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Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

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Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Sun Jun 29, 2014 4:03 pm

John Hinson wrote:
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 exp*, ensive.


Perhaps I can quote Richard Foster writing in his article in British Railway Journal no.50 (winter 1994) entitled The Train Services on the Anglesey Central Line* "The old LNW practice at small stations, such as Holland Arms, was to combine the signalman's duties with those of a porter, shunter or even station master in order to reduce staff costs." (Note that Holland Arms was a junction station.) Certainly the Southern Railway, from early in its existence, followed the same route, and it is perhaps not a coincidence that its General Manager was a former LNW man.

* The article not only covers train services but includes full signalling diagrams, all of the stations including the junction at Holland Arms having typical LNW open frames with the instruments in the booking office. Associated articles on the Red Wharf Bay branch and on the signalling on the Central Anglesey Line appeared in British Railway Journals no.1 and no.38 respectively.

As I have indicated before, these economical arrangements were certainly very typical of the LNW throughout North Wales although perhaps less ubiquitous in England - the LNW didn't get where it did by spending money unnecessarily.
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Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby tynewydd » Wed Jul 9, 2014 2:17 pm

Just as a coda to Bethesda of sorts - with the help of Nick Catford of the disused-stations site, I found the OS map with "Signal Box" attached to an open dot near the end (more or less) of the goods headshunt and so relatively close to the outer home/advanced starter SP. The words appear only in the 1889 25" map but by the time of the same scale 1901 map the dot remains but is missing any rubric and has acquired an interior diagonal line suggestive of a hatching - which distinguishes roofs (an added feature of the 1901 survey). In the 6" OS map of 1901 the rubric for a milepost on the road wipes out this area - hence the disappearance/reappearance of the dot. As the years roll on that area gets maintained on the 25" as something with a roof right up through 1970 when all track has already been lifted and the whole area was clearly re-surveyed.

I presented the evidence to them that I am aware of to date (including the wording in one of their source books "Branch Lines" which is consistent with what has been discussed here). My copy of Richard Foster's book has not yet arrived, but I put them onto that anyway. I pointed out that the closing and demolition they talk about would actually be consistent with decommissioning of a platform ground frame - leaving the goods ground frame in situ - since it was after the cessation of passenger traffic and that certainly by the time of the railtours we can see from photos that the passenger tracks had been lifted well before the goods yard.

They are considering what they will do to change or augment the information on their site.

I have put together a newer version of Nantlle (V3) - based on a combination of the real Nantlle and Bethesda and will post about that shortly to get feedback.

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Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region) V3

Unread postby tynewydd » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:16 am

Ok - here is V3

I took the goods yard of Bethesda and swapped in the Nantlle passenger side (basically reversed the platform so that the station building is at the rear rather than being between the goods and passenger side) and then I added a second industry to the reverse siding (a dairy).

Finally, to cope with the cramped site, I took my courage in both hands and produced a slate exchange siding reached via a diamond crossing from the goods side over the passenger-line. I saw something similar (as a narrow gauge crossover) in John's diagram for Blaenau Ffestiniog GW Exchange. This siding clearly would need to be protected via a catch point on the siding - I am unclear if there would need to be a ground signal on exit as well as entry, or if the rule would be that no engine could linger in the exchange siding, so once admitted, it would not need to be expressly signaled back into the goods yard. More conventionally that could be just a point off the passenger, but then goods would need to get out of the yard, come over and that could not be done with a passenger train in the platform.

Signalling (very early 60s remember) is supposed to include surviving LNWR LQ. I could even drop the miniature arm 3 on the bracket and make that signal a plain post with a pair of LQs as well.

I currently signaled it as though there was only one ground frame/blockpost and not two. The handling of the goods entrance crossover and signalling makes a two GF config seem unlikely to me in the model. There is not enough room to get a goods train out of the yard via the ground signal 11 and up to the AS 13, close and lock the crossover, remove the key and hotfoot over to platform to offer the train and pull off the AS. So then we would need the AS to be free if the annett's key was with the goods GF... I will also have the LNWR book here by August so I can see how that was arranged - but obviously the space constraint is very different.

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Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby kbarber » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:20 am

Broadly speaking it's looking good. However I'd be inclined to have no shunt signals at all. That would accord with typical LNWR parsimony, which even extended to main lines. it was a feature in the Penmaenmawr collision of 1950 http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docume ... wr1950.pdf (Signalman Morgan was the very same George Morgan who was my instructor at Signalling School). All movements in the station area would be controlled by handsignal (technically a green flag by day or handlamp at night; in reality the daytime signal was likely to be a wave from the box).

Technically the 'catch points' in the slate siding are trap points but I wouldn't worry overmuch, the purpose is to derail anything that's likely to cause problems if it goes any further.

There would be nothing to stop a loco sitting in the slate siding all day. It shouldn't try and move out without a handsignal. And if it did, well that's what the trap is for...

It would be quite usual to shunt out through 4 and beyond 13. The Electric Token Regs include specific provision, both to obtain a token for shunting purposes and to occupy the line outside the (advanced) starter while the section is occupied (provided the train is going away from you). Technically it's two in a section but that's what the regs say...

Interesting looking layout and the minimal old-style signalling is probably unusual on a model, particularly an ambitious one such as this. It's also a nice contrast to the very full signalling at PLJ and PD.
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Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby John Hinson » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:47 am

kbarber wrote:technically a green flag by day or handlamp at night; in reality the daytime signal was likely to be a wave from the box

I think you will find the hand-wave (white light at night) was what was required by the rules . . . a green flag or lamp was not permitted. This placed an obligation on the driver, guard or shunter to ensure the points were set correctly as there was no detection of course.

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Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby kbarber » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:36 am

John Hinson wrote:
kbarber wrote:technically a green flag by day or handlamp at night; in reality the daytime signal was likely to be a wave from the box

I think you will find the hand-wave (white light at night) was what was required by the rules . . . a green flag or lamp was not permitted. This placed an obligation on the driver, guard or shunter to ensure the points were set correctly as there was no detection of course.

John

I'm rustier than I thought... perhaps St Albans South is about right for me at present :oops:
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Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby tynewydd » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:42 am

Rusty or not :shock: - thanks so much for posting this info including the accident, Keith. Just the description of how the un-signalled moves are supposed to work and how they could have led to this accident is fascinating. Here is Pathe news on the subject of the crash aftermath.

I work in a field where preventing "accidents" is important but without the deadly consequences, thank goodness. Still, under-investment in safeguards and therefore total reliance on strictly following working practices between two people who can't directly talk to (or even see) each other; coupled with an ever-changing set of new people is always a recipe for failure eventually, I have found.

I'll bet that this experience created one diligent and highly motivated instructor. We find war stories told by those who were there the most effective training tool we have.

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Re: Nantlle (BR Midland Region)

Unread postby John Hinson » Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:08 am

tynewydd wrote:I'll bet that this experience created one diligent and highly motivated instructor. We find war stories told by those who were there the most effective training tool we have.

It actually led to a rather disillusioned signalman as the railway's internal process of investigation was badly conducted and included a determination to condemn him regardless of other factors. They failed.

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