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Telephones

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

Re: Telephones

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:25 pm

Moderator Note: A number of posts in this thread have been deleted or edited to remove references to methods of working that are/were utilised to warn of the prescence or otherwise of "management". Please refrain from posting such comments and keep to the subject matter.
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Re: Telephones

Unread postby Chris Rideout » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:24 pm

scarpa wrote:The Eastern Region had a dedicated wooden case telephone which housed a code selector which connected direct to the Control Office.When Control was ringing the signalbox you would here the code selector operating then the bell would ring.

This was also the case at Fareham and Southampton areas where I worked. They had a 2 digit number which was selected via a wheel with pins on it. What was strange was the intermediate number "clicks" on the wheel. If your number was 27, you would hear 2 clicks, then another series of clicks, then 7 clicks and the bell or buzzer would sound. Why was the intermediate number necessary?
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Re: Telephones

Unread postby StevieG » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:51 pm

And on the ER, if Control wasn't ringing you, you'd hear all the same pulse clicks but no bell ring - just the selector ring turning back to its rest position because it didn't latch.
But anyone on the circuit could lift the handset and listen to all the speech, and wouldn't be heard unless holding down the 'speak' key.
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Re: Telephones

Unread postby Chris Rideout » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:22 pm

StevieG wrote:And on the ER, if Control wasn't ringing you, you'd hear all the same pulse clicks but no bell ring - just the selector ring turning back to its rest position because it didn't latch.
But anyone on the circuit could lift the handset and listen to all the speech, and wouldn't be heard unless holding down the 'speak' key.

Same here. These were "modern" versions of the open circuit phone. You had strange sound effects when control hung up their phone. You would hear a tone that sounded rather like a horn played back in reverse and if anyone else spoke on the phone afterwards, their voices would have an "echo" in much the same way as an analogue delay effect.
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Re: Telephones

Unread postby Richard Pike » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:35 pm

StevieG wrote:And on the ER, if Control wasn't ringing you, you'd hear all the same pulse clicks but no bell ring - just the selector ring turning back to its rest position because it didn't latch.
But anyone on the circuit could lift the handset and listen to all the speech, and wouldn't be heard unless holding down the 'speak' key.


All you hear in my Ely Area Simulation are calls to other phones. I have made a device to send a train of impulses to simulate traffic on the control circuit..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im3-M3VILWk
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Re: Telephones

Unread postby Andrew Waugh » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:40 am

Chris Rideout wrote:
scarpa wrote:The Eastern Region had a dedicated wooden case telephone which housed a code selector which connected direct to the Control Office.When Control was ringing the signalbox you would here the code selector operating then the bell would ring.

This was also the case at Fareham and Southampton areas where I worked. They had a 2 digit number which was selected via a wheel with pins on it. What was strange was the intermediate number "clicks" on the wheel. If your number was 27, you would hear 2 clicks, then another series of clicks, then 7 clicks and the bell or buzzer would sound. Why was the intermediate number necessary?


This is the standard Western Electric 60AP selector, developed in the US in 1916 and used around the world. I have one sitting on my desk as I type.

The selective code was a normally series of 17 pulse reversals, allowing the selection of 78 locations (any number of 8 to 32 reversals could actually be used). Each series of pulse reversals were broken into three groups by two short delays where no current was transmitted. The code was set by how the 17 reversals were divided into the three groups. For example, the first location would be selected by 2-2-13, the next by 2-3-12, then 2-4-11, and so on. In the example Chris gave, the code was 2-8-7 (assuming 17 reversals). It wasn't necessary to state the middle number because it was implied by the sum of the other two - the total had to add up to 17 (or however many pulse reversals were used).

The actual selective mechanism was very clever. A relay ratcheted the code wheel around, one step for each pulse reversal. The code wheel was spring loaded and if the pulses ceased the wheel would rotate back to the zero position. The pins in the code holes engaged a latch and held the wheel during the pauses.

