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Interesting computer game

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Interesting computer game

Unread postby John Hinson » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:08 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYpPKumViFk shows an interesting computer game, although i think perhaps a browse of this site might clarify a few issues . . .

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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby Richard Lemon » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:50 pm

Interesting.

Call Attention before TES? Unusual!

Then, Home put back with Distant still off! Funny interlocking.

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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby John Webb » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:32 pm

Good bit of computer modelling - clearly an MR box and with rotary block as well - but could do with a repaint!
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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:56 pm

I like the way the bobby marches up the steps and then works the blocks and levers without touching any of them!
No sign of the bloke he's relieving, though for some reason there is some chap standing near the foot of the Home Signal and it's clearly in the days before Hi-vis.
Must be an official video - no armchair! Nice to see he has a stove though, but he could probably also use a booking desk.
Knocks out before putting any of his signals back.
I'm curious to know how he works that single track branch (siding? goods loop?) using those two non-peggers on the shelf.
Telegraph wires are nicely drawn, though they don't seem to connect to anything in the box, pity they didn't think to draw the signal wires, they would have seemed more relevant to the topic.
Good representation of rusty 16T minerals, but a Class 11 shunter seems an odd choice of loco for a 3-2.
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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby Pete2320 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:50 pm

As it is ex Midland/LMS, calling attention before TES may be legitamate but in those days TOS was sent differentley (no call attention and acknowledged with "1", IIRC but I'm not at all sure!)

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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby Paul_G » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:25 am

Hi Guys,
A new member here, and for my sins I am the creator of the computer game mentioned in the OP.

The video's are so far, of a pure dev hack that I use to try out different aspects of the project to gauge the viability.
Fully acknowledge the operating mistakes, but in mitigation I was operating 3 boxes and controlling the engine all at the same time.

It is planned that there should be a demo of this signalling module available to try later this year.

Interesting comments on some of the stuff in a signal box, If anyone has pics of sink? cooker? chair, desk.. and the connection of telegraph wires?
I am interested to know if telegraph wires were normally on the opposite side to the cabin (so as not to obstruct view)?
Brown lever gate locks is another area I could do with some expert advice..
When gates are open to road and foot traffic would the levers be out of the frame... then gates shut (road) and the lever put back in frame to lock ?
Would a wicket gate have to be locked to clear signals ?

On a hand operated gate crossing would a signalman close gates as soon as he accepts the service, or wait till train is entering section ( apprecite that distances would affect this)

Sure there will be many more questions, but if there is interest here I will keep you posted.

Thanks for showing an interest

Paul G

Point rodding and wires (with animation/ sound) will definately be included in the final product
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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:44 am

Paul_G wrote:Interesting comments on some of the stuff in a signal box, If anyone has pics of sink? cooker? chair, desk.. and the connection of telegraph wires?
I am interested to know if telegraph wires were normally on the opposite side to the cabin (so as not to obstruct view)?
Brown lever gate locks is another area I could do with some expert advice..
When gates are open to road and foot traffic would the levers be out of the frame... then gates shut (road) and the lever put back in frame to lock ?
Would a wicket gate have to be locked to clear signals ?

On a hand operated gate crossing would a signalman close gates as soon as he accepts the service, or wait till train is entering section ( apprecite that distances would affect this)



The domestic facilities (sink, cooker, etc) were rarely photographed and what was provided varied according to the period (eg Baby Bellings were common in BR days). Running water and electricity were not easily provided in the old days, so a sink and electrical appliances would be absent in the Victorian era. Most interior shots concentrate on the operating features - the lever frame, block shelf, single line instruments and a close-up of the diagram, etc. As a rule the sink etc only appear incidentally in photos - nobody wants a photo of the toilet! Traditionally armchairs (and wireless sets and TVs) were frowned upon because the signalman was supposed to be alert and concentrating on the job at all times. So somebody dragged in a beaten up old armchair from home. Several strong low wooden lockers are usually provided, for things like cleaning materials and so that each regular signalman can keep his personal stuff there. These double as seats. There is always a desk (with the register open on top of it and a light above it) and a notice board with statutory and safety notices as well as local operating instructions and circulars, coat hooks (maybe as crude as a few big nails) and of course a bucket or two. Red/green flags are usually by the door so that they can be grabbed on your way out in emergency. There would be a first aid box and fire extinguisher somewhere. The block shelf would usually carry some stuff needed for the job like a bardic, a few instruction books, detonators, maybe an oil lamp and of course there would usually be some signal repeaters, perhaps a block switch for closing at night, maybe a few phones (usually more than one, though these were often wall mounted). In more recent times there might be computer equipment.

