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Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

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

Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby andycarlson » Thu Jun 7, 2012 11:38 am

Hi all,

I'm looking for info (photos ideally) about the route indicating down home signals at Penzance. George Pryer's 1940 diagram shows two - one east of the scissors crossover and one covering the divergence of lines to platforms 3, 4 and the parcels depot. Both are shown on the diagram as having a running signal, call on arm and mechanical route indicator. Both of these signals seem to be rather camera-shy, being out of shot for most of the usual angles for photography at Penzance.

So far the best I've found is an early 70s picture of the back of the one by the scissors showing a tall tubular post with the running signal and call on arm. Below this was a small bracket sticking out to both sides. On the sea side of the bracket was a disc and on the land side is a tall box shaped thing with four compartments. I have no photos of the front of this signal. My best guess is that the box was some sort of route indicator but I have not seen anything similar anywhere else. This photo is undated and the loco and stock could be from either before or after singling of the line from Long Rock.

The only half decent photos I've found of the platform 3 and 4 home signal show the back of it in the 1950s when it had a wooden post. The other nearby signals were replaced by tubular posts in the 60s so it seems reasonable to assume that this one was but I have not found any photos of the 1960s arrangement. A late 70s photo shows no signal at all in this location but that was after the singling of the line from Long Rock, so it may have been removed with the singling or it may have gone earlier.

Any extra info or photos of these signals would be very welcome.

Thanks for your help.

Andy
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Re: Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Sat Jun 9, 2012 11:05 am

Here is a photograph of the Down Main Inner Home taken in 1970 (my records don't show the exact date but I remember going on holiday in Penzance in September of that year). The main line was still double track at that time but by then the scissors crossover had been replaced with two single crossovers. The route indicator was a standard WR lamp stencil type with 4 boxes each showing one of the platform numbers 1 to 4:
http://cbrailways.co.uk/PhotoAlbums/alb ... gnal_a.jpg

When you mention the Platform Starting signals do you mean this one (which was the Platform No.2 Starting Signal, not Home Signal). This was taken in 1973 after the main line had been singled:
http://cbrailways.co.uk/PhotoAlbums/alb ... Signal.jpg

If you would like to see a scan of the original 1938 Locking Sketch blueprint then pleased drop me a pm with an email address that can accept PDFs.
Regards,
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Re: Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby andycarlson » Sat Jun 9, 2012 5:40 pm

Thanks Chris, that's exactly what I was looking for in relation to the signal by the scissors and confirms that it did indeed have an electrical route indicator prior to singling. I'm curious about the meaning of the disc - did this apply to all shunt moves past the signal or was it only used to allow trains into the parcels depot?

I haven't seen any other photos of this type of indicator (either at Penzance or elsewhere). Are there any more close up photos around?

I realise now that my question about the platform 3 and 4 home (not starters) might be a bit unclear. George Pryer's 1940 plan shows it. In that arrangement the home by the scissors had a route indicator covering platforms 1, 2 and continuing along the down main. Trains continuing along the down main reached another route indicating home signal covering platforms 3, 4 and the parcels depot. This was a wooden post job with a mechanical indicator in the 1950s photos.

After I posted my question I found another photo in one of the 'Past and Present' books showing the site of the second signal. This was taken in 1960 and shows that the signal was not present on this date. My initial thought was that the tubular post signal with the 4 way indicator had been installed to take over the roles of both of the indicators on the 1940 diagram, but maybe not...

My son found this photo today...

http://www.cornwallrailwaysociety.org.u ... _orig.jpeg

This shows the three signals by the scissors. The route indicating home is still a wooden post one with the mechanical route indicator, presumably from 1938. The date given is 1964 - i.e. after the second route indicator had disappeared.

So I'm still puzzled about how things worked in 1964. Could a GW mechanical indicator work with both a running and call on arm and cover 5 diverging routes? If not then what was going on? Was the second signal's absence in 1960 just temporary?

Is the date of the photo by the scissors correct? - I thought that Penzance closed to steam in 1962, so would a normal service train be steam hauled in 64?

It would be really useful to know the date when the signal in your photo was installed.

I think I already have your locking blueprint from another posting on this site thanks.

Regards, Andy
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Re: Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Sat Jun 9, 2012 6:41 pm

andycarlson wrote:I haven't seen any close up photos of this type of indicator (either at Penzance or elsewhere). Are there any more close up photos around?

