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Exeter Goods Yard Box

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

Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:33 pm

I have often wondered about the working of the Exeter goods lines in relation to Red Cow crossing. Exeter Goods Yard box only had one gate on the Exwick side so would Middle box have to close their gates to stop any road traffic from their side when trains are using the goods lines? Likewise when Middle box closed their gates for movements over the main lines did the accumulated traffic on the Exwick side prevent movements over the goods lines? Also how was road traffic controlled when movements took place on the unsignalled sidings over Red Cow crossing?
It also appears that Goods Yard box had no distants fixed of otherwise. Presumably trains were checked at West and Riverside coupled with a speed restriction.
Finally was Goods Yard box a full block post or a crossing box with crossing instrument,the block therefore being West-Riverside?
I have asked many signalman and fellow railwaymen past and present and none can give an answer so any help would be much appreciated.
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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Danny252 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:42 am

Gary the Guard wrote: It also appears that Goods Yard box had no distants fixed of otherwise. Presumably trains were checked at West and Riverside coupled with a speed restriction.

Were distants required on permissive goods lines? I have a suspicion that they weren't.
Finally was Goods Yard box a full block post or a crossing box with crossing instrument,the block therefore being West-Riverside?

At least in the era that the preserved West box simulates (ca. 1960), Goods Box was a block post.
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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:47 am

Thanks for the reply. So we're it's only two signals 1&5 locked by the block requiring line clear release?
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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Danny252 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:34 am

The lines were Permissive Goods with bells only to West Box, and I'd imagine the same to Riverside, so no block instruments or line clear releases.
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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby John Hinson » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:12 pm

Danny252 wrote:The lines were Permissive Goods with bells only to West Box, and I'd imagine the same to Riverside, so no block instruments or line clear releases.

Interior view here showing no white bands on levers and block bells only for signalling:
http://shop.studio433.co.uk/index.php?r ... uct_id=520
(Click on the image to enlarge it).

Wouldn't that be classed as "No Block" working rather than Permissive?

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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:42 pm

John Hinson wrote:
Wouldn't that be classed as "No Block" working rather than Permissive?

John


That would matter to the signalmen concerned, but I wonder whether the reason Gary failed to get an answer from former colleagues may be that it made little difference to the train crews. Under permissive the driver might be told how many were in front of him, but would it affect the duties of a Guard in any way?
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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Chris Osment » Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:06 pm

It's all a l-o-n-g time ago now, but having spent many hours 'loitering' around Red Cow crossing etc in years past, IIRC there was no obvious correlation between the working of the gate at EGY and the gates/barriers controlled by Exeter Middle. I believe that it was not unknown for vehicles to be 'trapped' between the Main and Goods lines on occasions.
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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Danny252 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:38 pm

John Hinson wrote:Wouldn't that be classed as "No Block" working rather than Permissive?

The box instructions on display in the 'box consider it to be "worked in accordance with modified Regulations for Train Signalling by the Permissive Block System", with the modifications being "Block bells only are provided between this signal box and Exeter Goods Yard and are to be employed for description purposes only. The 'Train Out of Section' bell signal will not be sent or received on these lines".

Whether the line was classed as something else from a train crew's point of view (and was shown as such in e.g. the sectional appendix), I don't know - being the WR, it's quite possible that what was classed as "No Block" elsewhere was referred to differently.
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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby John Hinson » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:26 pm

Interesting! As I had to go upstairs for another purpose I thought I would take a look at the 1960 Sectional Appendix.

The first problem I came across was that, unbelievably, the Goods Lines are not listed in Table "A" and there is no mention there of Goods Yard or Riverside boxes there.

But the answer is deeper within:
TABLE B
LINES WORKED UNDER THE PERMISSIVE BLOCK SYSTEM
The following is a list of lines not included in table "A" which are wroked under the Permissive Block System.

And at the bottom of the (short) list is:
Exeter Riverside to Exeter Goods Yard: Up Goods* & Down Goods*
Exeter Goods Yard to Exeter West: Up Goods* & Down Goods*
* - Block Bells only

So you are spot on, Danny. Presumably they used TES and TOOS along with 2-4-2 when necessary despite the lack of block indicators.

As to the one-sided crossing, I had a Eureka moment earlier. When I was there in 1976 I remember a rope with pennants on it was being used to block the crossing. Presumably that was for that very purpose, although I didn't think it was anything other than temporary at the time.

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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Danny252 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:07 pm

John Hinson wrote:Presumably they used TES and TOOS along with 2-4-2 when necessary despite the lack of block indicators.


Per the WR version of the block regulations, trains were to be accepted by responding with 1 beat if the section is already occupied, and the special instructions quoted above exempted the signalmen from giving TOOS, so only TES was sent of those. Why the need was felt to exempt them from TOOS, I'm not sure - if anything, one would have thought it would be rather more important if there's no block instruments to keep a record of the situation!

(In short, the working wasn't much more than the goods lines being a black hole into which trains were sent and promptly forgotten about, the trains presumably eventually passing the signal box at the other end...)
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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:19 am

Danny252 wrote:
Per the WR version of the block regulations, trains were to be accepted by responding with 1 beat if the section is already occupied, and the special instructions quoted above exempted the signalmen from giving TOOS, so only TES was sent of those. Why the need was felt to exempt them from TOOS, I'm not sure - if anything, one would have thought it would be rather more important if there's no block instruments to keep a record of the situation!


That does sound odd. The box in advance is the only one to keep track of how many trains are in section. When the box in rear
offers a train he doesn't know whether the line is still occupied or not, and after acceptance only knows whether there is at least one.
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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby John Hinson » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:31 am

With no way of telling if the line was occupied or not, then it was effectively "No Block" so the special arrangements would seem superfluous. The signalman in rear shouldn't need to know if the line is occupied as all signals have short arms indicating that the line might not be clear ahead. The only benefit of using TES might be to help Exeter Goods Yard judge when to close his crossing. Aside of that I cannot think of a single reason to work it as "Permissive Block using Block Bells only".

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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:46 am

John Hinson wrote:The only benefit of using TES might be to help Exeter Goods Yard judge when to close his crossing. Aside of that I cannot think of a single reason to work it as "Permissive Block using Block Bells only".

John


I had been wondering why they were sending TES, but that makes perfect sense. If the WR did not have No Block (not invented here), perhaps calling it modified permissive block saved them from writing a completely new set of regs just for this minor line. Heaven forfend that the WR might adopt somebody else's rule book!
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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:18 am

Having only joined the railway in 1987 I never worked over the goods lines. By the time I got about to asking the question (last year) there were very few railwayman around who had been around before 1980 and those that were only gave vague answers. There are only a couple of men left in the panel who are ex mechanical and none of them to my knowledge worked Middle when GYB was open.
This has opened a very interesting discussion.
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Re: Exeter Goods Yard Box

Unread postby Chris Osment » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:31 am

When EGY closed I tried to buy the lever-frame, but BR wanted it allegedly to use as a GF for the Exeter MAS work, and the last that I saw of it was in the S&T works at the back of Exeter Central being overhauled and re-locked. Where they used it, I've no idea. Somehow eventually it did end up in private hands in Somerset and IIRC then it went eventually to a buyer somewhere in Hampshire (?) - not sure.


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