Paul_G wrote: " Hi folks
Forgive me for picking your brains once again.
In the signalling module of "The Railway" simulator I have placed a box in/out switch. and am progressing quite well with enabling the box to be either........
"Auto" ( fully automatic recieving and sending bell codes and operating the main signal)
"Manual" ( you will recieve bellcodes from "Auto" boxes either side but tap in your own bellcodes and pull your own signals )
For programming reasons it would be better for the box to be Auto by default and then once switched in becomes manual. .... "
Paul,Most of what I write below is based on the assumption that you are talking about a box switching out which operates the 'traditional' Absolute Block Regulations system, on a double-track route.
If I am wrong on the Absolute Block assumption, please refer to my last main paragraph.
- [ Signal boxes controlling single line routes are affected by some rather different factors and have different equipments, and for those which can switch-out, the switching out procedure involves very different switch-out facilities : I'm sorry that I am not well acquainted with such installations.]
I effectively know nothing of railway simulations so I am not necessarily clear on specific detailed meaning of some of your phrasing (such as a Box in OUT status, receiving and sending bell codes), but will try to answer at least some of the points of your query
Paul G wrote: " .... So my question(s) are
Switching boxes in /out in a rural location quite normal practice ?
At many, but not all, 'Yes', provided that such boxes do have a 'Block Switch'.
Paul G wrote: " .... When switching a box out would it be normal to put all the main signals to "OFF" then switch out ? .... "
Whilst historically this would have been physically possible where the box's last stop signal on each line could be pulled to 'Off' at any time - Only the Rules & Regulations stated when this should or should not be done (no electric locking of the signal, released by the advance (=ahead) section Block Instrument being at 'Line Clear') : Any remaining such no lock/always free situations on Absolute Block passenger lines, if any, would now be quite rare - Might also still be a few on the now rare running lines worked by Permissive Block Regs.)
, the Block Regulations required the switching out bell-code and switch operation to be complete before pulling the running signals to 'Off' (= 'Clear) : Where a box's last stop signal(s) are
'released by the Block' the clearing of the signals to 'Off' has to typically be done during the switch-out bell procedure, with 'turning' the Switch to 'Out' being the last action of all.
Paul G wrote: " .... I presume when switched out the Block instruments would be bypassed so as to be "Blocked" ? .... "
... if you mean as in the 'Blocks' would be left showing (depending on age/type/installing organisation's stipulation) "Normal" or "Line Blocked" all the time, then Yes.
And the signals cease to have any role in protecting a Block Section or keeping trains apart.
Paul G wrote: " .... If my thinking is correct in the game ATM you would enter a box that is fully auto and the box switch is set to OUT.
(this wouldn't strictly be correct as all the signals and codes would be working by auto)
But it does enable "spectator" mode to watch/ learn the box operation.
The player could then switch the box IN and it becomes manual.. and he operates the box himself
Switching the box OUT would revert it to "Auto"
This would be a two mode system. Auto, Manual.... "
I don't understand "ATM", but I think the answer is Yes :
Except possibly; how would anyone 'learn the operation of a box' when, if prototypical for a box that is currently switched-out, no signal controls, bells or block instruments operate/are operated?
Paul G wrote:" .... If I go for a three mode System....
Switched IN... Manual
Switched OUT.... everything Bypasses the box
In the switched out state, I am presuming this is when all signals would be off as mentioned above ?
The problem would be getting from Auto state to OUT then IN
I think I have answered my own question about 2/3 mode but what do you guys think ?
Paul G "
From what I have quoted from you below my previous comment, I am a bit unsure about what you're describing; e.g. what the difference is between your "Auto" and "Switched OUT - everything bypasses the box".
My comments above assume the possible states of a real box, which can be either in-switch (or 'is switched in') or out-of-switch ('switched out') : 'In' seems obviously to accord with your 'Manual'; When switched out, all signal controls for through running are set to have the signals 'Off' and the bell and Block circuits to the box on each side are connected together and the bells and 'Blocks' in the switched out box are inactive : So that in the typical principles training example of boxes designated A, B, and C, it is then as if Box B does not exist (is completely bypassed) until switched back in again, and the Block Section (to which the standard principle 'only one train, in one section, at any one time' applies)
is then A to C.Incidentally as to the indications displayed by the signals themselves while the box is 'out', mechanically-worked signals will just remain showing 'Clear' at all times : Electrically-worked signals (motor-worked semaphores, or colour-light signals), depending on considerations which might vary according to regional/area practice, may do the same; or, if normally, when the box is 'In', are also governed by any track circuit(s) beyond them, when the box is 'Out', they may still change to their most restrictive indication when a train occupies that track circuit(s), but then resume being 'Clear' when said track circuit(s) are again clear.
One additional possibility regarding the actual Block Switch; depending on pre-BR company / BR Region/area practices / preferences, or local circumstances; some boxes, rather than their Block Switch having just IN / OUT positions, had (/may still have) 3-position switches.
A 3-position Switch's IN and OUT positions have exactly the same effect as 2-position Switches, but the third position (I believe, usually termed 'Intermediate' or similar) eases the switching-in process. :-
- An Absolute box is normally only allowed to switch out when all sections to the boxes on either side have neither a train signalled (Block Indicator showing 'Line Clear') nor in-section (Block Indicator showing 'Train On Line' or equivalent), so the 'Blocks' should be at 'Normal' or 'Line Blocked'.
Referring back to the boxes A - B - C example, with Box B switched out, B is not normally permitted to switch in while any Box A - Box C 'Block' is at 'Line Clear', but can do when the A - C sections are either at 'Normal'/'Line Blocked', or have a train in section, so the relevant Block indicator(s) would be at 'Train On Line' or equivalent (in which case when switching in, the signals for the occupied section(s) must be left 'Off' until either the train passes or 'Train Out Of Section bell-code is received from the box in advance.)[/i].
So, for a signalman at B to switch-in, and remembering that initially all the Block indicators in the switched-out box (B) will at this stage be inactive, the signalman needs to find out if/when he/she can switch-in by finding out the state of the Block sections.
With a 2-position Block Switch this can realistically only be ascertained by telephoning Box A or C : But a 3-position Switch's 'Intermediate' position, while not allowing the signalman wanting to switch in at B to influence/alter the state of the A-C Section's instrumentation, it does allow him/her to see the A-C Section's indications repeated on his own Block Instruments' advance sections' indicators, and so can straight away see for him/herself when the status of the A-C Sections permits the box to be switched in.
If you are interested in the 'switching out' of a Box not involving Absolute (or Permissive) Block; the likely other example situation would be boxes on fully track-circuited lines typically operating running signals which are only of colour-light type, and operating to the Track Circuit Block Regulations.
This sort of arrangement has also existed, but with increasing numbers of instances of concentrated centralisation of signalling control/supervision on large control centres over the last 50 years, I think it doubtful that any such installations still exist.
When unmanned(/'switched out'), these boxes' signals would be left set to continue to function automatically with the passage of each train, protecting the section ahead and thus keeping trains apart [is this what you mean by your 'AUTO'?]
: For purposes of applying certain parts of the TCB Regulations and rules in particular problem situations, the signals controlled by the box when it was manned(/'switched in') were, officially, differently identified as Semi-Automatic (and their I.D. plates additionally bore the word "SEMI").
I hope at least some of this epistle is of help/interest, Paul_G : And I stand ready for others to expand, correct, or clarify what I have written.