Telegraph wires would run on whichever side of the line was more convenient and safe for them (they should preferably on the inside on curves in case a wire snaps, so it falls away from the track). They might terminate and go into a cable for tunnels, or the poles might simply go up and over the hill. There is often a very substantial pole right beside the box taking connections off the wires that run though (or at least appear to). This may have arms at right angles to one another because of the routes the different wires have to take. Poles are often supported by stay wires to counteract the forces applied by the weight of the wires and wind. There would typically be 3 wires in each direction for the block instruments running to the next box (only one wire with certain types of instrument), a wire from the box to each signal that was fitted with a repeater (so the number of wires reduces gradually as you go out towards the distants). Such signals are usually close to a grey lineside relay/battery cabinet (location box), and the final connection thence to the signal is typically runs via a buried cable thence to the electrical contact box on the signal arm. Also of course any signal post telephones needed a wire to the box. There would be wires running through (phones between stations, control offices etc) and sometimes also GPO lines and long distance circuits. Omnibus phone circuits would have a wire running through with a spur to the phone in the box. It is difficult to be precise about the number of wires, because there were lots of different ways of minimising the number, for example by superimposing the box-to-box phone over the block wires. There could also be mains wires above the phone circuits.

Gate levers can be either normal or reverse in the frame when the gates are open to road traffic - it varies, ie sometimes you pull to lock or you may pull to release the gates. If there are wickets, these are normally on additional levers, sometimes both on one lever, sometimes separate levers for each wicket. You would need to unlock and open the gates before you could clear signals, but (at least in the old days) you would leave the wickets unlocked until the train got closer. Wickets are generally not interlocked. The typical time for operating the gates would be immediately after getting the train accepted by the next box, so that you could clear your signals. This obviously varied according the section lengths, station stops, even the speed (class of train).

There would usually be an outbuilding or two - a lamp hut and a drum of oil, perhaps a privy, a coal bunker for the stove.

Excellent work on what you have done so far, despite the little details.

Hope this helps
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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:02 pm

If the box controlled any colour-light multiple-aspect signals, a yellow flag would also be provided.

Sometimes an ash bunker would be provided as well as one for coal. IIRC the standard LMSR brick-built design included both.
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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby John Hinson » Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:30 pm

Paul_G wrote:Hi Guys,
A new member here, and for my sins I am the creator of the computer game mentioned in the OP.

Thanks for joining us - you will get your answers here but maybe already there are conflictions in the answers through potential railway company or date.

I think it is fair to assume from the box (including contents) you are representing the Midland Railway and from the engine and wagons we are talking 1960s. If not, please do say . . . and some of my following comments may be wrong.

Paul_G wrote:Fully acknowledge the operating mistakes, but in mitigation I was operating 3 boxes and controlling the engine all at the same time.

The point about not calling attention for Train Entering Section is accurate but the arrangements discussed earlier about Train Out of Section was peculiar to the LMS discontinued with standardisation in 1960 and your mode of operation is correct for after that date.

Paul_G wrote:Interesting comments on some of the stuff in a signal box, If anyone has pics of sink? cooker? chair, desk.

The Midland Railway did not provide sinks, cookers and chairs.
  • As has been mentioned, before water was laid on, the traditional white enamel bowl on a stand was provided, and water supplied by can, sometimes by train. Do not think this practice did not last - I worked several boxes in the 1970s that were not exactly far from habitation - at many you filled the cans yourself from the station. So initially no sink, but by the 1970s most had one, generally a good, solid deep and rectangular one.
  • Early stoves tended to double as cookers. Only with gas or electricity did you get a cooker or, more often, a Baby Belling.
  • No chairs initially. The Midland Railway provided a locker (two in bigger boxes) which doubled as a bench. Also a crude stool was provided. By the 1960s, some boxes had a hard wooden seat in place of the stool. And of course many boxes had an unofficial armchair - although this was not as common as on other railways as a single piece of wood as a backrest plus a cushion turned the locker into a distinctly comfortable resting place!
  • Midland Railway desks were fairly basic affairs fixed to the wall, steeply inclined and sometimes with a shelf or drawer beneath. There was quite a variety of shapes and sizes so were probably just knocked up by carpenters.
  • Also there was a table. Quite basic four-legged jobs with a drawer.

This picture shows some of the items being discussed:
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St Albans South 1986. Photo: John Hinson collection (that's my foot in the picture!)
Note the table has had boards provided at either end over the legs. I assume it got a bit wobbly or maybe a leg actually got broken.

Your model to me has more than a touch of Ais Gill in it, somewhere that I doubt ever had water or electricity. Here's a picture showing one item not seen in the above - the stool (or rather, two-thirds of it):
Image
Ais Gill 23/3/75. Photo: N L Cadge/John Hinson collection.

Paul_G wrote:I am interested to know if telegraph wires were normally on the opposite side to the cabin (so as not to obstruct view)?

I have now heard two reasons for the wires to run on the inside of a curve (the other was to economise in copper) but getting them across the line is hardly easy. My limited observations are that they tend to stay on one side of the line throughout between key junctions. Best bet is to check photographs of the desired location. And for the number of wires, too. In addition to the basic 3 required for block working there would be several telephone circuits too.
Paul_G wrote:Brown lever gate locks is another area I could do with some expert advice..
When gates are open to road and foot traffic would the levers be out of the frame... then gates shut (road) and the lever put back in frame to lock ?
Would a wicket gate have to be locked to clear signals ?

