle (LNWR) or a fictional continued Nantlle Railway to Caernavon owned by the LNWR - for reasons other than the presence or absence of a physical signalbox.

Thanks all.

Adam
tynewydd
Crossing box
Crossing box
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:04 pm
Location: Les Etats-Unis, Cote Ouest

PreviousNext

Return to Signalling - model railways/simulators

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest