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Vague Willesden Panels

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

Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby Andy Overton » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:46 am

I am trying to establish whether there really are / were signalling panels in the following three boxes. They have been recorded in the editions of the Signalbox Directory but no details given. Depending on the source of information, entries therein are not always accurate.

So, we have Willesden Brent Sidings, Carriage Shed Middle and Carriage Shed North.

Having seen photos of North I can't work out where a panel is supposed to be there. Middle has an odd free-standing pedestal which might vaguely be a Gresty Lane product inside, in addition to the frame, but it's not obviously a signalling panel. I have seen no photos inside Brent Sidings.

Is anyone familiar with these boxes?
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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby John Hinson » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:12 pm

I have been in private correspondence with Andy about this already, and couldn't help a lot despite working on the area for years owing to my allergy to all things power operated plus a cunning plot to avoid actually working any of the so-called shunting frames in the area.

However, this is the picture I sent Andy of the inside of Carriage Shed North - this was taken when I was training Wembley Yard box in the 1990s (always made the best use of a walkabout!):
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However, looking into my various sketches of the layout, it appears the additional switches were added w/e/f 11th July 1965 when the new signalling on the main line was introduced. This controlled the access from the Up Slow into the Carriage Sidings and the 8 Reception Roads for Sudbury Hump. The switches were numbered 51-62 (signals) and 71-81 (points).

Some additional switches were added in 1983 in connection with a new carriage shed, the numbering was then 51-65 and 71-84.

However, when Wembley Yard opened some substantial changes would have been made to reach the situation in the photograph. Most of the area controlled by these switches was taken over by the new box, leaving only a few slots and the above-mentioned carriage shed.

Therefore, my initial thought that the switches weren't visible in the picture could be wrong - the box to the left of the diagram may well be the guilty party, with all but a few of the switches removed.

If WembYard is tuned in at the moment, I'm sure we will get a definitive answer on this and probably on the other questions.

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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby Andy Overton » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:24 pm

Yes, I wondered about that guilty-looking box. Not a 'panel' but then the term wasn't defined. That would be an IFS Unit. If anyone can confirm that the 'panel is indeed that box of switches that would do nicely.

I have to say the box looks rather modern, which suggests it replaced the 1965 arrangement. The SBD currently records it dating from 1985. If this is the date of the Wembley changes can anyone supply a precise date, as this is probably the date of the present IFS Unit?
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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby kbarber » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:58 pm

Andy Overton wrote:I am trying to establish whether there really are / were signalling panels in the following three boxes. They have been recorded in the editions of the Signalbox Directory but no details given. Depending on the source of information, entries therein are not always accurate.

So, we have Willesden Brent Sidings, Carriage Shed Middle and Carriage Shed North.


Brent Sidings acquired an IFS unit working the crossovers between the arrival & departure roads, PL shunt signals and no track circuits(! - yes, the inevitable did happen!), in (IIRC) early 1983. The rump of the frame continued to operate the connections at Sudbury South End (but not the points in the Low Level Goods, which were the provice of the PSB).
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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby John Hinson » Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:14 pm

Andy Overton wrote:Yes, I wondered about that guilty-looking box. Not a 'panel' but then the term wasn't defined. That would be an IFS Unit. If anyone can confirm that the 'panel is indeed that box of switches that would do nicely.

I have to say the box looks rather modern, which suggests it replaced the 1965 arrangement. The SBD currently records it dating from 1985. If this is the date of the Wembley changes can anyone supply a precise date, as this is probably the date of the present IFS Unit?


I think we may be getting confused here between Carriage Shed South and Carriage Shed Middle? My picture and the aforementioned "guilty party" are the North box which dates from 1953.

The Middle box was rebuilt with a new shell in place of the old one, floor and frame were untouched. As such, I would class that as a rebuild rather than a new box. That was done in August 1998 . . . I woz there - and for once in my life I wrote the date down! The panel here is free-standing and I haven't a clue what it controls, or how. There is no physical relation between this box and Wembley Yard (apart from a curious siding between the box and its yard, designed to shock the Wembley Yard signalmen when the Carriage crowd go out on exploration with a dobbin to polish the rails). I think it is more likely it gained that panel when the new carriage shed went in during 1983.

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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby Pete2320 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:35 pm

There appears to be something peculiar about the frame in the picture, in particular its cover plates (or possibly lack of). Maybe just a peculiar paint job. Any thoughts
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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby MRFS » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:04 am

I looked at that and thought 'something squishy to stop the draughts' : the reverse lever seems to have the (potentially) squishy 'thing' slightly distorted??

If so, very clever, neater and less labour intensive than carpet! It would seal without being replaced.
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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby Natalie » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:08 am

Hi
I have quite a lot of photos of the scheme plans dealing with the Willesden and Wembley Yard area but I'm off back to bed as I need to be up at 5.15am for another long day. I'm not going to be able to answer properly until Sunday I'm sorry.

I did visit Willesden Carriage Shed North, Middle and South, and High Level Sidings boxes during 1991 and have some pics on my fotopic site http://nataliejones.fpic.co.uk/c51798_1.html which include interior shots of the above. I remember that the CS boxes had IFS switch panels for extensions involved in remodelling the carriage sheds- I think it was in relation to the new carriage shed facilities during the 1980s- I have copies of the scheme plans dealing with the construction of this showing the old and new layouts at North, Middle and South. Middle box when I visited was essentially a shunt frame/points cabin with only one or two connections worked by the frame. The rest of its connections were worked by switches. Finally as I must get back to bed the attachments to the frames looked like draught excluders that you could fit to your letter box!

Regarding the 'odd standing pedestal' don't forget that Middle supervised a level crossing over the entrance to the new carriage maintenance shed- maybe t is the operating unit for that?

I shall have a look on Sunday for the info if that is OK?
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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby John Hinson » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:43 am

MRFS wrote:I looked at that and thought 'something squishy to stop the draughts' : the reverse lever seems to have the (potentially) squishy 'thing' slightly distorted??

If so, very clever, neater and less labour intensive than carpet! It would seal without being replaced.

Yes indeed, draught-excluders for namby-pamby signalmen.

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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby Andy Overton » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:59 am

Natalie wrote:[I shall have a look on Sunday for the info if that is OK?


Yes, that would be great, thanks.

I've looked at the photos on your website which have been really helpful. I've managed to identify equipment and makers from them. It is clear from the photo of the IFS Unit at Carriage Shed North that this is a replacement as its style is rather modern.

If dates are available for introduction of any if the IFS Units at Brent, North and South that would be great. The best I have in most cases is a year. I suspect you are right that the 'panel' at Middle is more likely a LC control unit of some kind, which would explain why it is away from the frame and diagram and next to the window.

I notice also that your photo of the IFS Unit at North is quite different to that which John suspects might be the IFS Unit in his. So, either it was further replaced or it had gone by the time of John's photo later in the 90s and his is a red-herring.
Last edited by Andy Overton on Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby John Hinson » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:39 am

Andy Overton wrote:I notice also that your photo of the IFS Unit at North is quite different to that which John suspects might be the IFS Unit in his. So, either it was further replaced or it had gone by the time of John's photo later in the 90s and that box of his is a red-herring.

Yes, interesting that.

Something must have replaced that console, whether it is "my" box of tricks or not - but I notice it occupies the same position on the shelf. Its replacement date would therefore presumably match the opening of Wembley Yard cabin in November 1993 as that is when 90% of its functionality went and changes would have been made to what was left. The other possibility is that since 1993 there have been no switch functions but I really can't visualise a 1993 scheme moving things to a mechanical frame - shock horror!

The one in Natalie's pictures dates from 11/7/65 when Carriage North took over functions of Sudbury Junction.

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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby Richard Pike » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:42 am

Carriage Shed Middle does contain some sort of switch panel for control of 70 and 71 points.

http://richard2890.fotopic.net/p63774580.html
Last edited by Richard Pike on Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby Andy Overton » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:45 am

John,

Are you absolutely sure that the one in Natalie's photo dates from 1965? That's one of the things I'm getting at, it looks too modern to me and you can see a few NX style push-buttons on it for cancelling alarms or whatnot, and these are of the large, chunky Swisstac type which were not made until the mid-80s. So I rather suspect that it is NOT the 1965 one, that having been replaced in the mid-80s, which would tally with the 1985 date currently in the SBD.
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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby John Hinson » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:12 pm

Andy Overton wrote:John,

Are you absolutely sure that the one in Natalie's photo dates from 1965? That's one of the things I'm getting at, it looks too modern to me and you can see a few NX style push-buttons on it for cancelling alarms or whatnot, and these are of the large, chunky Swisstac type which were not made until the mid-80s. So I rather suspect that it is NOT the 1965 one, that having been replaced in the mid-80s, which would tally with the 1985 date currently in the SBD.

No, I can't say for certain, you know more than me about this equipment - if it had been replaced at some time it must surely date from 1983 when the new carriage shed came into use and additional switches were needed.

So the box has apparently had three different switch consoles since electrification?

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Re: Vague Willesden Panels

Unread postby Andy Overton » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:51 pm

It could well be 1983, the SBD isn't always accurate. You would expect there to have been some sort of event to justify replacement and if there was nothing in 1985 then 1983 seems more likely.

Yes, I make it 3 IFS Units since electrification. I am finding odd examples like this as I start to dig. It's only when you compare photos that you suddenly find, 'hang on, that's not the same one'!
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