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Sturry to Canterbury West

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

Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby colin1501 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:55 pm

Prior to the 2003 resignalling, and the upgrading of Sturry from a gate box to a block post, the up line signalling there was as follows: 2-aspect colour-light distant, semaphore home with semaphore distant beneath, and (what I thought was) a semaphore starter off the end of the up platform. I was always puzzled by this arrangement - I didn't understand why a gate box would have a home and a starter, or why the starter would have its own distant.

Then I met a driver who explained to me that the 'starter' and its associated distant were not worked by Sturry, but by Canterbury West. So my question is, was this signal worked as an outer home by Canterbury West, or was it one of those (uncommon?) examples of an intermediate block signal worked from the box in advance?

Grateful for any info.

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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:29 am

Can't comment on the boxes in question, but yes it was relatively uncommon for IBS to be worked from box in advance. To work it from box in advance you need track circuiting through the whole section, not just the intermediate block section as with IBS worked by box in rear. And if you're going to track circuit the whole section, you might as well work TCB - in which case there's no such thing as an IB, although there may be other reasons (such as switching out arrangements) why you would still work AB.
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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby MRFS » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:10 am

There is an article in an SRS Record. Might still have a copy
ND: Why is there a door handle on the inside of my airing cupboard?
MF: Because it's the fire exit from Narnia.

I like David Lynch films. I don't consider incomprehension to be a barrier to enjoyment.
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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby Stuart Johnson » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:37 pm

I should know the answer to this one, but the relevant diagrams are at the office. I'll try and remember to look them out on Monday.
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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:17 pm

I believe the signal was installed when Broad Oak crossing was converted to AHB operation.

It was numbered 91 on the signalling diagram but as there were only 72 levers in the frame, I believe it was controlled by a switch on the block shelf.

As with AHBs near station platforms it was commonplace to supply a stopping or non-stopping selection switch which the signaller would select appropriately. If set for non-stopping the signal would clear immediately. If set for stopping selection it would only clear after a time delay. The object was to keep Broad Oak AHB crossing barriers from lowering unnecessarily early for a train that was booked to stop at Sturry, and therefore take longer to reach the AHB crossing.
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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby Pete2320 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:50 pm

Peter Gibbons wrote:I believe the signal was installed when Broad Oak crossing was converted to AHB operation.

It was numbered 91 on the signalling diagram but as there were only 72 levers in the frame, I believe it was controlled by a switch on the block shelf.

As with AHBs near station platforms it was commonplace to supply a stopping or non-stopping selection switch which the signaller would select appropriately. If set for non-stopping the signal would clear immediately. If set for stopping selection it would only clear after a time delay. The object was to keep Broad Oak AHB crossing barriers from lowering unnecessarily early for a train that was booked to stop at Sturry, and therefore take longer to reach the AHB crossing.

As such, was it really an IB at all in the conventional sense or was it a "non block" signal purely for the AHB and actually quit a common arrangement although this would be the only case I know of with semaphore signals.
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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby colin1501 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:26 am

Thanks for the clarifications. I believe Sturry was originally downgraded to a gate box around 1964 (?), so if Broad Oak was converted to AHB at the same time, maybe the signal in question had been Sturry's starter, and the simplest option for the AHB stopping/non-stopping arrangement was to motorise it, provide a distant, and transfer control to Canterbury West. Just a theory - wonder if anyone can confirm.

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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby Stuart Johnson » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:31 am

Peter Gibbons wrote:I believe the signal was installed when Broad Oak crossing was converted to AHB operation.

It was numbered 91 on the signalling diagram but as there were only 72 levers in the frame, I believe it was controlled by a switch on the block shelf.

As with AHBs near station platforms it was commonplace to supply a stopping or non-stopping selection switch which the signaller would select appropriately. If set for non-stopping the signal would clear immediately. If set for stopping selection it would only clear after a time delay. The object was to keep Broad Oak AHB crossing barriers from lowering unnecessarily early for a train that was booked to stop at Sturry, and therefore take longer to reach the AHB crossing.

