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St Dennis Junction

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

St Dennis Junction

Unread postby John Hinson » Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:40 am

According to the SRS diagram for this box - low resolution image at http://www.s-r-s.org.uk/html/gwf/S1125.htm - the distant from the Burngullow direction had a ringed arm. As these were goods-only lines, all the signals ahead were (as far as I can tell) short arms with rings until reaching the junction itself.

My intrigue is whether this distant arm was full-sized or miniature. A ringed GW distant would be rare enough in itself, but one with a small arm seems to contradict all of the GWR's standards. In circumstances with awkward gradients I coud understand such a signal being provided for operational reasons but as it is "fixed at caution" I think we can rule that out.

I have a plan for 1966 with the branch still in existence but the distant signal seems to have gone by then.

A quick look at Drinnick Mill's diagram by the SRS suggests similar distant arms in both directions, but nothing shown on the Burngullow diagram at the other end of the branch.

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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby roy hart » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:15 am

I find it hard to discern a policy on the part of the GW with regard to fixed distants on goods lines.
In Cornwall (with a profusion of mineral lines) some places had distants and some not, but those which existed were all full length arms.
St Dennis fixed distant on the Burngullow line was a GW tubular post with full-length (5 foot) fluted, ringed steel arm (which would date it to about 1935-50).
Drinnick Mill fixed distants (dating from 1921) had full length arms. Oddly, Burngullow never had a distant.
Others that I know of were: Penwithers Junction (Newham branch) -wooden post, full length ringed arm; Bugle (Carbis branch) ditto.
At St Dennis, all of the branch signalling was removed in 1966.
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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby John Hinson » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:06 am

Thanks very much for that, Roy, brilliant answer! If the distants were full-sized arms with rings, were the homes likewise? The implication from the SRS drawings is that all are small arms. It would make more sense if all were large, but I haven't come across any GW large arms with rings before. There's always something new to learn.

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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:00 am

I have the 1960 locking sketch. It was a 4ft or 5ft ringed arm. All other arms on the Burngullow branch were 3ft. I'll dig out the locking sketch and post it up later.

As far as I can tell from some of the Burngullow Branch GWR 1920s blueprint locking sketches in my possession there were a number of 3ft ringed fixed distants on the branch (definately two at Drinnick Mill).
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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby Chris Osment » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:43 am

I have a scan of a 1926 blueprint for Kernick. This had stop signals, but no rings are shown nor the size given. No distants shown.

A curious place - the SB seems to have been just a small hut to house the ETS, the signals being worked by separate GFs at each end of the layout.
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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby John Hinson » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:09 am

Lots of food for thought there, thanks.

My reference to GW policy relates to three-foot arms with rings on Goods Lines, which would not normally have any distant signal. So we have a situation at St Dennis where a five-foot arm distant (with a ring) read to three-foot arms ahead. Very odd indeed. Presumably Drinnick Mill was the same.

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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:53 am

I've found a photograph by Peter Dray of the St.Dennis Junction distant in the book 'British Railways Past and Present - Cornwall' (ISBN 1 85895 060 0). It shows a 4ft wooden ringed arm on a wooden post. The photograph is dated 01 October 1955.

Fowey also had a 3ft ringed arm distant reading from the Par direction (According to the Locking Sketch) with all the stop signals at that end of the station being 3ft or 2ft ringed arms (I have seen photographs proving that as well).
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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby scarpa » Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:48 pm

History of Great Western Signalling on page 148 has a picture of a ringed distant rear view installed at Crimea sidings Paddington, slight operating difference the signal was located in the sidings to ensure departing freight trains did not delay the Underground trains to and from Hammersmith when crossing through their lines.Some other publications refer to this signal as the only ringed distant. So you learn something everyday! Veering slightly off, Distant signals in Goods and Mineral Jct. and Five Arch signalboxes were also provided.
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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby JRB » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:28 pm

I've a feeling that there was a ringed distant somewhere in the GW part of the Acton/Willesden mesh.
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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:33 pm

scarpa wrote:History of Great Western Signalling on page 148 has a picture of a ringed distant rear view installed at Crimea sidings Paddington.


This one appears to me to be a 3 foot arm.
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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby JRB » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:05 pm

It's prob ably the one at the NRM where it might be possible to measure it.
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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby roy hart » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:14 am

Going back to St Dennis... I forgot in my previous post to mention Whitegate Crossing, south of St Dennis junction, which had ringed fixed distants. I photographed St Dennis fixed distant in 1964, but sadly that is in England and I am in Burma.
Kernick had 2 signal posts, each carrying 2 arms, all were ringed. As far as I know, Kernick had no distants. The box was a type 21 with no frame: the signals were operated by two ground frames. There are some fascinating photos of signals on the line in GREAT WESTERN INFRASTRUCTURE published by Noodle books ISBN 978-1-909328-25-9. Notable is a shot of St Dennis branch home - a 2-way signal with both arms slotted by the ground frame, plus a small metal bracket bearing a centre-balanced ringed arm -must have been a - of a lot of ironmongery at the base of that one! Incidentally, the SRS diagram is wrong on the form of this signal as well as on St Dennis GF (5 levers, not 6).
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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby John Hinson » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:57 am

Thanks, Roy,

To be fair to the SRS, I think most of their GW diagrams were copied directly from "Locking Sketches" which in my experience are not always accurate in fine detail. Nevertheless, if the information is out there it could (and should) be corrected.

The GW Infrastructure book slipped me by, probably due to the price when first published (and then I forget later). There are some quite cheap copies available at "an on-line large South American river" from sub-sellers and mine has just been ordered just so that I can see that bracket signal!

Best regards,

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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby Chris Osment » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:59 am

roy hart wrote:Kernick had 2 signal posts, each carrying 2 arms, all were ringed.....


Which just goes to show that one can't rely on drawings alone! Thanks for the information.
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Re: St Dennis Junction

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:41 am

roy hart wrote: There are some fascinating photos of signals on the line in GREAT WESTERN INFRASTRUCTURE published by Noodle books ISBN 978-1-909328-25-9. Notable is a shot of St Dennis branch home - a 2-way signal with both arms slotted by the ground frame, plus a small metal bracket bearing a centre-balanced ringed arm -must have been a - of a lot of ironmongery at the base of that one! Incidentally, the SRS diagram is wrong on the form of this signal as well as on St Dennis GF (5 levers, not 6).

Roy, you need to be very careful exactly what period in time you are talking about and the actual date of the SRS Diagram (which often isn't listed). The St.Dennis Junction Burngullow Line Home/Starting bracket signal was renewed as two separate posts sometime in the early 1950s. Also, despite my statement in a post above stating that all arms on the Burngullow line were 3ft, I have now noticed that the Up Starting signal (renewed as a straight post) had a 4ft unringed arm. This is all backed up by a June 1960 Locking Sketch in my possession.
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