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Worked Distants on Crossing Loop

British signalling of the past (UK, excepting Northern Ireland)

Worked Distants on Crossing Loop

Unread postby Distant1 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:14 am

Hi all

Looking at the Welshpool Diagram the distants are worked. Most crossing loops the distant seem to be at Fixed. Is there are policy or a theme why some distants at crossing loops were worked & others were Fixed?

Also was Welshpool distants worked until closure of the signal box?

Regards

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Re: Worked Distants on Crossing Loop

Unread postby John Hinson » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:18 am

Distant1 wrote:Looking at the Welshpool Diagram the distants are worked. Most crossing loops the distant seem to be at Fixed. Is there are policy or a theme why some distants at crossing loops were worked & others were Fixed?

Also was Welshpool distants worked until closure of the signal box?


Hi Gavan,

The WR's policy was to provide fixed distants anywhere where the line speed was below a certain level, which included most crossing loops because trains had to slow to change tokens. However, at Welshpool there was automatic exchanging equipment, meaning that trains could pass through at greater speed.

I'm not sure about the distants' survival - some Cambrian boxes received reflectorised distants before the boxes went.

Hope this helps,

John
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Re: Worked Distants on Crossing Loop

Unread postby Alan Roberts » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:51 am

signalman wrote:
Distant1 wrote:Looking at the Welshpool Diagram the distants are worked. Most crossing loops the distant seem to be at Fixed. Is there are policy or a theme why some distants at crossing loops were worked & others were Fixed?

Also was Welshpool distants worked until closure of the signal box?


Hi Gavan,

The WR's policy was to provide fixed distants anywhere where the line speed was below a certain level, which included most crossing loops because trains had to slow to change tokens. However, at Welshpool there was automatic exchanging equipment, meaning that trains could pass through at greater speed.

I'm not sure about the distants' survival - some Cambrian boxes received reflectorised distants before the boxes went.

Hope this helps,

John


Very interesting subject - over here in North Wales in LNWR territory most crossing loops had a working distant each way. The last to go was at Llanrwst in 1989 when both working distants made way to relectorised distant boards.

Alan


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Unread postby Alan Norris » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:35 am

Up in Scotland semaphore distants were used on both the West Highland and Callander & Oban lines. I think they survived until RETB.

How often they were actually used is another matter.........

On the Highland main line distants still exist at the loops - they are colour light now of course. I expect Aberdeen - Inverness is the same.
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Re: Worked Distants on Crossing Loop

Unread postby flyingsignalman » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:27 pm

Distant1 wrote:Hi all

Looking at the Welshpool Diagram the distants are worked. Most crossing loops the distant seem to be at Fixed. Is there are policy or a theme why some distants at crossing loops were worked & others were Fixed?

Also was Welshpool distants worked until closure of the signal box?

Regards

Gavan


Welshpool box was formerly on a double line section from Buttington Jcn to Forden. Buttington Jcn to Buttington Crossing was made two single lines and a new box provided at Buttington Crossing.
The double line was singled as part of the rationalisation of the Cambrian in the mid to late 1960's after the line from Whitchurch closed (in January 1965). Buttington Crossing was downgraded to a crossing box (the SRS GW signal box register has this as occurring on 8.10.1967), Welshpool was made a passing point and Forden was abolished.
My copy of the register doesn't have a date for the abolition of Forden but I imagine it would have been around the same time.
The distants were worked when the line was double through Welshpool and this maybe why they were retained by the LMR after singling.
I think the distants were replaced by reflectorised distant boards before the line was resignalled for RETB.

At Sandycroft on the Chester and Holyhead, the down slow distant was fixed at caution after the down slow from Sandycroft towards Connah's Quay was taken out of use. It was made a worked distant when converted to a colour light. I queried this with a S&T manager and was told it was the policy for distants to be worked irrespective of speed restrictions so that the drivers had a better indication of the signals ahead of him and did not become accustomed to the distant being at caution and the stop signals being clear.
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Re: Worked Distants on Crossing Loop

Unread postby ferroequine » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:53 am

signalman wrote:
Distant1 wrote:Looking at the Welshpool Diagram the distants are worked. Most crossing loops the distant seem to be at Fixed. Is there are policy or a theme why some distants at crossing loops were worked & others were Fixed?

Also was Welshpool distants worked until closure of the signal box?


Hi Gavan,

The WR's policy was to provide fixed distants anywhere where the line speed was below a certain level, which included most crossing loops because trains had to slow to change tokens. However, at Welshpool there was automatic exchanging equipment, meaning that trains could pass through at greater speed.

I'm not sure about the distants' survival - some Cambrian boxes received reflectorised distants before the boxes went.

Hope this helps,

John


The speed was 15 mph and it was GWR practice to fix the distant at caution if such a restriction of speed (or lower) applierd between the stop signals to which the distant applied.

The WR revised the arrangement in late 1958 to remove it except - at that time (possibly changed later?) - at crossing places on single lines where it remained the practice.
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Unread postby flyingsignalman » Mon May 25, 2009 7:26 am

If anyone is passing the Cambrian Railways Trust operation at Llynclys there is, in the waiting room, an undated diagram from Welshpool that appears to date from when the line was singled (ie not as rationalised as John's).
I took some photos but my computer, like most of my stuff, is in storage so unfortunately I can't post them.
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Unread postby Peter Jordan » Mon May 25, 2009 2:09 pm

Sorry, but I think Mr. Hinson's description of 'automatic token enxchanging equipment' at Welshpool is a little misleading.