Having belatedly found my notes, I can confirm that Peter's recollection is correct- 91/91R were operated by a switch, and worked in conjunction with stopping/non-stopping controls associated with Broad Oak AHB- as indeed they still do, but in colour light form.
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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:59 pm

colin1501 wrote:Thanks for the clarifications. I believe Sturry was originally downgraded to a gate box around 1964 (?), so if Broad Oak was converted to AHB at the same time, maybe the signal in question had been Sturry's starter, and the simplest option for the AHB stopping/non-stopping arrangement was to motorise it, provide a distant, and transfer control to Canterbury West. Just a theory - wonder if anyone can confirm.

Colin


No, that was not the case.

On Sunday 15th March 1964 Sturry signal box was downgraded to gate box status. As part of this work, the Up Stating, Up Advanced Stating, Down Starting and Down Advanced Starting were removed. This left Sturry to control Up Home, Down Home, Up Distant and Down Distant signals only. The block section became Chislet Colliery to Canterbury West.

On Wednesday 19th May 1965 Broad Oak Crossing was converted to AHB operation, but with no changes in signalling.

On Sunday 10th January 1971 a new motorised semaphore stop signal, controlled from Canterbury West Signal Box and known as Broad Oak crossing Up home signal, was provided at the Canterbury West end of the Up platform, together with a telephone in direct communication with Canterbury West signal box. When this signal displayed a clear indication the Up line would be clear as far as the Canterbury West Up main outer home signal. Canterbury West had a separate distant signal which applied to all the rest of Canterbury West's stop signals.
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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby colin1501 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:14 pm

Thanks Peter - that's all very clear, and makes complete sense. I remember the Canterbury West up distant signal, which I believe was still a motor-worked semaphore into the early 1980s.

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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby colin1501 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:11 am

Actually, this does raise one more question relating back to my original post. From 1964, the block section became Chislet Colliery to Canterbury West. When the Broad Oak crossing up home was installed in 1971, was this worked as an IBS 'in rear' by Canterbury West, or was it simply to protect the crossing? In other words, could Chislet Colliery clear his section signal and send another train forward as soon as the previous one had cleared the 'overlap' of the Broad Oak crossing up home? If so, then as Mike Hodgson observes above, there would have to be continuous track circuiting from Chislet Colliery to Canterbury West.

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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:30 am

No, it was never worked as a rear section IBS because track circuiting wasn't continuous. In any case under Absolute Block rules the signalman the train would have to pass the 'clearing point' normally (but not always) 440 yards complete with tail lamp (or in the case of most passenger trains, red blinds displayed on rear). This means that in order for the signalman to be able to give 'Train out of Section' bell signal and return the Block Instrument to normal, the train would need to completely pass the the Inner Homes at Canterbury West and be observed to be complete by the signalman.

If Chislet Colliery was closed, then the block section would be Minster to Canterbury West. After 23 July 1984 this became the case permanently after Chislet Colliery was abolished.

With Sturry upgraded to signal box status the block section is now Minster to Sturry, with Track Circuit Block Sturry to Ashford.

The original idea was that Track Circuit Block was to extended through to Minster and the abolition of both Canterbury West and Sturry but that never occurred. Had it done so that would have abolished both Canterbury West and Sturry boxes.
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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby colin1501 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:18 pm

Thanks again Peter - very interesting. Just one more question. Did Broad Oak crossing have stopping/non-stopping controls from its conversion to AHB in 1965, or were these only put in when the new signal was provided in 1971? If the latter, there must have originally been a long wait for road users while an up train called at Sturry - obviously the situation which these controls are there to avoid.

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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:14 pm

The stopping / non-stopping controls were installed at the same time as the signal to control it.
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Re: Sturry to Canterbury West

Unread postby Pete2320 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:36 am

Is that correct that Sturry works to Ashford? I would have expected Canterbury West possibly by AB.
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