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ETS - Banking staffs and current levels of use

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

ETS - Banking staffs and current levels of use

Unread postby AndyB » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:50 am

Reading about intermediate instruments in Australia reminded me of the Birdhill-Nenagh arrangements introduced in 2008 to allow trains to split at Nenagh and head both towards Birdhill and Roscrea at the same time, the Nenagh cabin having been reduced to a shunter's frame in the late 1980s or early 1990s - so I dug up the February 2009 edition of the IRRS Journal.

Irish Rail considered conventional banking staff apparatus, but discovered that the only one available in the IRRS archive was only compatible with large type ETS - problematic when all lines use only S type ETS, the last remaining large staff as I write being used to lock Roscrea A frame (see Simon Lowe's article here - the instrument is still in Roscrea cabin despite not having a partner, so goodness knows what happens if some numpty tries using it!)

They resorted to Fortress keys interlocked with the Birdhill-Roscrea section instruments - four staffs kept at Birdhill have (hinged) keys to release the "one direction token" from its lock, and the hand generator has been replaced by one which can generate AC as well as the conventional DC. Withdrawing the one direction token keeps the ETS instruments out of phase even when the staff is returned to the Roscrea instrument, while bell signals, normally locked out under banking staff arrangements, can be exchanged using AC (essential for TES, OOS and emergency signals.)

The Ballybrophy-bound train usually reaches Roscrea before the Limerick-bound train reaches Birdhill, and the Roscrea signalman returns the ETS with a key back on the next train.

Irish Rail did consider bringing Nenagh cabin back into use as a block post or bringing it under Birdhill, but with only two trains a day it wasn't economic to do either. Even to make Nenagh a part time block post using switching out apparatus recycled from the Rosslare line would have run into the problem of needing Nenagh-Roscrea to have staff balancing far too often.

What has been used for banking staffs with 'M' and 'S' type staffs elsewhere?

A note - Simon says in his article that the Roscrea instruments are believed to have been the last remaining working large type ETS instruments in use in Western Europe. Oliver Doyle and Stephen Hirsch record in their 1985 Railway Lines of CIE and NIR that large instruments were in use Tuam-Tuam Beet Factory Sidings and Tuam BFS-Claremorris in 1985. Cobh Junction is known to have still had its instrument for Midleton until it was reopened under TCB, but it wasn't clear whether the equivalent instrument was still in place at Midleton as late as 1988 when the last passenger trains ran to Midleton before closure - the Working Timetable shows that the Cobh Junction-Midleton was operated by ETS, with manual staff to Youghal. All hangs on when Roscrea 'B' closed, because Doyle and Hirsch don't record it!
Last edited by AndyB on Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Banking staff for S type ETS

Unread postby Pete2320 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:42 am

This link:
http://www.rrsignalpix.com/pdf/S&B_Cat_C_sec.pdf
includes details of 'S' type banking staffs and many other fascinating devices for use with 'S' type instruments. Can't help with 'M' type but suspect similar would be available.
A note - Simon says in his article that the Roscrea instruments are believed to have been the last remaining working large type ETS instruments in use in Western Europe.

Large type ETS machines are still used on the Ffestiniog Railway as short section staffs Minffordd to Rhiwgoch and Rhiwgoch to Tan-y-Bwlch. The FfR is probably now the largest user of ETS in Western Europe, maybe even the world with more to be installed on the Welsh Highland section eventually.

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Re: Banking staff for S type ETS

Unread postby MRFS » Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:51 pm

AndyB wrote:A note - Simon says in his article that the Roscrea instruments are believed to have been the last remaining working large type ETS instruments in use in Western Europe.


I have also seen this note made with the rejoinder of 'last non-heritage' installation. I would argue that the FR isn't heritage (nor is the Talyllyn) as they never closed. In fact with the FR some of the M pattern instruments are still working where they were installed in 1921.

I would venture to suggest that the FR is the last place in the world where there are working single and twin column L ETS.
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Re: Banking staff for S type ETS

Unread postby stevej » Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:03 am

G'day Andy, Pete and MRFS,
Very interesting.
I have saved the Canadian PDF to my usb stick to study in depth at home.
It is indeed heartening to discover how wide spread around the globe ETS was.
Just a shame that it has all but vanished today.
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Re: Banking staff for S type ETS

Unread postby AndyB » Sat Jul 30, 2016 12:01 pm

Pete2320 wrote:Large type ETS machines are still used on the Ffestiniog Railway as short section staffs Minffordd to Rhiwgoch and Rhiwgoch to Tan-y-Bwlch. The FfR is probably now the largest user of ETS in Western Europe, maybe even the world with more to be installed on the Welsh Highland section eventually.

