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Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

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

Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby kwallace6 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:09 am

Morning everyone.

I am creating some Southern Region model signals, and have a number of queries which I'm hoping the group can answer.

First off, can anyone confirm that the shorter corrugated ringed arms to mark the entry into loops and yards on running line bracket signals had a white rear with a vertical black band, as per normal semaphores?

Secondly, all the photos I have found of these ringed arms are corrugated. Were there any replacements in the latter type of steel arm (flat front, folder edge top and bottom).

There were also various calling-on arms (those with a metal C riveted on). Do these also have a conventional rear?

I have seen photos of the rear of subsidiary arms showing a white rear with a black horizontal central bar. I think this might be a Westernism. If it is, what arms do these apply to?

Finally, can it be assumed that ALL LMR and ER upper quadrant subsidiary and calling-on arms just have a white back and black vertical bar?

Kind regards

Keith W
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:48 pm

If you are modelling SR or BR(SR) signals I suggest you get hold of a copy of "A Pictorial record of Southern Signals" by G Pryer. Probably out of print but available from time to time on Amazon or ebay. The backs of signals have very rarely been photographed as such, but you can often see them as background where they appear incidentally to photos of something else such as a loco.

It is very hard to generalise. Quite often Southern Railway or pre-grouping signals survived into BR ownership and practice varied.
Wooden signal arms needed repainting from time to time and replacement due to rot; metal/enamelled arms less so, but even those could need replacement due to fading or damage.

Rules 44, 45 and 46 in the 1950 BR rule book relate to Call-on, Warning & Shunt-ahead signals respectively, and some but by no means all signals bore the appropriate letter. Some signals fulfilled more than one of these functions, in which case there might (but also might not) be a C, W or S indication associated with an otherwise plain miniature arm with our without vertical stripe. Subsidiaries showed a small red or no light in the on position, a green light or a white light when off.

Some (Central Section) calling on arms had black ring and also had white vertical stripe on the face.
On the Eastern & Western Sections the circle was replaced by a red diamond either with or without white vertical stripe

I don't know whether the black horizontal bar on the rear was peculiar to WR, but I very much doubt it (and probably not universal on the Western either). No doubt somebody will be able to cite specific examples. As for Westernisms, the Regional boundaries were not 100% match to the original Big 4, and some places moved from one region to another at various dates, so the BR(SR) certainly inherited some ex-GWR signalling.

ER and WR also inherited long-lived pre-grouping equipment and were affected by changes regional boundaries (not least the abolition of the NER) so they also did not have 100% standardisation.

I think you will get a more helpful answer from other if you are able to be more specific than just the region and an implied date range - though I recognise this many not be practical if your prototype is hypothetical.
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby kwallace6 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:31 pm

Thanks Mike.

Sadly I have the full set of the OPC regional signalling volumes - including Pryor - and whilst each one covers different aspects of signalling in some considerable detail (Vaughan on ATC, etc, etc) none of the four describe, provide plans or include photos of the rear faces of calling-on/shunt/siding/loop signals!!

For guidance, the items of interest are the Upper Quadrants, so anytime after 1926, and in particular how they looked in the BR period through to 1968. As the LMS, LNE and SR had reached a consensus* on UQ arms - and possibly shared the plans - it is tempting to think that the vertical black bar on the reverse was also standard throughout...

Trouble is, I can IMAGINE a black circle looking quite neat, so would like positive confirmation.

Keith W

* Apparent the GWR also attended the meeting and agreed the committee's findings, but then cracked on as before.
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby MRFS » Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:34 pm

Keith - I meant to say earlier that a trawl through modern photos of the KESR and Bluebell may prove fruitful.
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:05 pm

I, hopefully, will be able to reply more fully in due course, but one quick point is that the corrugated arms post-date the plain steel ones with an orthogonal flange top and bottom (named after their LMSR inventor whose name temporarily escapes me - old age and all that).
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:58 pm

Some info can be found in Section 4 (and in particular, Page 3 of that section) of this website but I'm not sure how accurate it is.....

http://www.railsigns.uk/sect4page1/sect4page1.html
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby Chris Osment » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:58 pm

davidwoodcock wrote:I, hopefully, will be able to reply more fully in due course, but one quick point is that the corrugated arms post-date the plain steel ones with an orthogonal flange top and bottom (named after their LMSR inventor whose name temporarily escapes me - old age and all that).


Interesting - I always assumed/understood that the corrugations came first, but were superseded by the flanged versions. Ah well, one lives (still, just about :-) ) and learns !
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby Chris Osment » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:22 pm

I suspect that, like most things, there were always variations from any agreed 'standard'.

