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Melmerby North - King Levers

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

Melmerby North - King Levers

Unread postby GarthTilt » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:00 pm

Not being a North Eastern man I recently came across a numbered diagram of Melmerby North. If this subject has been discussed before please lead me to the site!
There are two king Levers Nos. 10 and 26. No.10 for when the box was switched out and used as a crossing box with the road set for Thirsk. Was this normal NE practise? No.26 for 'Single line Working' over the Down Thirsk line to Topcliffe, worked by 'Train Staff & Ticket'. Was 26 only used by prior arrangement, by notice?
Can anyone enlighten me please?
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Re: Melmerby North - King Levers

Unread postby alancolq » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:34 pm

Hi Garth,

I certainly remember boxes on the Hull-Scarboro' line having had king levers for switching out and allowing only the main running line signals and level crossing controls to be worked. Most of them had been removed by the time of my first visits in the early 70s as sidings and crossovers had been removed at most locations by then. Various boxes along the route, though block posts, would work as "listening boxes" when switched out - the block bell exchanges and block instrument settings between the neighbouring boxes could be seen and heard. There were no cost savings by that time as signalmen were employed, also when in "listening" mode!
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Re: Melmerby North - King Levers

Unread postby GarthTilt » Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:00 pm

Many thanks for your prompt reply Alan, but what about No 26? Did it release an Annett's key for the TS&T working.
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Re: Melmerby North - King Levers

Unread postby Mackay » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:46 pm

Hello Garth,
The staff & ticket working was put in to allow wagon storage on the Up main between Melmerby North and Topcliffe. I don't have the exact introduction date to hand, but it was probably late in WW2. Similar facilities were to be found on the following sections: Picton to Ingelby; Barlby North to Everingham; High Mill to Rillington; Carlton Towers to Bullcroft. There was a 10mph restriction over points in the facing direction on all these lines; it last appears in the weekly notices for May 1951.
I don't have an S&T plan for Melmerby but I do have notes made from a 1943 LNER drawing for Barlby to Everingham.
At Barlby North: No.40 to be used as a king lever
The Up branch inner and outer home signals to read from the Down branch to the Up main, and interlock with conflicting down signals, by means of the king lever. Preceding locking to be fitted between the Up branch home (58) and 29 points (Up York main to Up independent No.1).
A chock was provided for the Up branch and was padlocked in place. When double line working was reintroduced the king lever was to be reversed.
At Everingham: No. 5 to be used as a king lever
Scotch block and padlock to be provided on the Up main. To be locked when either on or off the track; key kept in SB.
When single line working was in force:
Points 7 (down main - yard) 8 (mains xover) and 9 (up main - up siding) to be clamped as necessary by the SM
Up & Down distants to be maintained at caution
Up traffic to be reversed thro' 8 xover.
Similar arrangements were in place at intermediate SBs such as Cliff Common and Foggathorpe. A photo taken at Baldersby (in the single line section between Melmerby and Topcliffe) shows the chock in place and (in the distance) wagons stored on the Up main below the A1 road overbridge.
So to answer your question, the king levers were installed to ensure the correct interlocking while working on the wrong line. There were staffs (old brass ones reused and restamped) and metal tickets, which appear in auction from time to time. Staff & Ticket working would be introduced by local arrangement/authority. The king levers didn't release a staff or key.

Hope this is of some interest.
Neil
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Re: Melmerby North - King Levers

Unread postby GarthTilt » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:02 pm

Neil that's very interesting, as a GW man it was something I hadn't come across before. Working of single lines is a fascinating subject on its own but when it comes to double lines being used as single like the ones listed above it opens a new concept entirely! Well done, many thanks.
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Re: Melmerby North - King Levers

Unread postby John Webb » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:33 pm

"Railways around Harrogate - Volume 2" (Martin Bairstow & David Beeken, 1988, ISBN 0 9510302 7 2) has a picture on page 72 of ticket No. 2 for the Topcliffe-Melmerby section workings.
In Volume 3 of the same series (Martin Bairstow, 1998, ISBN 1 871944 18 X) an article by G M Pierson, who was a fireman based at Starbeck, mentions the institution of a loop at Melmerby on the down main line to assist with handling wartime traffic. But there are no other comments about the Melmerby-Thirsk route.
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Re: Melmerby North - King Levers

Unread postby Mackay » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:16 pm

Two good references there John, thanks. Drifting slightly OT, the Down loop at Melmerby (Melmerby North, the one at the level crossing, not the LNER South cabin which was for the Ordnance Depot) was entered by hand generator points. No mains power out at Melmerby then, at least not on the railway. The Up loops at Ripon and at Bilton Jct also had power points but these were worked from low voltage machines with trickle-charged batteries. Finally the Up loop at Monkton Moor had mechanical facing points, and spring points at the exit. Gerry Pierson told me that the last-named loop was hardly used at it was on a rising gradient - snapped couplings when pulling away!
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