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East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated works

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East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated works

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:59 pm

Whilst walking around Rochester today, I noticed that the resignalling team have already set up the offices behind Rochester signal box. According to a poster on the hoarding it includes:-

a) Total renewal of life expired signalling between Longfield and Sittingbourne with control from the East Kent Signalling Centre at Gillingham.
b) Re-control and elements of re-signalling from Higham to Cuxton and Rochester Bridge Junction. This section is currently under the control of the North Kent IECC located at Ashford (Kent)
c) Re-control of existing signalling on the Medway Valley Line from Cuxton to Beltring with the abolition of the signal boxes at Cuxton, Aylesford, Maidstone West, East Farleigh and Wateringbury. Presumably this also means a change of mode of signalling from AB to TCB for the Aylesford to Wateringbury section.
c) Re-control of existing signalling on the Sheerness branch.
d) Platform lengthening works at Strood and Sole Street. I wonder if this means that the current Up Loop at Strood station being turned into a bay line with access available to and from the Medway Valley line?
e) A new Rochester station to include 3 platforms, Down Loop, Down Main and Up Main approximately 500 metres west of the existing 4 platform station which will be closed.
f) A new Up Bay platform to be built on part of the station car park at Rainham accessible to trains to/from the Gillingham (Kent) direction.

Today I've noticed that the new station subway at Rochester has just been installed. The building of the new Rochester station commences in January 2015. However it would appear that the existing signal box at Rochester is right in the middle of the new station's construction site, so it will have to be demolished before the new station is completed. Much of the vegetation has already been stripped from the north side of the railway embankment.

By Easter 2015, the new Bay Platform at Rainham, the platform extensions at Strood together with the new signalling between Longfield and Sittingbourne, together with the the transfer of signalling control from Ashford IECC of the the Higham to Rochester Bridge Junction and Cuxton sections, also the Sheerness branch will all be commissioned. I noticed that at Rainham (Kent) preparatory works have already commenced with the steel palisade fencing around the car park behind the existing Up platform removed together with the vegetation. Apparently local residents are already complaining about loss of privacy, train noise and the lack of consultation.

By August 2015 re-control of the Medway Valley signalling together with the associated upgrades to the many level crossings on this route will be commissioned.

December 2015 sees the new station at Rochester commissioned and the existing station closed and de-commissioned.

Spring 2016 Entire project complete.

As an aside I noticed that the disused signal box at Snodland is still standing with all of its windows boarded over including the corrugated iron extension that at one time housed the gate wheel and latterly the level crossing controls.
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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby colin1501 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:24 pm

Fascinating and informative summary, Peter - thanks. The work between Longfield and Sittingbourne will spell the end for some fairly ancient colour-light signals installed for Phase One of the Kent Coast Electrificstion scheme in 1959. Interesting to note that most of the similar equipment installed for Phase Two in 1962 was decommissioned in the early 1990s when Ashford IECC was opened. By next year, the Chatham line equipment will have been in service for 24 years longer, and 56 years in total. Time to get out with the camera!

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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby JG Morgan » Fri May 2, 2014 5:35 pm

Thank you Peter.
As one who uses part of this area at least two days a week, it's good to have more information about what's going on. Station staff at one of these places know nothing about what's happening under their noses.

To add some more information I've gathered from various sources:
(a) includes reduced headway and increased line speeds between Rochester and Longfield, reducing journey times by about 2 minutes.
(d) lengthening at Strood will be a challenge if the up loop platform is to be retained as such, because of the sharp curvature. There is no sign of any work at that end of Strood station yet. A new footbridge with lifts is being installed at the other (south) end of Strood station.
(e) the new subway was constructed to the north of the railway and pushed into place over the Easter weekend. Track was replaced over it on both up & down main lines. Part of the down loop, west of the signal box, has been lifted, but the disk ground signal controlling exit is still in place. A new signal has been installed (not yet in use) on the down main with a Left junction indicator, closer to the river bridge than ER6 which it will replace. The new station will have 12-coach platforms, rather than 10-coach at the existing station.
(f) the bay at Rainham is (I have heard) to be 12 coach length. Thus it will extend about 4 coach lengths west of the up main platform. Preparatory works suggest this may be true. A new speed limit sign has already been installed on the down main with arrow (turned sideways on to the track), in readiness for the installation of the facing cross-over to give access to the bay.
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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby colin1501 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:00 pm

Travelled down to Sittingbourne yesterday and had a look at progress so far.

There are new signals and signal bases in place at various locations between Longfield and Sittingbourne.

The new bay platform at Rainham is well advanced, although no track has been laid yet (other than the new facing crossover and connection to the up line at the London end.

At Rochester, the new signal ER6 (referred to in an earlier post) is now in use, and its predecessor has been covered up.

At Strood, the up loop appears to have been converted to a bay - there are buffer stops at the London end, but it is not clear if these are permanent or not.