For example, although in theory the S&DJR followed L&SWR practice (and hence later SRly Western Section), their subsidiary arms were noting like the L&SWR 'diamond' type, but had a BLACK ring on the face with a white spot, and a black SPOT on the rear. They also had some ringed 'main' arms in later years that were identical on the front, but sadly I can't find any views of their backs. When they moved to using the version with the large 'C' or 'S' on the face, then those were red with a broad horizontal stripe on the front - again, I can't find any pix of the rear, but I always understood them to 'mimic' the front by having a broad horizontal black band. The 'C' or 'S' was red, tho' I've seen a B&W a photo of one of the 'C' arms in BR days where the 'C' was clearly white.
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby RichardH » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:17 pm

The SR used LQ arms based on LSWR practice during the 1920s and these had either ‘Nicholls’ pattern arms with the flush face, or occasionally corrugated arms. I believe corrugated arms originated on the LNWR, but the design for the Nicholls arm was registered in the 1920s – we discussed this on here a few years ago.

The first UQ arms the SR used were cast to a similar pattern to the LMS ones and also had the corrugated arms. Photographic evidence suggests corrugated arms were installed until the 1950s, although a number of UQ Nicholls arms are apparent by this date as well.

As to the original Q. – I have only ever seen the ringed and subsidiary UQ arms in corrugated form as the original stock was probably sufficient for the requirements over the years, although the ringed pattern was superseded by a short, but still corrugated version of the standard arm.

The reverse face of the subsidiary arms were as suggested white with a horizontal black stripe, while the ringed arms had a black spot. The reverse of the letters or ring were black.
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby kwallace6 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:23 pm

Thanks Richard. This the critical detail required :-)
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:27 pm

"Nicholls" was, of course, the name that I had temporarily forgotten in my earlier post.

The Southern replaced a lot of signals in the Isle of Wight in the first few years after grouping and it was photos of these that first alerted me to the fact that Nicholls (LQ) arms were used prior to corrugated arms appearing (initially on LQ signals and then universally on UQ ones). I wouldn't rule out the possibility of a handful of ringed/subsidiary LQ arms being Nicholls, but they would have been rare beasts if there were any. As Richard says, Nicholls arms started to appear again on the Southern Region in the 1950s but the corrugated ones remained commonplace there. The adoption of corrugated arms may well have been on the initiative of the General Manager, Herbert Walker, who was an ex-LNWR man, well known for his ability to meddle in small details.

The Southern painting standard required arms to be painted as Richard outlines above, but ex-LBSCR (in particular) painting gangs seem to have been a law unto themselves and variations to the way subsidiary and ringed arms were painted, both front and back, weren't exactly unknown - even on the same signal gantry!
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby kwallace6 » Wed Nov 1, 2017 6:59 am

So just considering the post-1926 corrugated arms, and for now ignoring the large metal circles and letters that might be riveted onto the poor defenseless arm, we have an arm that might allow entry to a loop or similar that would look like this from the front:

http://www.hall-royd-junction.co.uk/ima ... _front.jpg

( should the dot be bigger or did these vary in size?)

and like this from the rear:

http://www.hall-royd-junction.co.uk/ima ... p_rear.jpg

The subsidiary arm would look like this from the front:

http://www.hall-royd-junction.co.uk/ima ... _front.jpg

and like this from the rear:

http://www.hall-royd-junction.co.uk/ima ... b_rear.jpg

(I think the black horizontal bar should to match its companion white bar on the front. and therefore needs to be taken to the mid-point in each corrugation top and bottom)

And for guidance, we are considering the vast majority of arms rather than any one-offs or specials.

Regards

Keith W
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Wed Nov 1, 2017 8:54 am

The horizontal bands front and back on subsidiary (W, S and C) arms were specified to be 5" wide.

The circular dots front and back only ever appeared on arms with rings mounted on the front of the arm - they were normally concentric.
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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby kwallace6 » Wed Nov 1, 2017 9:34 am

Thanks David. This gave me the idea to see if there were any cab ride videos on the K&ESR to see what the back of the Home by Tenterden level crossing looked like. This seems to 'prove' that the black bar did in fact cover a half corrugation top and bottom - just need to now check Pryer to see if that is equal to 5 inches :-)

Keith W

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Re: Backs of Southern Region (& other) subsidiary signals

Unread postby RichardH » Wed Nov 1, 2017 10:45 am

I have just measured the width of the stripe at precisely 5” – and as you say the boundaries should be exactly in the centre of each corrugation. The arms are 33” long, 9” shorter than the standard ones.

The diameter of the spot for the ringed arm looks a little large, but I will see if I can dig one out and measure it in the next few days. There was one of these arms at Hove that survived minus the ring, probably until the resignalling of the early 1980s.
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