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Signal boxes - Great Harwood loop line

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

Re: Signal boxes - Great Harwood loop line

Unread postby Bob Davies » Thu Mar 9, 2017 12:46 pm

W: 12 and S: 4 means 12 working levers and 4 spare levers
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Re: Signal boxes - Great Harwood loop line

Unread postby andyhunt873 » Thu Mar 9, 2017 12:57 pm

Mike and Bob,

Thanks, that's great, I understand now these are safety features for the signalman as the distant signals are probably out of sight and they need to know that the signal and lights are working as indicated on the block instrument at the box.

Thanks again,
Andy.
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Re: Signal boxes - Great Harwood loop line

Unread postby Chris L » Thu Mar 9, 2017 8:50 pm

andyhunt873 wrote

Lastly (and I'm sorry I ask a lot of questions), by the two distant signals there is a square box with a cross in it, what does that denote?


That symbol indicates a Fogman's Post.

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Re: Signal boxes - Great Harwood loop line

Unread postby andyhunt873 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:48 pm

Thanks Chris,

The next thing I would like to understand is the gradient of the Gt. Harwood loop line.

I have looked at a 1960 BR manual which lists the gradients for the line, obviously the is only one column listed, and it goes like this:

Blackburn (Gt. Harwood Junction) 1 in 90
Gt. Harwood East 1 in 90
Rose Grove West 1 in 40.

Is this telling me that going on the down line from Blackburn (Gt. Harwood Junction) to Gt. Harwood the line was rising?
and it got to 1 in 40 from Padiham to Rose Grove west?

I know the manual mentions about assisting engines at Padiham ( not attached to the train ) halting at Rose grove West - to let the train continue without it having to stop.

I presume the assisting engine would then make it's way back to Padiham?

And with such gradients, catch points were situated to protect Blackburn (Gt. Harwood Junction) - up line
two at Gt. Harwood East - up line
one at Rose Grove West - down line.

Would there not have been trap points on the down line to stop runaway vehicle etc?

Thanks,
Andy.
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Re: Signal boxes - Great Harwood loop line

Unread postby Chris L » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:49 pm

A gradient profile for the line, plus details of the relevant catch points, are in my book "Signal Boxes on Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Lines: North-East Lancashire" which I mentioned at the beginning of this thread.

All the catch points were trailing in the direction of travel, i.e. they were designed to derail vehicles running away in the wrong direction (breakaways - or indeed whole trains! - running backwards out of control). They were sprung so that wheels & flanges going in the right direction would close the point blades and travel safely over them; however after the passage of a train the springs would open the blades again, so that if any vehicles came towards them in the wrong (i.e. facing) direction they would be derailed. This would prevent the vehicles running away further and colliding head-on with any following train.

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Re: Signal boxes - Great Harwood loop line

Unread postby andyhunt873 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:49 am

Chris,

That's interesting about the catch points, you certainly don't want to go in the wrong direction there!

Mike explained about the single slip part of the track at Simonstone - I'm glad he did as didn't know what they were, so this poses the question - if a goods train on the UP line wants to reverse across the down line onto the goods siding what was the procedure to do it?

I presume there would be some interaction / conversation with the signal man at the box first?

Passenger trains obviously ran to a timetable, but did goods trains? i.e. I presume that bell signals from the adjacent box would inform him that the train entering his section was goods - but how would he know the goods train was destined for Simonstone (needing to stop and reverse across the down line to the siding)?

Surely some goods trains were scheduled, and some "as and when required"?

Thanks,
Andy.
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Re: Signal boxes - Great Harwood loop line

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:53 am

This is all getting rather off the topic of Great Harwood, and is rather general, so should really be in another thread.

Signalmen or Shunters need to come to a clear understanding with drivers as to what is required, because accidents happen when drivers think they are going into a long empty siding but are perhaps routed into a full one to pick up a couple of wagons. So train crews and signalmen talked as necessary to get the job done, and the signalmen would pass messages along the line by phone. There were also whistle codes listed in Sectional Appendices for drivers to indicate what they needed to do. However many shunting moves would often be known as routine daily events, so there might be no need to discuss. All that was required in the absence of fixed shunting signals (as at Simonstone) was for the signalman to set the points as required and give a hand-signal (a flag). At some stations, part of the train might be left on the main line while the engine collected or dropped off wagons, at other stations the whole train would be shunted into the yard clear of running lines and the crew could be left to their own devices. This would depend on track layout and the need to keep the line clear for other services.


There were two timetables - a public one showing only passenger trains, and another private one for railway use only called the Working timetable (WTT) showing regular goods and empty passenger trains etc. In the days of general goods traffic everywhere, there was typically one train timetabled daily to each station called the "pick-up goods" stopping everywhere on the line (bell code: 3). This would shunt as required, picking up and dropping off wagons en route. Other freight trains would generally run straight through, under bell codes describing their braking power. These would all have a destination of course, for example an oil train would run to a refinery. Signalmen were expected to know from experience and from the working timetable where trains were going. The pick up goods might run straight through if there happened to be no traffic for it, provided it didn't get in the way of other trains.

Trains which only run when required were shown in the WTT by the letter Q. Additional (non-timetabled) trains would still be planned to avoid conflict with timetabled services and establish that there was a path available for them and these extras would be advised to the staff concerned by notices or telephone/telegraph messages.
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Re: Signal boxes - Great Harwood loop line

Unread postby andyhunt873 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:33 am

Thanks Mike,

I do try and keep the thread to signalling, and the Great Harwood line as best I can.

My original reason for joining and posting this thread was to find out when the line was finally pulled, how it operated etc.

Form other sources, I've been able to find out that the down line was pulled up (or at least started to be pulled) September 1965, leaving only the up line which was worked in both directions until it too was lifted 1968 onwards.

All track coming to / off points had also gone 1965 / 1966, and the signal boxes (at least at Gt. Harwood) were abandoned (switched out).

Thanks,
Andy.
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