Finally, for those who are interested, there are still a lot of the original 1959 colour-light signals in place, including junction signals with three-light route indicators, which must now be unique (?) on the national network. Examples can be seen at Rochester Bridge Junction, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Western and Eastern Junctions, and approaching Sittingbourne.

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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby LucaZone » Thu Nov 6, 2014 12:04 am

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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby JG Morgan » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:26 pm

I last used Strood station in daylight in late October. The conversion of the up loop to a bay appeared to me to be temporary.

Track in the new bay at Rainham is complete, including the conductor rail. I believe it is now connected to the up main.

New this week (so probably installed last weekend) is a signal near the down end of the up main platform at Rainham. This is presumably to enable trains from the coast to terminate and return towards the coast, when the line towards Gillingham is closed for engineering works. The structure is very low (no more than 8ft above platform level), so it won't be long before local apes are swinging from it. It's also a long way back from the level crossing, but work on the new bay platform includes extending the existing up main platform at the up end.
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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby JG Morgan » Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:43 pm

Having passed through Strood station in daylight on 6 Jan I can confirm that the conversion of the up loop to a bay was indeed temporary.
By that date it had been reopened as a loop. Signals had been moved to the new up end of the platform, and banner repeaters installed on the old gantry. Construction of the extension of the platform had reached the concrete deck stage - with asphalt top surface, coping stones, and "furniture" still to be done.
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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Sun Mar 8, 2015 11:56 pm

Further update:

Rochester:-

At Rochester most of the Down Siding has been removed to make way for two new platforms (Down Main and Down Platform Loop) on a widened embankment supported by steel piling. Much of the two Down platforms are in place and a lift shaft is under construction. A new cantilevered bracket signal with signals bagged over is at the London end of the new platforms. Certain signals in the Rochester area have had their signal heads renewed as four aspect (2 lens) signals but with the top lens bagged over and the signals operating as 3 aspect signals at present. The new Up Platform has yet to be built. The new station is scheduled to be complete and open by December 2015 at which time the existing station will close. However a formal consultation has to take place under the Railways Act 2005 for the closure to take place. Existing ER6 signal on a cantilevered bracket has been de-commissioned and bagged over, but remains in situ for now. A new ER6 signal has been erected London side of this former signal. This signal has a junction indicator which works for movements to the Down Platform Loop at the existing station. However once the new station has been built this will apply for movements to the Down Platform Loop at the new Rochester station instead.

A new signal gantry has been erected spanning all lines approximately 100 yards London side of the existing Rochester station. It has four new signals mounted on it, applying for Up movements, all bagged over at present.

A new crossover, trailing for normal movements, has been installed between the new station and the River Medway bridge. A new crossover, facing for normal movements, has been installed between Fort Pitt Tunnel and the existing Rochester station. Very close to the London end of Fort pitt Tunnel a new signal has been erected with a position 4 and 5 junction indicator. It would appear therefore that trains Up trains from the Chatham direction can enter any platform at the new Rochester station.

Chatham:

A new cantilever bracket signal has been erected on the Down Main between Maidstone Road bridge and Chatham Tunnel. However on the Up Main no new signal or foundation was noted. It is possible that a new signal will reuse the existing signal post. If this is the case the new signal will no longer have a junction indicator because a new signal with junction indicator has been provided on the London side of Fort Pitt Tunnel.

Gillingham:-

New signal erected at the approximate locations of the existing signals. At the country end of the station a new staff footbridge has been erected for signallers at the East Kent Signalling Centre. Also a new signal gantry spanning all lines has been erected beyond the new staff footbridge to replace the existing signals at that end of the station. In the Up Carriage reception roads new ground level signals have been provided, bagged over for now, to replace the elevated position light signals that are mounted on an old four-rail post cantilever bracket signal left over from the days of semaphore signalling. A new Up Main signal protecting the level crossing at Gillingham (Bagged over at present) has been erected country side of the existing signal and also country side of the Up Reception Roads points. (This will enable trains to be drawn up to this new signal without the need to lower the level crossing barriers first, thus reducing road traffic delays).

Rainham:-

A new signal has been erected on the Down Main on the approach to Rainham Station. The new signal is fitted with a theatre type route indicator.
A new signal has been erected on the Up Platform at Rainham for movements towards the Sittingbourne direction.
A new Up Bay platform capable of holding a 12 coach train has been completed, and this in turn has considerably extended the existing Up Platform at the London end. The new extention cannot be brought into use because part of the platform of Up Main platform cannot be installed until the existing signal A263 has been removed. A new crossover, facing for normal movements, London side of the station has been laid together with a connection leading to the new Up Bay platform.
The new signalling suggests that the Up Platform will become reversible and that Down trains from the Gillingham direction will be able to enter any of Rainham's three platforms.