How many sections, Pete? Irish ones remaining are Killonan-Birdhill, Birdhill-Roscrea, Roscrea-Ballybrophy (for through trains, otherwise used as manual staff), Tipperary-Clonmel, Clonmel-Carrick-on-Suir,Carrick-on-Suir-Waterford West, possibly Navan-Tara mines (rarely used for years, if the instruments are still there they are kept out of phase with a single staff padlocked to the mantlepiece in Navan cabin), and theoretically Waterford Central (for Barrow Bridge)-Wellington Bridge (pretty much irrelevant given the damage caused by the landslide on 31 December 2013) and Wellington-Bridge-Rosslare Strand (for Grange Big) although both have been worked by pilotman since closure to passenger services.
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Re: Banking staff for S type ETS

Unread postby JRB » Sat Jul 30, 2016 2:31 pm

Aren't the Irish ones miniature?
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Re: Banking staff for S type ETS

Unread postby AndyB » Sat Jul 30, 2016 4:26 pm

Yes, S type rather than M type. Just wondering if we had more ETS instruments in use in total :)

(the great thing about S type is that they can be attached to carrier hoops - they're belted in)
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Re: Banking staff for S type ETS

Unread postby MRFS » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:53 pm

The Festiniog/WHR combine has the following in use
2 L Pattern 2 column terminals
2 L Pattern 1 column terminals
4 S pattern terminals
1 S pattern intermediate
6 M pattern terminals
3 M pattern intermediate (one converted from a 1919 terminal; one converted from a non-FR origin intermediate).
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Re: Banking staff for S type ETS

Unread postby AndyB » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:26 pm

It's interesting that you use intermediate instruments (and I think I'll rename this thread a little later!) because Ireland followed the same model as Canada, which was the identical pattern secondary pair of instruments, which I think may still be in use for Nenagh, and is as simple as an odd number of staffs ensuring that at least one set of instruments is always out of phase.

It was also used for Navan-Tara Junction, where both the Tara and Kingscourt (manual) staffs were required to operate the ground frame, but the junction is no longer connected and the Kingscourt staff no longer lives in its lock behind the frame in Navan cabin.

I'll count up the instruments in Ireland later.
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Re: ETS - Banking staffs and current levels of use

Unread postby AndyB » Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:18 pm

Ok, here we go.

Ireland has only S pattern in use, and as far as I can tell, these are they:

Navan 2 (including subsidiary)
Tara Mines 1
Limerick Check 1
Foynes 1 (presumed)
Waterford Central 1 (presumed)
Wellington Bridge 2
Rosslare Strand 1
Tipperary 1
Clonmel 2
Carrick-on-Suir 2
Waterford West 1
Killonan 1
Birdhill 4 (I believe two subsidiary instruments for Nenagh and Silvermines, but Silvermines is disconnected)
Nenagh 1
Ballybrophy 1
... makes 22?
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Re: ETS - Banking staffs and current levels of use

Unread postby MRFS » Sun Jul 31, 2016 11:24 pm

Ireland used several intermediate instruments.
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Re: ETS - Banking staffs and current levels of use

Unread postby AndyB » Mon Aug 1, 2016 12:03 pm

I found that on Google - I think it was a post by yourself on another site about CIE switching to GNR practice of using subsidiaries in the 70s or something?
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Re: Banking staff for S type ETS

Unread postby Pete2320 » Mon Aug 1, 2016 11:14 pm

MRFS wrote:The Festiniog/WHR combine has the following in use
2 L Pattern 2 column terminals
2 L Pattern 1 column terminals
4 S pattern terminals
1 S pattern intermediate
6 M pattern terminals
3 M pattern intermediate (one converted from a 1919 terminal; one converted from a non-FR origin intermediate).

I think you are two M pattern terminals short there and interesting that you seem to be including the experimental Pont Croesor- Beddgelert "Micro ETS" instruments although these have never been used to control trains.

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Re: Banking staff for S type ETS

Unread postby MRFS » Tue Aug 2, 2016 11:46 am

Pete2320 wrote: I think you are two M pattern terminals short there and interesting that you seem to be including the experimental Pont Croesor- Beddgelert "Micro ETS" instruments although these have never been used to control trains.


Port - Min = 2 M + 1I at BL
Min - TyB = 2 M + 1I at RG
Min - RG = 2 L
RG - TyB = 2 L
TyB - TyG = 2 S + 1I at Ddu
TyG - BlFf = 2 M + 1I at GyP


PC - Bedd = 2 S; always used in parallel.
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Re: Banking staff for S type ETS

Unread postby Pete2320 » Tue Aug 2, 2016 9:46 pm

MRFS wrote:
Pete2320 wrote: I think you are two M pattern terminals short there and interesting that you seem to be including the experimental Pont Croesor- Beddgelert "Micro ETS" instruments although these have never been used to control trains.


Port - Min = 2 M + 1I at BL
Min - TyB = 2 M + 1I at RG
Min - RG = 2 L
RG - TyB = 2 L
TyB - TyG = 2 S + 1I at Ddu
TyG - BlFf = 2 M + 1I at GyP


PC - Bedd = 2 S; always used in parallel.

Yes you're quite right. Somehow I was thinking of an extra M section with no intermediate---duh!
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