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Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulations

Signalling on heritage railways

Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby Martin Shaw » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:26 pm

Jamie wrote
The reasoning behind the rule change that the leading locomotive now carries the token was brought in to maintain uniformity between double heading with two crews and double heading with diesel locomotives worked in multiple by one crew.


Pete wrote
It is also conforming to current practice on Main Line railways.


This is all well and good, but on my railway we quite often top and tail with steam locos. On 50% of occasions, depending on where the box is located, one of the drivers isn't going to see the staff/tablet/token. With my engine drivers hat on, I'm certainly not going to proceed on the dubious basis that I hope the other driver has the token. A backward step in my opinion.

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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:42 pm

The traditional rule book required the token be shown to the other drivers, although clearly they could not all carry a token!

I see no reason why that aspect of the rule should change, although it is clearly less convenient at certain stations if you have to walk the whole length of a long train before the ends up with the driver who is supposed to have it. I don't see the consequent delay as a big issue given the leisurely nature of most heritage lines.
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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby push-pull » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:12 am

Swanage Railway - Update

Corfe Castle,Norden Gates and Wareham - Block working arrangements.

Corfe Castle to Norden Gates Crossing GF - NST (Green)
Norden Gates Crossing GF to Worgret Jct - NST (Yellow)
Worgret Jct to Wareham - Track Circuit Block with axle-counters (supervised by Basingstoke Area Signaling Centre - Poole to Wool Panel "Track Circuit Block" Regulations - GERT8000TS2)

Token Instruments and indicators

NST instruments are installed at CE signal box and Norden Gates Crossing GF for the Corfe Castle-Norden Gates section.
NST instruments are installed at Norden Gates Crossing GF and Wareham Up and Down platforms for the Norden Gates-Worgret Jct section.
The CE signalman is the only person permitted to authorise the release or replacement of tokens in any of these 5 instruments.

Level Crossings from Norden Gates Crossing GF to Worgret Jnc.

Eldon's(UWC),Norden Heath(UWC), Cats Eye(UWC), Creech Bottom(UWC),Tidmore(UWC), none have telephones


Lines worked by Electric Token/Tablet
Driver to be in possession of token
""Where there are two or more locomotives the Token must be carried by the leading locomotive".

M
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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby guard_jamie » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:13 am

Martin Shaw wrote:With my engine drivers hat on, I'm certainly not going to proceed on the dubious basis that I hope the other driver has the token. A backward step in my opinion.

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Martin


Your faith in your fellow drivers is remarkable! :D
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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby John Hinson » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:46 am

I've known them go with the wrong token on a preserved line. I chucked it in an empty guard's brake on the next working back and nobody was the wiser.

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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:47 pm

"A driver will render himself liable to to dismissal if he leaves a token station without the token..." carries rather less weight if you are paying him anyway.
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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby Jack30A » Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:54 am

I'm a bit puzzled as to why the convention seems to have developed that when people talk about "worked by Absolute Block", they assume such working can only be done on double track or multiple track lines?

A while back, I did some background reading on the development of block working, and the efforts of the Railway Inspectorate officers to persuade railway companies to adopt it, culminating in the Regulation of Railways Act, 1889.

What came out of that was that, when the Railway Inspecting officers talked about block working, they meant that only one train should be allowed into any one section at a time, and that until that train had cleared to section, no other train should be allowed into that section. I was unable to find any reference, either in books written by members of the Institute of Railway Signalling Engineers, nor in references to the 1889 Act, which mentions the number of tracks.

Further, if you look at the way railways operate, from the WCML right down to a miniature railway in a park, giving children rides for 50p a go, every one of them operates on the basis of Absolute Block - i.e., never more than one train in a section at a time.

I grant you, there are an abundance of different ways of achieving compliance with the 1889 Act; automatic signals controlled by track circuits, trains having to be offered and accepted using BR penguins or their earlier equivalents, tokens released by the signalman at the other end of the section, and so on and so forth - right down to 'one engine in steam'. All of those methods, regardless of whether there are two or more tracks or only one, meet the essential requirement laid down in the 1889 Act for trains carrying fare-paying passengers - only one train in section at a time!

So why is that so many people (including the Signals Inspector on a large heritage line) try to tell me that "Absolute Block can only be worked on multi-track lines!" ?

As I see it, there are only two fundamental systems of working; Permissive Block, which can only be used on lines which never, ever carry passenger traffic (not even occasionally), and Absolute Block, which the law insists has to be used on every passenger carrying line, even if the train being worked is a goods train.

Mind, I'm open to correction. If anyone knows of an OFFICIAL ruling or law which says absolute block is a term only applicable to multi-track lines, please let me know. Up until now, I've never seen one.

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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby Danny252 » Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:30 am

Might I perhaps suggest that this should be split off into a different topic?

Jack30A wrote:As I see it, there are only two fundamental systems of working; Permissive Block, which can only be used on lines which never, ever carry passenger traffic (not even occasionally), and Absolute Block, which the law insists has to be used on every passenger carrying line, even if the train being worked is a goods train.