I hope that is useful to somebody.
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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby DY444 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:12 pm

Roger Ford is reporting that the planned work at Easter has been scrubbed
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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby JG Morgan » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:18 pm

Peter Gibbons wrote:Further update:

Rochester:-

A new signal gantry has been erected spanning all lines approximately 100 yards London side of the existing Rochester station. It has four new signals mounted on it, applying for Up movements, all bagged over at present.

A new crossover, trailing for normal movements, has been installed between the new station and the River Medway bridge. A new crossover, facing for normal movements, has been installed between Fort Pitt Tunnel and the existing Rochester station. Very close to the London end of Fort pitt Tunnel a new signal has been erected with a position 4 and 5 junction indicator. It would appear therefore that trains Up trains from the Chatham direction can enter any platform at the new Rochester station.

...
Rainham:-

A new signal has been erected on the Down Main on the approach to Rainham Station. The new signal is fitted with a theatre type route indicator.
A new signal has been erected on the Up Platform at Rainham for movements towards the Sittingbourne direction.
A new Up Bay platform capable of holding a 12 coach train has been completed, and this in turn has considerably extended the existing Up Platform at the London end. The new extention cannot be brought into use because part of the platform of Up Main platform cannot be installed until the existing signal A263 has been removed. A new crossover, facing for normal movements, London side of the station has been laid together with a connection leading to the new Up Bay platform.
The new signalling suggests that the Up Platform will become reversible and that Down trains from the Gillingham direction will be able to enter any of Rainham's three platforms.

I hope that is useful to somebody.



Thanks for the information, Peter.
I noticed the new signal on the up main just out of Fort Pitt tunnel this week. It has a Position 1 indicator, as well as Position 4 & 5. Given its location, and the new gantry you describe with four up direction signals, my interpretation is that the new signal will give access to all four platforms at the OLD Rochester station. The new gantry will then control movements from old towards new station.
Some sections of the up loop between the old and new stations have been relaid recently.

Putting all this together, does this mean that the loops through the old station are to be retained after closure of the old station?

You will know, Peter (but other readers may not) that the extension of the up main platform at Rainham, is not (as has been reported elsewhere) to take 12 coach trains. The platforms at Rainham have been 12 coach length since electrification in 1959. The extension is to accommodate a 12 coach down train (on the up main platform) clear of the new down direction signal.
I hadn't seen the theatre-type indicator on the new signal on the down main approaching Rainham, but would agree with your interpretation that the up main becomes reversible through Rainham station. Can you explain why a theatre-type indicator is used, rather than Position 4 & 5 junction indicators?
And will the new signalling allow a train from the coast to terminate at Rainham (up platform) and return?
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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby John Hinson » Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:31 am

DY444 wrote:Roger Ford is reporting that the planned work at Easter has been scrubbed

Not sure who Roger Ford is - does Network Rail know?
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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:04 am

John Hinson wrote:
DY444 wrote:Roger Ford is reporting that the planned work at Easter has been scrubbed

Not sure who Roger Ford is - does Network Rail know?
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Photo: 24/2/15 John Hinson

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I can confirm (27 March 2015) that the Easter commissioning has been postponed.
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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby JRB » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:21 am

Roger Ford is the leading writer in Modern Railways on current developments. He is often first with news.
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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby E D Mann » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:36 am

The internal emails went out on March 24th.

An even bigger shambles when you consider that it was 'only' Rochester, Gillingham, Rainham and the mainline part of Sittingbourne that were due to move into EKSC over Easter. The Sheerness branch and the Medway Valley had already slipped to August 2015 and August 2016 respectively (and will now undoubtedly be further delayed). Sittingbourne was to remain open for a few more months to control Kemsley - Sheerness.

Main problem now is the lack of alternative commissioning slots. Suggestion is the testers are already committed over Christmas, so at present it's looking like Easter 2016. And of course, the new Rochester station cannot be completed until the present 'box is demolished...
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Re: East Kent Resignalling Scheme Phase 2 and associated wor

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:25 pm

E D Mann wrote:The internal emails went out on March 24th.

An even bigger shambles when you consider that it was 'only' Rochester, Gillingham, Rainham and the mainline part of Sittingbourne that were due to move into EKSC over Easter. The Sheerness branch and the Medway Valley had already slipped to August 2015 and August 2016 respectively (and will now undoubtedly be further delayed). Sittingbourne was to remain open for a few more months to control Kemsley - Sheerness.

Main problem now is the lack of alternative commissioning slots. Suggestion is the testers are already committed over Christmas, so at present it's looking like Easter 2016. And of course, the new Rochester station cannot be completed until the present 'box is demolished...

What did you expect after the xmas 2014 commissioning overrun fiasco? No company in its right mind is going to have its reputation dragged through the mire following that.

Personally I think you will soon start to see a move away fron Bank Holiday commissionings into more weekday blockades which are easier to manage. Anyway thats not a subject for this topic or this forum.
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