I only ever looked inside one of these once and that was a long time ago so the following is from a fading memory. The former WR style route miniature indicator consisted of a steel box with a perspex screen at the front. Behind this was an orange filter and behind that a perforated plate with holes about 10-15mm in diameter punched out to make up an indication. The illumination was by two pearl 110v SBC lamps. Now then I don't immediately know of any existing samples because the downside of using perspex is that when it is exposed long term to the suns rays it goes white and no indication will be shown. This type of indicator was replaced by a fibre-optic version manufactured by Signal House Ltd and even now most of those replacements have themselves been replaced by Dorman LED indicators due the steel boxes rusting away (which I could show you photographs of :shock: ).

There are a couple of photographs of them on one of our contributors web site here:
http://www.roscalen.com/signals/Swansea/7305/0133.jpg
http://www.roscalen.com/signals/Swansea/7305/0130.jpg

Iv'e got some more recent (post single line) versions of the Penzance Locking Sketch and I will have a look to see what they show.
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Re: Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby roy hart » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:28 am

There were, from 1938, two route indicator down home signals at PZ. They were replaced in 1960 by a tubular steel post carrying an electronic route indicator, together with a calling-on arm and an elevated disc.
Andy's photograph is of interest: it dates from about 1957- can't be 1964. The two bracket signals in the foreground date from 1946 when PZ layout was finally completed. In 1938 both were straight-post signals. The wooden backet on the left formerly stood at the facing points to 'Slopers' siding and was repositioned at the site shown in 1946. The 3-doll bracket was new, allowing backing movements along the up main to the eastern crossover, as well as movements from platforms 3/4 to slopers. The backing arm (together with the eastern crossover) was removed in 1962.
The 1960 route indicator down home (until 1965 it was the inner home) was replaced by a colour light structure in the 1973 alterations which closed Ponsandane and Long Rock.
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Re: Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby andycarlson » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:39 am

Chris and Roy,

Thanks again for the info. The electrical route indicator replacing the two earlier mechanical ones makes much more sense.

I'm still curious about the disc on the 1960 signal. Did it cover all shunt moves past the signal or was it effectively a route indication into the parcels depot? Put another way... why did they use a disc instead of having a 5 way route indicator?

Regards, Andy
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Re: Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby GarthTilt » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:32 pm

Andy, Disc 16 only read to the sidings.
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Re: Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby GarthTilt » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:35 pm

I've just had sight of the notice B1153 for installing the new Down Main Home in 1960. The work was carried out between 27 March and 10 April. Both the existing Down Main Intermediate and Inner Homes were replaced by the new signal, also all existing FPL bars were taken out and FPL locks locked by track circuits. An additional disc was provided on the Down side of the Down Main 24 yds from the Box reading to Sidings or No3 or No4 Line. The double disc at the facing connection to Nos 1 & 2 lines was moved 32 yards further from the Box. The Down Sidings Starting was additionally routed to No 3 or 4 line. Just one new track circuit was installed : DGT.
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Re: Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby Fosse Road » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:17 am

andycarlson wrote:
So I'm still puzzled about how things worked in 1964. Could a GW mechanical indicator work with both a running and call on arm and cover 5 diverging routes? If not then what was going on? Was the second signal's absence in 1960 just temporary?

Regards, Andy


The tubular steel version of the Down Home at Henley on Thames had six routes in a mechanical route indicator - 3 Main and 3 Calling On to each platform. I've got the Reading GA Drawing for it and it shows two 4-way lever plates bolted to the post, each one driving the relevant arm. I'm not sure if a lever plate holding more than four levers was ever made, and the thickness of a wooden post would have restricted the number that could have been used.
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Re: Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby Fosse Road » Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:53 pm

If anyone has got (or can lay their hands on now it's out of print) a copy of the Bradford Barton publication "The Westerns" there's a good photo on page 79 of the rear of the Penzance Home Signal fitted with the electric stencil route indicators. Interestingly, it appears that all the weight levers normally associated with a mechanical route-indicating signal were installed on the ground behind the signal rather than their usual place on the signal post. Presumably the circuitry for the stencil indicators was driven by lever contacts in the box via a GCR for the arm concerned (Main and Calling-On)
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Re: Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby Main Line » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:22 pm

I've just noticed that the 1974 signalling notice shows both of these signals surviving the scheme but 1981 notice (which removed all of the remaining semaphores) shows the colour light 3/4/12/14 to be an existing signal so was this colour light actually installed at some time between the two schemes?
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Re: Penzance Route Indicating Signals 1960-74

Unread postby GarthTilt » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:31 pm

The Down main Inner Home was renewed in colour light form on 21/22 November 1976. (notice 43/W.2728). The work had been postponed from 31 Oct/1 Nov and 7/8 Nov 1976.
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