So, taking Chris' 2-8-7 code. If Train Control wanted you, he would operate a key that would send 2 pulses, a pause, 8 pulses, a pause, and finally 7 pulses. Your selector relay would respond as follows. First it would be ratcheted two steps. It would have a pin there, so when the pause came the wheel would be held. However, all selectors whose codes *didn't* start with 2 would spin back to zero. Then it would receive 8 pulses and advance to the next pin, where it would be held during the second pause. None of the other selectors that matched the initial 2 would find a pin at 10 (2+8), so they would all spin back to zero. Then our selector would receive 7 pulses and would step triumphantly on to a final catch at 17 where a contact would be made to ring the bell.

If you want all the details, someone's put up the manual: http://doc.telephonecollectors.info/dm/ ... ys_OCR.pdf
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Re: Telephones

Unread postby Baffled boffin » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:59 pm

I asked a colleague who has been on since leaving school and remembered these things. Anecdotally he said the signalmen used them to waffle as they could all speak to each other on the same line.
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Re: Telephones

Unread postby Fast Line Floyd » Sun Mar 18, 2018 6:46 pm

Baffled boffin wrote:I asked a colleague who has been on since leaving school and remembered these things. Anecdotally he said the signalmen used them to waffle as they could all speak to each other on the same line.

Doubtful as the controllers could also listen in and may report any improper working, I suspect your friend is referring to the more common omnibus phone.
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Re: Telephones

Unread postby Richard Pike » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:57 pm

Time was also sent via the control phones. Each 60a selector has a time sending position. This is something i intend to get working on my control circuits. My Ely Area simulation has two control circuits. It has it's proper and authentic circuit from Cambridge and i have used a little licence to bring the Norwich circuit to ENJ. I have a control coupling unit that i wanted in use. I also have a control to branch coupling unit that can link the control circuit to an omnibus line and vice versa.

I heard a story that mentions what happened after time was sent at 10:00. At around 10:05 one control office would initiate the link between any adjacent circuits. At 10:10 RAF Bawtry would come on circuit and would repeat 'Bawtry Calling' several times then read out a weather report in full meteorological speak. Someone in each control office was trained to understand this and shorthand notes were taken down. My storyteller said that you could 'earwig' in on the call and once you got used to listening in you could work out what was being said and have a heads up for the weather for the next 24 - 48 hours. It was better than anything in the papers and even the fangled radio that no one had.

Can anyone confirm the existence of such an arrangement?
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Re: Telephones

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:51 pm

Richard Pike wrote:I heard a story that mentions what happened after time was sent at 10:00. At around 10:05 one control office would initiate the link between any adjacent circuits. At 10:10 RAF Bawtry would come on circuit and would repeat 'Bawtry Calling' several times then read out a weather report in full meteorological speak. Someone in each control office was trained to understand this and shorthand notes were taken down. My storyteller said that you could 'earwig' in on the call and once you got used to listening in you could work out what was being said and have a heads up for the weather for the next 24 - 48 hours. It was better than anything in the papers and even the fangled radio that no one had.

Can anyone confirm the existence of such an arrangement?



You could not have read the forecast in the paper or heard it on the wireless during WW2. My father was a bomber navigator and he told me that weather forecasts were not put in the papers or broadcast, because Met information was restricted as potentially useful to the enemy.

Every RAF station in the country had a Met Officer who gathered data that the forecasters needed as input and who also briefed crews before sorties. Before launching a raid over enemy territory you needed to know whether you would be able to see the target when you got there and a few hours after take off on your return whether you would still be able to see your own airfield to land! Advance information on conditions was generally far more critical to the RAF/Luftwaffe operations than to other military services, so it is certainly plausible that it would be the RAF that disseminated information to anybody else who had a need to know. The railways were a reserved occupation and they were considered essential to the war effort in terms of distribution personnel and supplies, so it would not be unreasonable for control offices to be able to anticipate conditions which might adversely impact traffic. Once you have established such a system, it might tend to survive for some time after hostilities ceased.
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