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Single Needle Instruments on the GN

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

Re: Single Needle Instruments on the GN

Unread postby Pete2320 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:14 pm

John Hinson wrote:
StevieG wrote:Over the years one or two late BR era 'GE' men have mentioned to me that, on that former company's lines, they believe that though once in their boxes, they understood that they tended to last in use a lot longer in booking offices, but couldn't say until when, or to what purpose (messages for Station Masters perhaps?).

Likewise on the LNW it seems, although the only one I knew of was in the station at Windermere up to the early sixties.

I would suspect much use was for local freight advice when only local telephone circuits existed.

John

Certainly a fair amount of telegraph traffic was in connection with freight traffic and of no relevance to signalmen. As mentioned upthread, at Letchworth we still passed on telegrams for the goods/parcels yard although this was all done on the telephone in my days there, c1975. Given that until about then, when it became a fringe box to Hitchin PSB, Letchworth was often switched out I presume the yard had once had its' own instrument but for some reason had not been connected to the relevant telephone circuit. It does seem likely then that in some areas telegraph was still used by stations when it had gone from signalboxes. (I wonder if telegragh instruments counted as "equipment value" for grading signalboxes?) I am also concious that there might be a red herring lurking here. Certainly in Hull (for example and many other places) there was a Telegraph Office. I'm pretty certain it did not have any single needle equipment although it may well have had teleprinters.
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Re: Single Needle Instruments on the GN

Unread postby StevieG » Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:13 am

Pete2320 wrote: " .... (I wonder if telegragh instruments counted as "equipment value" for grading signalboxes?) .... "
Where they were used for necessary box - box messages regarding train running, particularly if assisting regulating, it would seem logical that they would have had value under the Marks System, though perhaps per message sent or read rather than just the presence of the instruments; but I really don't know whether there was any Marks value in reality for such instruments or messages.

Pete2320 wrote: " .... I am also concious that there might be a red herring lurking here. Certainly in Hull (for example and many other places) there was a Telegraph Office. I'm pretty certain it did not have any single needle equipment although it may well have had teleprinters. "
It would seem perhaps Pete, that such as Hull possibly gained their title from having once functioned, even if only in part at least, by means of the single needle (or earlier?) form of telegraph, and their name remained unaltered when S/N was superseded by more modern communication means.
However, sometimes the office title was retained when the more modern equivalent establishment had moved to a new location.
Certainly on the WCML, the 'Britain's New Railway'-era 'Telegraph Offices' located within the 1960s PSB buildings at Rugby (which amongst other work, put passing times of Up passenger trains there onto the Area Controller's desk teleprinters in boxes further south) and Euston, almost certainly never saw working S/N, instead largely or entirely using the LMR's then pre-NTN teleprinter network, then known as STRAD (sorry, I don't recall what that stood for).
BZOH

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Re: Single Needle Instruments on the GN

Unread postby Mackay » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:56 pm

The pioneer NER "Marks" system of 1898 included "Receipt of a train message on speaking instrument" equivalent to 1 lever movement, and despatch of the same equivalent to 2 movements. By 1922 the national marks system included 3 marks for "Telegraph or telephone message received". The LYR Signalling School folks at the NRM (ably led by Phil Graham) are hoping to arrange some electric telegraph demonstrations this year. Should be well worth seeing (and hearing...).
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Re: Single Needle Instruments on the GN

Unread postby Poldark Mine » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:34 am

We have two GNR single needle telegraphs from Kings Cross in our museum. These came from the BT former GPO museum. They were purchased at a sale in Kings Cross stables for ten shillings each and given to the museum by the buyer. To see one of these, do look at our facebook pages.
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Re: Single Needle Instruments on the GN

Unread postby John Hinson » Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:19 am

A link to your facebook pages might be useful!

There were three (from memory) conventional SN instruments in the box at Kings Cross but I believe the Telegraph Office at the piano-key type. I would be interested to know which type yours are.

If they were bought in old money I am puzzled, as both locations were still using them at decimalisation time.

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Re: Single Needle Instruments on the GN

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:55 am

Poldark Mine wrote:We have two GNR single needle telegraphs from Kings Cross in our museum. These came from the BT former GPO museum. They were purchased at a sale in Kings Cross stables for ten shillings each and given to the museum by the buyer. To see one of these, do look at our facebook pages.


Why would GNR signalling telegraphs be appropriate to a BT/GPO museum - surely they were supplied/maintained by the railway company? Would we be talking about instruments used for non-signalling purposes, allowing the station offices to communicate externally on commercial matters?
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Re: Single Needle Instruments on the GN

Unread postby StevieG » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:10 pm

Mike Hodgson wrote:
Poldark Mine wrote:We have two GNR single needle telegraphs from Kings Cross in our museum. These came from the BT former GPO museum. They were purchased at a sale in Kings Cross stables for ten shillings each and given to the museum by the buyer. To see one of these, do look at our facebook pages.


Why would GNR signalling telegraphs be appropriate to a BT/GPO museum - surely they were supplied/maintained by the railway company? Would we be talking about instruments used for non-signalling purposes, allowing the station offices to communicate externally on commercial matters?
If the instruments were GNR 'signalling' items, and/or were otherwise not appropriate to former GPO use, I wonder if the BT museum could not obtain any of their historically correct former instrumentation, and that these were the best that they could get by which to at least display evidence of (/demonstrate?) the basics of a means of communication which the GPO once provided ?
BZOH

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Re: Single Needle Instruments on the GN

Unread postby JRB » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:17 pm

Remember that the GPO were once responsible for much railway telegraphy. The practice survived in Ireland after it finished here. The 'GPO' (now the P&T) even maintained the block instruments.
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Re: Single Needle Instruments on the GN

Unread postby John Hinson » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:43 am

Mike Hodgson wrote:Why would GNR signalling telegraphs be appropriate to a BT/GPO museum - surely they were supplied/maintained by the railway company?

I have seen similar in another telephone museum - I think in relative terms ex-railway telegraph instruments are easy to obtain to represent early telegraph communication. That being said, the "expert" at said museum looked at me as if I was a dinosaur when I told him I used to operate them!

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Re: Single Needle Instruments on the GN

Unread postby Poldark Mine » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:28 am

Not sure about the date of the purchase at Kings X as we were advised about this by the person who bought them and donated them to the BT Museum, we were told it was 10 shillings - decimal day was Feb 15 1971. Many continued to consider 50p as ten shillings ..... even today we sometimes do here when giving change to older folk who remember!! One of the pair has the original BR code card with for various locations on the former GNR system a quick search will go to our facebook page but here is a link. https://www.facebook.com/Poldark-Mine-357106725300/ using the search facility on our facebook page will locate all of the postings, or scroll down. The BT museum is long closed, we have the items here in our Poldark Mine Museum "Techno Tin & Copper" section as they are part of telecoms history which would not have been possible without the use of tin and copper being our theme.
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Re: Single Needle Instruments on the GN

Unread postby Poldark Mine » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:00 am

JRB wrote:Remember that the GPO were once responsible for much railway telegraphy. The practice survived in Ireland after it finished here. The 'GPO' (now the P&T) even maintained the block instruments.
- The Irish P&T maintained the railway telegraphy from a non rail building in Dublin which was in Exchequer Street and once owned by the National Telephone Company until 1912, I visited the building during the mid 1960s and saw a workshop with many railway instruments. All trunk routes were open wire aerial lines which were, with few exceptions, notably the Dublin-Belfast route, run alongside the railways since the Post Office had free wayleave rights under the various agreements with the Irish Railway Companies, they also maintained the telegraph equipment.
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