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St Albans South - Works in 2016

Signalling on heritage railways

Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby John Webb » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:05 pm

Signal-sighter wrote:You have a good few thousand pounds worth of kit there. I am amazed you were offered these as they are entirely suitable for reuse on the big railway.

Yes - we were somewhat taken aback by the donation too!
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby John Webb » Mon Feb 1, 2016 10:40 pm

We've sorted out the 'Wrong-side' failure commented on by Richard Pike:
Image

How the GU5.3/MR16 lamps are mounted in the JI:
Image
A small aluminium bracket is clamped onto the Common connection screw of each original lamp holder, together with one of the connections to the new lamp holder, which in turn is mounted on the bracket. The other new lamp holder connection goes to the Main connection.
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby John Webb » Mon Feb 1, 2016 10:50 pm

Modern digital cameras do show a lot more light than the human eye appears to see - I've adjusted the following pictures to try and show what the human eye is seeing.
View tonight of the bottom of the stairs:
Image

And seen from the top:
Image
Note in both pictures the bottom steps in particular - these were almost invisible before.
One thing I hadn't thought about was that in particular for someone coming down the stairs, the hoods over the JI lights cut out any glare until you get well down the staircase.

Finally a view from near the signal:
Image
Note the green light on the handrail posts at the bottom from the green aspect of the signal.
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby John Webb » Wed Feb 3, 2016 10:47 pm

Towards the end of last year I mentioned that the NRM had agreed that we should have a Train Describer demonstration unit that was surplus to their requirements.
This is it:
Image
It comprises the N-X panel, two signalling relays (BR930) and the model signal. A train apparently approaches on the lower of the two tracks (moving right to left) and then moves onto the left-hand single track when the appropriate N-X buttons are pressed.
The 'describers' are fixed with just one train reporting number:
Image

We've been told it was made for, originally, the Science Museum at South Kensington - here is the maker's label:
Image
There is a museum accession number dated 1971 on one end of the baseboard.

We've not been able to check the working - the back is locked with a yale-type lock (standard BR signal padlock key?) so I wasn't able to open it up to examine the inside. There was no paperwork with it, although the curator who delivered it said he'd check the files on return to the NRM. We're wondering if the original design is lurking in the Westinghouse files.....
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Thu Feb 4, 2016 2:47 am

Just wondering if the lock has any code numbers or letters engraved on it, or near it? That might give a clue as to the identity of key that is needed to open the casing.
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Thu Feb 4, 2016 9:00 am

What an lovely little NX panel. I wonder whether it was initially made specially for the Science Museum or for use in sales demos and subsequently presented to the Museum.

I'm surprised they went to the trouble of making fixed display train describers especially for this when they could have just used three off the shelf proper ones. I doubt it was to save cost. Perhaps they were concerned about their reliability, fragility or perhaps higher voltages of the early ones, and the need for a facility to interpose the code.
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby JRB » Thu Feb 4, 2016 10:10 am

If there is a number on the lock, that would probably help. Otherwise you will need to wait till I (or someone else) arrive with a big ring of keys to try. Remind me to bring them when I next come. As it was for the S, Mus., it may not be a normal BR key. I have however found a Westinghouse cubicle in Spain which opened with a BR key so BR have no monopoly of those keys. Most of them come from the Lowe & Fletcher off-the-peg range. If you have 'L&F' keys for quite different purposes, try a few. We found that some used for S&T equipment were duplicates of some used elsewhere.
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby John Webb » Thu Feb 4, 2016 10:39 am

JRB wrote:If there is a number on the lock, that would probably help. Otherwise you will need to wait till I (or someone else) arrive with a big ring of keys to try. Remind me to bring them when I next come. As it was for the S, Mus., it may not be a normal BR key. I have however found a Westinghouse cubicle in Spain which opened with a BR key so BR have no monopoly of those keys. Most of them come from the Lowe & Fletcher off-the-peg range. If you have 'L&F' keys for quite different purposes, try a few. We found that some used for S&T equipment were duplicates of some used elsewhere.

Close-up of the lock, taken in anticipation:
Image

Mike Hodgson wrote:What an lovely little NX panel. I wonder whether it was initially made specially for the Science Museum or for use in sales demos and subsequently presented to the Museum.

I'm surprised they went to the trouble of making fixed display train describers especially for this when they could have just used three off the shelf proper ones. I doubt it was to save cost. Perhaps they were concerned about their reliability, fragility or perhaps higher voltages of the early ones, and the need for a facility to interpose the code.