What about Passenger Permissive?
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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:46 am

It was the Board of Trade's Requirements & Recommendations that insisted on methods such as Train Staff, Staff &Ticket, ETS etc on single lines. So although these were generally supplemented by AB's offer/acceptance procedure using instruments, this wasn't a requirement. You could work to timetable with OES staff.

The electric telegraph with AB's offer/acceptance process was the only practicable way to achieve the objective on double track passenger lines, but was not considered safe enough on its own for single lines. The regulations booklets used the term "Absolute Block System" in the title for double lines, the word Absolute probably being there merely to distinguish it from the Permissive regulations (which was still a step up from Time Interval). However they usually used terms such as Electric Key Token Block System in the titles for the equivalent books for single lines. This may well have given rise to the notion that AB was a different system from whatever you were working on a single track.

However, the 1960 BR book does use the title Absolute Block System with Train Staff or Staff and Ticket System. If anybody tells you that AB can't apply to a single line. I would suggest you point them to those regs!
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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby John Hinson » Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:11 am

Mike Hodgson wrote:However, the 1960 BR book does use the title Absolute Block System with Train Staff or Staff and Ticket System. If anybody tells you that AB can't apply to a single line. I would suggest you point them to those regs!

And so it should. You cannot work the Staff & Ticket system without some form of block working to separate trains, nor indeed can you work the Train Staff system without a means of refusal unless an Outer Home (or equivalent) is provided. I can't say I have seen the latter without such signals but there must have been some such for the 1960 book to have been written that way.

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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:13 am

Danny252 wrote:Might I perhaps suggest that this should be split off into a different topic?

Jack30A wrote:As I see it, there are only two fundamental systems of working; Permissive Block, which can only be used on lines which never, ever carry passenger traffic (not even occasionally), and Absolute Block, which the law insists has to be used on every passenger carrying line, even if the train being worked is a goods train.

What about Passenger Permissive?


...or Time Interval, which survived remarkably late for passenger working, albeit only in failure situations.

Track Circuit Block is also generally considered to be a different system from AB, although it does meet the defined objective of AB to "prevent more than one train being in a block section on the same line at the same time"

To my mind Permissive Block is a contradiction in terms, permissive operation worked cautiously may be perfectly reasonable as a method, but I take the term Block to mean you considered the line to be blocked unless you know there is nothing on it and you don't allow another train onto that line if there is (or if you don;t know). Permissive implies tolerating deviation from the fundamental principle of Block working. All you are really doing is adding telegraph to Time Interval (and dispensing with the delay of x minutes), so the box in advance knows what could crash into the back of the train approaching him!
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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:28 am

John Hinson wrote: You cannot work the Staff & Ticket system without some form of block working to separate trains, nor indeed can you work the Train Staff system without a means of refusal unless an Outer Home (or equivalent) is provided. I can't say I have seen the latter without such signals but there must have been some such for the 1960 book to have been written that way.

John


The OES system where there is no box at the other end of the line (or even at either end of the line on many heritage lines) is a Train Staff system, although as you say, you can't work it to those 1960 regs. There probably weren't many passenger lines like that in 1960.
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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby Andrew Waugh » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:04 pm

Mike Hodgson wrote:It was the Board of Trade's Requirements & Recommendations that insisted on methods such as Train Staff, Staff &Ticket, ETS etc on single lines. So although these were generally supplemented by AB's offer/acceptance procedure using instruments, this wasn't a requirement. You could work to timetable with OES staff.


Strictly speaking this is true, but I think it is misleading. For passenger lines, it was a requirement to use block telegraph; the only exception was on a single line worked by OES.

More formally, in 1892, the BoT required on all lines carrying passengers, "the requisite apparatus to be provided for ensuring by means of the block telegraph system an adequate interval of space between following trains, and, in the base of junctions, between converging or crossing trains. In the case of single lines worked by one engine under steam or two or more coupled together and carrying a staff, no such apparatus will be required." (On lines worked by OES there could be no following trains, so the block telegraph wasn't necessary.) Single lines required a little more security, and an entirely separate section of the requirements stated that such lines had to be worked by TS&T "combined with the absolute block-telegraph system", or OES. In 1902 this section of the requirements was formally updated to allow the Tablet or Electric Staff system.

I would agree, though, that the term "Absolute Block Regulations" as applied to double track was used to distinguish it from the various forms of permissive block.
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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby Mike Stone » Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:07 pm

Jack30A wrote:I

Further, if you look at the way railways operate, from the WCML right down to a miniature railway in a park, giving children rides for 50p a go, every one of them operates on the basis of Absolute Block - i.e., never more than one train in a section at a time.


Rhyl doesn't appear to, nor I suspect many other similar lines. I thought it had a signal outside Central Station, but all it seems to indicate is that the door is open
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Re: Preserved Railway Signal Boxes and Signalling Regulation

Unread postby John Hinson » Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:20 pm

Snowdon?
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