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Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

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

Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby AndyB » Tue Nov 1, 2016 6:12 pm

Tomorrow will see the final trains signalled under ETB regulations on NIR.

Castlerock Down loop was taken out of use this morning at 00:11, with all down trains being handsignalled through the Up platform today and tomorrow. The last trains to cross yesterday were the 17:33 ex Londonderry and 17:55 ex Coleraine - the 17:55 ex Coleraine and 16:13 ex Londonderry are bustituted today and tomorrow to eliminate the need for the loop.

The last passenger services through Castlerock tomorrow will be the 17:10 from Great Victoria Street and the 19:33 from Londonderry. The set off the 17:10 from Great Victoria Street will follow the 19:33 empty to Belfast, and the line will be closed behind it to Antrim, ending regular manual signalling. The Portrush branch will be closed behind the 23:03 to Portrush, and finally the line from Coleraine to Antrim will be closed behind the set off the 22:50 ex Belfast (assuming all trains are cleared to Belfast unless they keep one or two for commissioning work.)

Control of the line from Slaght level crossing to Londonderry is being transferred from the present NX panels at Coleraine and Londonderry and lever frame at Castlerock to a new VDU signalling centre in Coleraine station in stages. The line from Antrim to Coleraine will reopen on 7 November, then to Portrush (OTW by sequential track circuit operation, with Portrush cabin being retained as a ground frame operating all existing signals and turnouts) on 14 November, and finally the line to Londonderry including the new loop at Bellarena on Sunday 20th November.

No signal bases have been placed at Castlerock to protect the level crossing, which will continue to be MCB (upgraded to CCTV) yet - apparently this is all being done during the closure while the contractors have the platforms sealed off. Bellarena will also be CCTV (currently AHB).

Although Portrush is being retained, it will only be operated on busy days or when trains require to be run round, and the line will be operated by pilotman in that situation. Presumably the Annett's key will be retained in Coleraine - its present role is to bypass the Line Clear release requirement on the branch starter route from the Coleraine platforms.

Downpatrick hopes to run ETB over some of its single lines in the future, but in the meantime tomorrow will pass into history as the last day of traditional safeworking on NIR.
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby AndyB » Wed Nov 2, 2016 8:12 pm

BBC and ITV stories:

https://www.facebook.com/BBCNewsline/vi ... cation=ufi
http://www.itv.com/news/utv/update/2016 ... y-signals/

Includes confirmation that Downpatrick is getting the equipment.
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby hussra » Wed Nov 2, 2016 10:31 pm

"OTW with pilotman if you want to use the frame at the end of the branch" is a new one on me! Ingenious. Was wondering what would happen to Portrush.
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby AndyB » Thu Nov 3, 2016 12:35 pm

Yeah, because it's going to be by sequential track circuit operation. Even if axle counters are provided at a later stage, pilotworking will be required for any occasion when trains will be stabled at Portrush.

Portrush will be resignalled eventually, but no work has been done at this time until the future of the station is settled, ie will it continue to be on the present site, number of platforms, and runround facilities etc. I think OTW was chosen over continuing with tablet working to avoid the nuisance of having to integrate the No.6 machines into the new system and having an Annett's lock bypass for the Line Clear release on the branch advanced starter, which was the arrangement on the old NX panel. Short version - either the Annett's key was in the lock in Coleraine cabin or it was in the locked lever in Portrush cabin.

Similarly, the 1980 Waterside station has been transferred to the new VDU system wholesale rather than wasting money making alterations when the station is due to revert to the NCC site in the next few years and changes will be needed then anyway.
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby hussra » Thu Nov 3, 2016 1:46 pm

Yes, understood - an ingenious way out of the conundrum for now.
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby hussra » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:15 pm

Is this (Portrush branch) the first application of One Train Working (without a staff) in Ireland?
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby Wilkinstown » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:45 pm

There is also one train working between Waterford West and platform 5 in Waterford, controlled, I believe by axle counters at the entrance.
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby hussra » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:32 am

Wilkinstown wrote:There is also one train working between Waterford West and platform 5 in Waterford, controlled, I believe by axle counters at the entrance.

Thanks - had missed that one. Though if there's an axle counter at the entrance perhaps that makes it effectively TCB rather than OTW? (The difference being that in OTW the system knows from the sequence of track circuit occupancy that something went into the section, and something came out again, and so we infer that the section is now clear; whereas with the axle counters we count 'em all in and count 'em all out again, with apologies to the late Brian Hanrahan.)
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby Wilkinstown » Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:14 pm

It is not officially described as One Train working but I would contend that that is exactly what it is, but with the advantage that if anything is left behind, another train can not be signalled into the section.
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby baconandeggs » Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:57 pm

hussra wrote:Thanks - had missed that one. Though if there's an axle counter at the entrance perhaps that makes it effectively TCB rather than OTW? (The difference being that in OTW the system knows from the sequence of track circuit occupancy that something went into the section, and something came out again, and so we infer that the section is now clear; whereas with the axle counters we count 'em all in and count 'em all out again, with apologies to the late Brian Hanrahan.)


For a few years I worked at Petone, a box in Wellington New Zealand. The box controlled trains on and off the 3km Melling Branch. The trains operated under OTW although it was not described as such.

For normal moves the signalman could rely on the signalling to protect trains. However if there was a non-standard move the signalling could not be relied on. In one situation a signal could be cleared onto the Branch occupied.

See

http://valleysignals.org.nz/petone/peto ... ities.html

I have glanced quickly at the page. I note that some text is missing in the video test train section. I am about to head off and pick up my granddaughter. Tonight I will correct the page.
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:13 pm

I'm a little confused here.
Are we talking about a single axle counter counting a train into a section and also acting as the exit counter counting the same train back out again?
This logic is OK as long as we are talking about fixed formation trains, but clearly causes a problem if we detach vehicles somewhere on the single track branch

Or do we mean axle counters at both ends of the section?
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby baconandeggs » Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:58 pm

baconandeggs wrote:For a few years I worked at Petone, a box in Wellington New Zealand. The box controlled trains on and off the 3km Melling Branch. The trains operated under OTW although it was not described as such.


While I was at Petone Box I was fortunate to acquire a roll of plans. I have created a web page describing the Melling Branch signalling circuits.

http://valleysignals.org.nz/petone/petone_mbr.html

Note that although I have a technical background I am not a signal engineer. However I believe that my interpretation of the circuits is correct. The explanation matches my operating experience.

While at Petone I had one (possibly two) wrong side failures. They were confirmed by the signal maintainers so were not my imagination :D The page briefly explain the failures.

I suspect that when this signalling was installed it was a cost cutting measure because it was assumed that the Branch would eventually close. However I have no evidence that this was the case.
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Re: Farewell to manual signalling on NIR

Unread postby Wilkinstown » Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:10 pm

Mike Hodgson wrote:I'm a little confused here.
Are we talking about a single axle counter counting a train into a section and also acting as the exit counter counting the same train back out again?
This logic is OK as long as we are talking about fixed formation trains, but clearly causes a problem if we detach vehicles somewhere on the single track branch

Or do we mean axle counters at both ends of the section?


In the NIR case it is conventional OTW which suspended and replaced by pilot working if more than one train is required to be on the Coleraine to Portrush branch.

In the Irish Rail case there is a section of single track from Waterford West to Waterford station (now a dead end with just one platform). Entry to the single line is controlled by the section signal at Waterford West which can only be cleared if the line between the signal and the buffer stops at Waterford is unoccupied. My understanding is that there is an axle counter at the starting signal and that the signal can not be cleared again until all the axles counted in have been counted out again.
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