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Single line control Europe

Signalling outside the UK (but including Northern Ireland), past, present and future

Single line control Europe

Unread postby scarpa » Sat Jul 23, 2016 4:53 pm

When Great Britain had colonies and owned railways in other countries Single Line Control Instruments similar to those that operated in the UK were provided,be it Tablet,Staff or Token. Did any railways in Europe,Scandanavia ,North America or Canada employ Single Line control systems the same as the U.K.? Using British made equipment.
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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby JRB » Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:03 pm

I have seen British miniature staff instruments (museum status) in Denmark & Sweden, also in Canada (usually with US rather than GB for signalling).
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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby Ulf Pålsson » Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:26 pm

In Sweden, electric token instruments from Webb-Thompson were in use in the early 20th century but only on a few single line sections of the narrow gauge (0,891 m = 3 Swedish feet) Stockholm–Roslagens järnväg, SRJ. The system is described in a book for railway staff about signals and operations, printed in 1912. The system was not in use during many years -– it was abolished in the late 1910s or possibly in the beginning of the 1920s, when the railway went back to use the traditional telegraph block system (simply exchanging Morse telegraph messages), in use in Sweden since the 1870s and which later became the telephone block system still used today on some secondary lines.

“The main advantage of electric token the system”, the 1912 book says, “is the total safety against head-on-collisions on the open line, and also that less qualified staff can be used at the meeting/crossing stations” (since they did not have to be able to use the Morse telegraph.) “The system has some disadvantages. Especially annoying is the difficulty to exchange tokens at stations where the train is not booked to stop …”

The book also says that the Webb-Thompson’s system is used “mostly in Russia, especially on the lines in Asia”. “It is also used in England and its colonies and in South America, mainly in Argentina.”

I am not aware of any use of the electric token block or similar systems in other parts of the Nordic countries.
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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby klas blomberg » Sun Aug 7, 2016 7:53 pm

It seems as if Latvia used some sort in British inspired instruments
http://www.railwaymuseum.lv/en/content/staff-instruments-traffic-safety
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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby guard_jamie » Mon Aug 8, 2016 6:02 am

I visited the St. Petersburg railway museum in Russia last year and there were several instruments on display that were clearly token instruments.
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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby Richard Lemon » Mon Aug 8, 2016 6:55 am

Those Latvian instruments look fascinating - anyone got any idea as to what they are?

As a generalisation, mainland Europe did not use tokens, although there were certainly exceptions. In France, "Baton Pilote" (one train staff) was used on some minor branch lines - and was used on the C f de la Mure until its tragic closure. This was a form of Staff and Ticket.

One of the lines of the Provence used a strange electric staff apparatus at one stage (Chassin).

In general, telephone block or simply working to timetable was the norm. Now, most lines have something more sophisticated.

I hope this is of a little help, but it perhaps muddies the waters!!!

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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby Andrew Waugh » Mon Aug 8, 2016 12:05 pm

Webb & Thompson large electric staffs were used in the US. The first section was a three mile section across the Mississippi in 1894. The first instruments were imported, but the US&S took up the patents. One of their signal engineers, Thomas Patenall, developed a miniature instrument in 1900 specifically to allow the exchange of staffs at speed by mechanical exchangers. I believe this instrument inspired the RSCo to develop their own miniature version. Electric staff in the US was always used in special circumstances. Typically it was used on single lines that had too many movements to be safely controlled by train orders. The SP had an extensive installation over their famous Donner Pass line. In this case, the reason for its use was that the line was in extensive wooden snow sheds which were fire traps in summer. Movement by staff allowed a train to back up in the section if a snow shed was found to be on fire! The last Patenall electric staff instrument is (or was) in a museum in the UK - associated with one of the Welsh narrow gauge lines, from memory. It came from the RSCo.

Canada used M and S pattern instruments. That they used UK instruments, not US, could be either due to licensing, Empire trade preference, or simply that when they went in the US wasn't producing their style of instruments anymore.

The US also used the simple train staff. On the SP, it was used to control very minor branch lines. The staff would be kept in a lock up box at the entrance to the branch line. Possession of the staff allowed occupancy of the branch line. Again, this was to reduce the workload on the despatcher. The train could disappear up one of these line and the despatcher didn't need to worry about it until it returned.

Egypt (not normally thought of as a British colony) used electric staff (and probably still does). Indeed, the last instruments manufactured were for that country.
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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby Andrew Waugh » Mon Aug 8, 2016 12:32 pm

Richard Lemon wrote:Those Latvian instruments look fascinating - anyone got any idea as to what they are?


Bob Taaffe has studied them - including opening up those particular instruments to see how they worked. He calls them 'Tregar' instruments after the designer. From the outside they have obvious similarities to the US Patenall instruments. They were in use across the communist block, including China. This might suggest that they were the most common staff instrument of all. Another source indicates that in 1920, 90% of the open lines in the Soviet Union were operated by Tregar instruments.
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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby MRFS » Mon Aug 8, 2016 1:10 pm

Andrew Waugh wrote: The last Patenall electric staff instrument is (or was) in a museum in the UK - associated with one of the Welsh narrow gauge lines, from memory. It came from the RSCo.


I think it's at Bettws-y-Coed. Are you sure about the RSCo source? Not that I doubt, you but it does make sense.

Andrew Waugh wrote:Canada used M and S pattern instruments. That they used UK instruments, not US, could be either due to licensing, Empire trade preference, or simply that when they went in the US wasn't producing their style of instruments anymore.


Funnily enough; given your second post: I was digging something out for Bob Taaffe, and found a Canadian catalogue for staff instruments the other day. Agents for Saxby and Farmer.

Andrew Waugh wrote:Egypt (not normally thought of as a British colony) used electric staff (and probably still does). Indeed, the last instruments manufactured were for that country.


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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby Richard Lemon » Mon Aug 8, 2016 5:24 pm

Are Patenall instruments what I know as Union Switch and Signal Co??

There certainly used to be one in the Betws-y-Coed Museum. The museum is just a museum, not associated with an actual line.
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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby Pete2320 » Mon Aug 8, 2016 10:54 pm

Andrew Waugh wrote:Egypt (not normally thought of as a British colony) used electric staff (and probably still does). Indeed, the last instruments manufactured were for that country.

When was that? Presumably "S" type.

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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby JRB » Mon Aug 8, 2016 11:18 pm

Egypt was very much under British influence when the railways were equipped. Many of the mechanical boxes were British.
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Re: Single line control Europe

Unread postby Andrew Waugh » Tue Aug 9, 2016 12:09 am

Richard Lemon wrote:Are Patenall instruments what I know as Union Switch and Signal Co??


Yes.

The patents are all available on line:
720057/1903 (Hoop for staff exchanger)
720058/1903 (Catching and delivering apparatus - i.e. loco apparatus)
720059/1903 (High speed train staff crane - i.e. ground apparatus)
720961/1903 (Staff lock for point lever)
743325/1903 (Another Staff lock for point lever)
777971/1904 (Staff instrument, mark 1. Note the patent application was file in April 1902)
792922/1905 (Intermediate electric staff instrument. Note the patent application is in 1904)
794423/1905 (Staff instrument, mark 2. Note this is the type of instrument at Betws-y-Coed)
805026/1905 (Interlocked bank engine key)
991072/1911 (Composite staff for permissive working)
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