Lever normal for the gates locked for the passage of trains. Operation was to place the lever onto a check point just away from the "normal position" then to operate the wheel and finally lock the gates by replacing the lever fully. Hand-worked gates do not have that check position and you simply lock them by placing the lever normal on return to the box.

Wickets are not interlocked with signals and are operated when a train is close.
Paul_G wrote:On a hand operated gate crossing would a signalman close gates as soon as he accepts the service, or wait till train is entering section ( apprecite that distances would affect this)

The arrangements do not really differ between had-worked and wheel-worked gates. Rule 99 stated that gates should normally be left across the road but out of sheer common sense the majority of crossings had exemption from that rule which gives the situation you are familiar with.
It was generally defined by instruction as to when to operate gates. Maybe on receipt of Train Entering Section but very often xx minutes after receiving Train Entering Section.

Hope this helps,

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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby Paul_G » Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:30 pm

Many thanks... Mike, Dave, John

Some great info, looks like I have come to the right place.
Much (all) will eventually be incorporated hopefully to give the pace a lived in atmosphere.

Other things I have been looking for are wall mounted phones 1960's, a typical LMR clock, oil / electric lamps (presumably mounted on the back wall

Many thanks again

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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:45 pm

try searching old online railwayana auction catalogues or on ebay - that stuff comes up for sale, and items are usually pictured.

In the 1960s railway phones might well still be 1930s phones in wooden cases - if it ain't broke, no need to replace, especially in old wayside boxes. They weren't like contemporary domestic phones. However you can see a couple of modern plastic phones wall mounted in the picture with John's foot in it!
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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby Frank » Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:57 pm

Hello John,


that item
Here's a picture showing one item not seen in the above - the stool (or rather, two-thirds of it):


must be a universal Item on all Railways of the World.
Here so called Schemel and standard Equipment on all old Boxes.


regards

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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby kbarber » Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:19 am

A couple of nitpicks if I may... just to get the detail right in what looks like a very good offering.

First, in a Midland box the non-pegging block instruments would be the same full-height articles as the peggers. Some are visible here http://www.tlr.ltd.uk/sigbox/news/news_2012.eb third & subsequent pictures down. Where rotary block was in use the non-pegger would incorporate the 'Line Clear Cancel' plunger (button) working with that on the pegger at the opposite end, so cancelling a line clear required the co-operation of both signalmen. (Just to confuse the issue, some non-peggers had a drop-handle intended to be used to flick the needles to give routing information, disconnected by the 1930s I believe but not always removed and some remained in situ until the end.)

Second, the lever heads would be bare metal, rather than being painted in the lever colour. Some signalmen would make an effort to keep them clean but MR levers wouldn't take much of a polish. Some other companies' levers could be burnished to mirror brightness though.

Third, the slots in which the levers worked were not carried through to the back of the frame casing. In fact the description plates for the levers were fitted in a position where they bridged the two segments of the frame cover (the gap ran along the line fo the slots). Again, St Albans comes to the rescue with a picture (penultimate here http://www.tlr.ltd.uk/sigbox/news/news_2011.eb )

I hope this comes across as helpful. There's some of us here worked in MR boxes and it's good to see your sim emerging... maybe we will get the chance again after a fashion?
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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby John Hinson » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:07 am

Paul_G wrote:Other things I have been looking for are wall mounted phones 1960's, a typical LMR clock, oil / electric lamps (presumably mounted on the back wall

This picture shows both oil and electric lamps - both typical of Midland boxes:
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West Hampstead c1975. Photo: John Hinson

I only ever saw lighting hanging from the roof. In a small box you would have one lamp over the diagram and one over the Train Register desk. The oil lamp in this picture is retained for emergencies but it was uncommon to find both simultaneously. The electric lamps are ordinary bulbs with a shade to deflect glare from the windows.

Larger boxes would have additional lights although signalmen tended to work with few lights lit at night to give a better view of tail lamps etc in the darkness outside.

Reference an earlier comment about yellow flags where colour-lights exist, the use of a yellow flag by signalmen did not come in until (roughly) the 1980s.

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Re: Interesting computer game

Unread postby John Webb » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:12 am

kbarber wrote:A couple of nitpicks if I may... just to get the detail right in what looks like a very good offering.

First, in a Midland box the non-pegging block instruments would be the same full-height articles as the peggers. Some are visible here http://www.tlr.ltd.uk/sigbox/news/news_2012.eb third & subsequent pictures down........ In fact the description plates for the levers were fitted in a position where they bridged the two segments of the frame cover (the gap ran along the line fo the slots). Again, St Albans comes to the rescue with a picture (penultimate here http://www.tlr.ltd.uk/sigbox/news/news_2011.eb )........

Alternatively look on this forum, for 2012 St Albans pics at http://forum.signalbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3819 and 2011 pics at http://forum.signalbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2814 - has the advantage that the pictures are larger than on the St Albans website, and include some pictures that we haven't put on the St Albans website either because they are considered too technical.

And of course you are very welcome to come and visit us and take your own photos as well to assist you. See http://forum.signalbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7357 for the open day dates for the rest of this year. (And thanks to kbarber for the links!)
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