The 'Cambrian' line, along with many other GW single lines, was equipped with lineside apparatus to allow train crews to deposit and pick up tokens, but this still had to be done by hand and involved a speed restriction (more often honoured in the breach than the observance by horny-handed Firemen.)

The only GW single lines to be equipped with true automatic exchanging equipment for tokens were the Minehead and Barnstaple branches, which used Whitaker's apparatus (as provided on the Somerset & Dorset). This was installed after a scheme to equip both lines with single line 'lock & block' signalling (a la Malvern Wells to Ledbury) proved too costly to implement in view of the seasonal nature of the traffic 'peaks.' On both the Minehead and Barnstaple lines the crossing places had working distant signals.

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Unread postby John Hinson » Mon May 25, 2009 2:20 pm

Peter Jordan wrote:Sorry, but I think Mr. Hinson's description of 'automatic token enxchanging equipment' at Welshpool is a little misleading.

Sorry - no intention to confuse, I meant non-manual exchanges.

It took you seven months to correct me on this??

John
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Unread postby Chris Osment » Mon May 25, 2009 6:07 pm

The only GW single lines to be equipped with true automatic exchanging equipment for tokens were the Minehead and Barnstaple branches........this was installed after a scheme to equip both lines with single line 'lock & block' signalling .......proved too costly to implement in view of the seasonal nature of the traffic 'peaks.'


By coincidence, only last week I was looking at some notes on the subject from Mike Christensen. He comments that the 'lock &block' idea was "killed off by the wholly impractical safeguards that the MoT Inspectors wanted, such a over-run trap-points at each end of every crossing-loop". It seems ironic then that most, but not all, of the loops actually did get facing trap-points at their exits, thereby enabling trains to be admitted at both ends simultaneously.

Mike also wrote than another alternative investigated was an American-style CTC system and that this got as far as the contractors preparing drawings for the face of the CTC panel at Dulverton - now that I would love to have seen!!!
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Unread postby MRFS » Mon May 25, 2009 8:48 pm

Chris Osment wrote:Mike also wrote than another alternative investigated was an American-style CTC system and that this got as far as the contractors preparing drawings for the face of the CTC panel at Dulverton - now that I would love to have seen!!!


When was this - before or after 9/12/32? Were the contractors Westinghouse? How do the dates relate to the Westinghouse signals provided at Newton Abbot?

Back on topic - what was the situation with the LMS (other than the ex-LNWR) lines with working distants on single lines? I meant to ask this at the time....
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Unread postby John Webb » Mon May 25, 2009 9:53 pm

My recently acquired copy of Robert Hendry's 'BR Signalling Development in Colour' has pictures of Rannoch's signal diagram and lever frame which show the passing loop there had working distants until RETB came along.
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Unread postby John Hinson » Tue May 26, 2009 3:24 am

I think people are looking for rigid standards where they do not exist. The Western Region did indeed have clearly specified guidelines for provision of working or fixed distants which it seems they followed implicitly unless there were exceptional reasons to not do so.

Elsewhere, signals were (and are) worked or fixed as was felt appropriate. Obviously the majority were worked in early days and in many cases they continued to be so. Reasons to make them fixed were plentiful - ranging through line speed, sighting/visibility, traffic levels and types and even complicated slotting or wiring arrangements that just didn't justify keeping the signal operative.

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Unread postby Puro_pt » Tue May 26, 2009 9:04 am

John Webb wrote:My recently acquired copy of Robert Hendry's 'BR Signalling Development in Colour' has pictures of Rannoch's signal diagram and lever frame which show the passing loop there had working distants until RETB came along.


I remember reading in the Sig. Record, that the highlands where anything but standart.

I may be wrong but i seem to recall that distants in the highland lines could be cleared with the starter closed... if not this it was another non standart practice
Regards

Hugo L.
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Re: Worked Distants on Crossing Loop

Unread postby GarthTilt » Thu Feb 9, 2017 6:19 pm

After the abolition of Manorowen SB in 1958 the single line from Fishguard & Goodwick was extended to Letterston Junction and worked by EKT. Letterston Junction to Clarbeston Road was double line with intermediate boxes at Mathry Road and Treffgarne. After the closure of the intermediate boxes both Up and Down Distants remained worked. Then in 1971 the line to Clarbeston Road was singled but the Distants remained worked. In 1972 the old box was replaced by a standard WR prefabricated structure second hand from West Drayton West. Both Distants remained worked but as the new box could switch out the Up Distant could only be used when switched out. So the Down Distant could be off whether the box was in or out. The box was only open on a middle turn during the day. occasionally it might be open at other times for engineering work. The late John Morris was on duty one night when the Down Boat Train from Paddington approached the box when suddenly the crew saw the lights on in the box. The cab light came on, catherine wheels emitted from the class 47's wheels as they belatedly checked the token! The Distant on would have warned the driver earlier.
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