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Luton 8 Nov 2016

Current and future British signalling (UK except Northern Ireland)

Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby JG Morgan » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:38 pm

Can anybody on the Forum tell us more about what happened at Luton on Tuesday this week?
National Rail reports that
"On Tuesday afternoon, damage was caused to the overhead wires between Luton and London St Pancras International. Network Rail were able to fix the wires, but a signalling problem occurred as a result of this damage."

A picture provided by Network Rail https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cw07FYKW8AAI0cg.jpg:large looks rather like the south end of Luton station.
http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk ... d-progress contains lots of waffle, but not much real information.

What damage was done to the signalling system, and why is it taking three days (or more) to fix?

What can / cannot be done in the way of train operation in the mean time?
The train service has been greatly reduced, but even the reduced service is severely delayed through the area.

Thameslink are not running through the core. Is there any signalling reason why they could not run from south London through to terminate at Kentish Town, West Hampstead, Cricklewood or St Albans?
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby Danny252 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:12 pm

It was reported elsewhere that the OHLE problems also resulted in damage to the TDM system (which was described as "wrecked") handling communication between West Hampstead PSB and Luton, taking out all signalling controls and indications for at least the Luton area.
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:39 pm

Well I heard a railway spokesman (might have the been the TOC more probably Network Rail) telling journalists yesterday that the signalling was 24v and the 25kV got into it.
I got the impression quite a lot of kit had been fried.
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby JRB » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:45 pm

If it's still the old Westronic and it has been given 25kV, it won't be easy to fix. Spares may need specially manufacturing. It just depends on exactly what was destroyed.
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby Mad Mac » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:26 am

There's been some discussion on this in the "social media". Apparently the system there is TDM 69, and a lot of spares became available when Sheffield closed, but the wiring at Luton has been damaged. The West Hampstead job was seemingly built "on the cheap" with next to no provision of override or emergency panels.
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby JRB » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:59 am

Lack of override may have been cost cutting, but emergency panels were out of fashion because of lack of anyone to operate them. Earlier ones had been installed then never used in anger.
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby Sharpey » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:15 am

The West Hampstead area as built and on the whole still does use TDM 69 VF for control of the remote interlockings, which in some cases were duplicated and in others did have overrides provided contrary to what is being written. At Luton these overrides were also selective for the Slow lines to allow for (as I recall) straight running or using the turn back.
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby Bob Davies » Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:05 pm

Looking at my West Hampstead signalman's handbook, I can confirm that the Luton interlocking was not provided with duplicate TDM systems but did have selective override as follows:
Signal 299 (Down Slow "home") to Down Slow (Platform 3) or Up and Down Platform Loop (Platform 2);
Signals 302 (Up Slow (Platform 1) "starter") and 304 (Up Slow "home") to Up Slow or Signal 478 (Up and Down Platform Loop (Platform 2) "Starter") to Up Slow.

Only the St. Pancras, Kentish Town and Bedford interlockings had duplicate TDM systems and the whole Finchley Road/Cricklewood area was of course on the West Hampstead local interlocking.

Emergency panels were never a feature on the LM Region from the 60's onwards for precisely the reason JRB has described. Warrington/Preston/Carlisle certainly did not have them and I struggle to think of any remote relay rooms on Euston/Willesden/Watford/Bletchley/Rugby that were so equipped. (Relay rooms on Warrington/Preston/Carlisle had something that looked like it was an emergency panel but it was in fact only a fault-finding aid for the technicians.)
Last edited by Bob Davies on Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby scarpa » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:21 pm

25kv catenary disconnections and earth faults can cause unpredictable damage to signalling . When thieves removed sections of Return Conductor along the Upminster to Ockendon single line the first train travelling along the line caused the relay room equipment to be totally destroyed. With the planned ROC s being introduced it was said a nominated ROC could take over another ROC in the event of it being not operative. Would this be practicable and will provision be made for this to happen?
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby John Webb » Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:56 pm

One item of news I read on the UKRail forum was to the effect a signalling cable had somehow dropped off a signalling gantry onto the OLE, hence allowing 25kV into the signalling system.

While working at St Albans South on Wednesday afternoon, the Slow line trains were using the turnback siding. There were East Midlands trains running on the fast lines, but less frequently than usual.
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:15 am

All of the West Hampstead area relay rooms had technicians panels (Diagrams only). These showed signal 'First Filament Failures' for the local area, status of the TDM systems and if a Westpac Geographical Interlocking unit was in use or not (i.e. had a route set through it). No ability for local control then. Bob Davies is correct about the TDM selective overide facilities and many years ago (too many to mention now) I had seen all of them in operation together on one day when a major failure occured and all of the TDM systems failed at once. But, try running trains when the whole panel goes blank :shock:
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby Nicko » Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:18 pm

Filament failures were only shown on techs panel at West Hampstead. When I was tech for area overrides and duplicate tdms were tested every Sunday night .

I was also involved in a similar failure at Willesden where a redundant signalling cable came I contact with 25 Kv . This totally destroyed the adjacent location case which took us 48 hrs to rebuild and test. The root cause was found to be the fact that the ole structure bond was missing from signal gantry,
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby RobMorel » Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:57 am

So in this 'Digital Railway' age, out with the flags and Temporary Block Working tickets with TBW introduced on 3 of 4 lines with peak direction of 3rd line changed to Morning or Evening Peak flow between Harpenden and Leagrave station, an 8 mile section passing 10 signal sections. 50 mph with 2 station calls in the mix.
Unable to TBW on all 4 lines as no position of safety for Handsignaller in 10 foot area between UF/DS. This went without incident with each servic averiging 25 minutes through section.
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So why 50 mph ? The points are secured by clip scotch and lock, the route setting agent has walked each route and confirmed setting, 1st train over at 15mph to confirm
why not 60 70 line speed ??
In this case almost station to station working, are 'we' doing 50 mph because ' it's always been done like that' or is it time for change..
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Same with single line working - 50 mph in wrong direction but right direction is line speed....... thoughts ??
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby RobMorel » Sun Nov 13, 2016 12:18 pm

Somewhat ironically the day before (Monday 7th) the launch of a new command structure for incidents like this was introduced over Bed-Pan route
(acronym alert!) with the following staff being tasked:
TPIC - Technical Person In Charge
MMIC- Maintenance Manager In Charge
OMIC- Operations Manager In Charge
RIO - Rail Incident Officer
Tactical Commander (not known as a TC for obvious signalling related reference)
All the above deployed with RIO stood down after flashover fire under control at station area.

Heres what the situation looked like from the operating floor
http://bed-pan.homestead.com/LutonTDM.JPG courtesy of the OMIC.
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Re: Luton 8 Nov 2016

Unread postby Fast Line Floyd » Sun Nov 13, 2016 6:39 pm

An emergency panel at Luton would have made little difference initially as these was still the problem of the damaged loc preventing normal working from such a panel and as the emergency panels do not has SPT's the additional risk of the West Hampstead Signaller talking a train past a signal at danger after (or perhaps before) the route had been set up on the emergency panel doesn't bare thinking about.
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