Your comments regarding reliability etc confirm my thoughts regarding this being specially made for the Science Museum. (If a demo unit for sales I would expect them to use 'off the shelf' describers.) By 1971 I was no longer making regular visits to the SM, as I had done in my youth, so never saw it in action, alas. It looks to me from the little wiring that is visible between panel, relays and signal that it may have been rewired by the SM for some reason. I do wonder if we could get this to operate some '00' gauge track laid out in front of the unit........
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Thu Feb 4, 2016 11:43 am

John Webb wrote:It looks to me from the little wiring that is visible between panel, relays and signal that it may have been rewired by the SM for some reason. I do wonder if we could get this to operate some '00' gauge track laid out in front of the unit........


If the Museum has rewired it, it may of course have been to remove the TDs when they packed up.
After all this display is much simpler and easier to maintain.
Maybe even Westinghouse rewired it themselves, at the Museum's request?

As for a OO track, this kit (in Configuration B of its documentation) exactly mirrors the layout, and it is a simpler version of a display on the MERG stand at some of the larger model railway shows:
http://www.merg.org.uk/merg_resources/atc.php
I guess you would want to interface it to the contacts on the panel's relays so that the train only starts when you set up a route using the NX buttons, rather than running autonomously on timers.
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby John Webb » Thu Feb 4, 2016 4:25 pm

Mike Hodgson wrote:...If the Museum has rewired it, it may of course have been to remove the TDs when they packed up.
After all this display is much simpler and easier to maintain.
Maybe even Westinghouse rewired it themselves, at the Museum's request?

As for a OO track, this kit (in Configuration B of its documentation) exactly mirrors the layout, and it is a simpler version of a display on the MERG stand at some of the larger model railway shows:
http://www.merg.org.uk/merg_resources/atc.php
I guess you would want to interface it to the contacts on the panel's relays so that the train only starts when you set up a route using the NX buttons, rather than running autonomously on timers.

We need to get inside first, see what and how it works, and then discuss what we do. There may be restrictions on what mods we can make anyway.
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby JRB » Thu Feb 4, 2016 11:17 pm

UNION, not L&F, so probably a one-off house door job. No doubt there is an unlabelled key somewhere in the S.M. doing no good. I think a locksmith is called for unless you are prepared to drill the lock out. It is replaceable from any DIY shop.
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby John Webb » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:47 pm

Regretfully I'm not able to get up to the box at the moment following an operation, but I am told the lock has been drilled out and the system powered up. Lights are lit, but the sequence doesn't get underway as it should. No doubt we will get it going eventually.....
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby StevieG » Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:39 pm

John Webb wrote: " A Position 1 JI (LED) and a Position 4 (bulb) JI:
Image .... "
In case of interest John, the hoods on this Pos.4 PLJI look rather unusual to me, in each having that lower, horizontal, element, though I'm sure I've seen larger-version similar hoods on main signal aspects somewhere in the UK : I think on the SDO signal heads of the Italian company, Ansaldo, used by Network Rail in the Manchester South Signal Centre-controlled Sandbach/Wilmslow resignalling of the last decade.

Liking the advantages of the signal head + PLJI near the foot of the box stairs, but see the PM from me.

Regarding lighting-up the LED heads at normal brightness being too bright for close viewing by visitors, during the presumed several discussions at how best to deploy and demonstrate them, I'm just wondering whether it has been/could be considered that, if possible and desirable to have the aspects of most heads lit at lower brilliance for comfortable viewing, that if there was one head 'spare', it might be of interest to have, if practicable, it lit at full brightness [with viewers' eyes protection measure(s) of some sort] to demonstrate the difference ?
BZOH

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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby John Webb » Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:08 am

Stevie G wrote:In case of interest John, the hoods on this Pos.4 PLJI look rather unusual to me, in each having that lower, horizontal, element, though I'm sure I've seen larger-version similar hoods on main signal aspects somewhere in the UK : I think on the SDO signal heads of the Italian company, Ansaldo, used by Network Rail in the Manchester South Signal Centre-controlled Sandbach/Wilmslow resignalling of the last decade.

The lower horizontal section of the hood is only about a third the length of the hood; it's not easy to see this from the picture. The bulb-type JIs are made by "Howell's Railway Products" in Manchester and date from 2004 & 2005. Interesting that it should be from a maker in the area where you've seen the similar Ansaldo signals.

Re the originally perceived "brightness" problem with the LEDs, I'm not quite so worried about this now that we've tried them out. But we shall have to see when they are mounted up later in the year. The simple answer may be to use 'Neutral Density" filters to cut the brightness down if need be.

Thanks for the PM. I have replied.
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Re: St Albans South - Works in 2016

Unread postby John Webb » Tue Mar 1, 2016 9:42 am

Re the Train Describer and Track Circuit Demo unit, I've started a thread in the S&T section - see http://forum.signalbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7480 to cover this item in more detail.
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