Signals

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IAN1955
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Signals

Postby IAN1955 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:21 pm

Massive learning curve and I mean massive.

What is a distance signal and a home signal, I think distance speaks for itself ish, but what is home and where do they go on a layout?.
Thanks
Ian

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flying scotsman123
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Re: Signals

Postby flying scotsman123 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:37 pm

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So home signals tend to come towards the end of a particular section of "plain" track, as you approach a signal box (and often a station). You can have "outer home" and "inner home" where it is advantageous to have more than one - to protect sidings in between the two for example.

A distant signal warns a driver what aspect the next signal is showing, so come before home signals. If the distant signal is at danger, it can be passed, but the driver knows that the next signal is probably at danger.

You haven't asked, but it's on the picture above, a starter signal allows access to the next section of track. Again, you may have more than one starter signal, such as a "platform" starter at the end of a platform, and a section starter, the last signal you pass before entering the next section. As with multiple home signals, this arrangement may protect sidings in between the starter signals.

The diagram above features a level crossing, but if you imagine that as your station, that ought to help with positioning. Approaching a station from "plain" track, in order, you'll pass a distant signal, at least one home signal, the signal box and maybe the station, then at least one starter signal.

Hope that helps, feel free to probe more if you want, signalling starts off very simple but can quickly become rather complicated once you move beyond plain single or double track!
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Mountain
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Re: Signals

Postby Mountain » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:23 pm

It all depends on the trackplan as well, as one has junction signals both home and distant varieties, ground (Also known as shunting) signals for slower speed operations in sidings and sometimes on mainlines where shunting proceedures are designed to take place... Keep it simple at first though. Keep to the basic plan that Flying Scotsman has put above. On your railway you my not need to add all signals as some could be "Off scene" and out of view.

One modelling quick dodge if one has a branch line is to model a token type signalling system. You don't need signals as it is a one engine in steam principle (There are certain conditions where a second train is allowed but is the exception) where if a passing loop is provided, you could have the up train pull into the loop, the driver opens the token box room and phones the signalman to obtain the token release... Where they may have to wait for the down train to pull in and get their new token for the section the other train had come from... Years ago it was the guards duty to do this though when I worked it was the drivers duty BUT the driver has to show the guard that he or she has the correct token. I had one driver who used to take great delight in taking the token and trying to hide it from my gaze to wind me up! :lol: (I used to be a guard).
Visually speaking a passing loop would have token huts at the drivers end of each platform and large Stop boards just ahead of each token hut area. These boards acted the same as a signal in that it was counted as a SPAD if one was passed without the driver having the correct token. (SPAD stands for Signal Passed At Danger).
The token systems are still very much in daily use today on many branch lines on the railway network in Britain.
Another mention is that if one wants to model a branch terminus station with a token system, the end of the line does not need a token hut but it does have (And need) a little box where it is the guards job to phone the signalman both when the train arrives and prior to the trains return journey (If there is a waiting time before the return trip is to be made). This is just to ensure that the line has remained clear so it is safe to make the return journey, and also so that the signal man knows that the train has reached the destination safely.

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flying scotsman123
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Re: Signals

Postby flying scotsman123 » Wed May 01, 2019 12:54 am

Mountain wrote:It all depends on the trackplan as well, as one has junction signals both home and distant varieties, ground (Also known as shunting) signals for slower speed operations in sidings and sometimes on mainlines where shunting proceedures are designed to take place... Keep it simple at first though. Keep to the basic plan that Flying Scotsman has put above. On your railway you my not need to add all signals as some could be "Off scene" and out of view.


Yes I should have said it would be pretty difficult to have a distant signal and it's related home signal on your average layout scaled accurately, 10m would probably be about right. You may wish to shrink this distance, or just imagine the distant signal offstage, depends on space and personal preference.

Mountain wrote:One modelling quick dodge if one has a branch line is to model a token type signalling system. You don't need signals as it is a one engine in steam principle (There are certain conditions where a second train is allowed but is the exception) where if a passing loop is provided, you could have the up train pull into the loop, the driver opens the token box room and phones the signalman to obtain the token release... Where they may have to wait for the down train to pull in and get their new token for the section the other train had come from...


I think you've managed to mix up two systems here Mountain. Both are for single track branchlines but are different. One engine in steam is just that, no (operational) passing loops, no passing other trains. You usually get the one token for the whole branchline. Where you've got a branchline with passing loops you have a token for each section between passing loops but you still have signals controlling all this.

Edit - apologies Mountain, rather than mixing up systems, I think we're just talking about different eras, with you describing more modern practice. Must be past my bedtime. :)
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Bigmet
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Re: Signals

Postby Bigmet » Wed May 01, 2019 8:34 am

flying scotsman123 wrote:...A distant signal warns a driver what aspect the next signal is showing, so come before home signals. If the distant signal is at danger, it can be passed, but the driver knows that the next signal is probably at danger...

Although there is rarely enough space on a model railway to incorporate the distant signals, it is probably worth expanding slightly on this description: if the distant signal is 'on', the meaning is that the driver must be able to stop the train at the home signal. The practical consequence of seeing the distant signal on was typically speed reduction, as trains require significant distance to stop.

On a layout - if you like this kind of stuff - you can model the effect with through trains. If the home and starter signals are pulled off a very short interval before the train appears, then that train will be moving slowly (driver had seen distant on, and was prepared to stop at the home signal). Whereas if the home signal was off for a longer time before the train appears, it can be belting along at full speed.

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Mountain
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Re: Signals

Postby Mountain » Wed May 01, 2019 9:03 am

No worries Flying Scotsman. Yes, I am describing how it worked when I was on the railways.

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Mountain
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Re: Signals

Postby Mountain » Wed May 01, 2019 9:21 am

Out of interest. As a guard, naturally I had to keep up with various tickets, and there were said to be over 40 different types of tickets, each with their own restrictions (Almost an impossible task to know them all even though we were supposed to remember them!)
Now one such rare ticket came my way. It was a ticket for certain staff which worked on the railways. In my 9 years this aas the second I remember seeing. As the lady was getting off at a stop coming up and the ticket was for the single journey, (And the stop did not have any ticket barriers etc) I asked if I could have the ticket. She was pleased to give it to me. I found out that both the lady and her husband were employed to design railway signalling systems and they kept needing to move home as each time they would be needed for the next job around the country. I started talking about model railways and she said her husband was into 0 gauge as it was heavy enough to operate mini treadles in the track for the signalling systems he liked to make in model form. 00 gauge was a little too small for this. It was a fascinating conversation. I often marvelled at all the different people I met in my time as a guard.
Talking about tickets, I used to meet an elderly gent who was in his 90's but still quite active. When I first met him I was relatively new to the job so still learning, and when I asked for his ticket he showed me a gold watch. Puzzled, he said to read the back. It acted as a free pass. I had to ask older guards about it later and they confirmed it for me that it was genuine. If one rose to a senior position on the railways they would give them a gold pocket watch to be used instead of the old B.R. boxes to be entitled for free rail travel. I often used to sit and chat to him if I had the time and he had some very interesting stories. He aas a signalman and started off at the bottom and in his years he found himself being promoted and promoted through his years of experience of working many and varied types of signalboxes. I remember him telling me about a driver who ignored a signal and drove straight onto a turntable. He rushed out (This was in his early years as a signalman) and told the driver what he had done, and the driver gave him a mouthfull for not changing the signals when he wanted them to be changed!

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luckymucklebackit
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Re: Signals

Postby luckymucklebackit » Wed May 01, 2019 9:24 am

IAN1955 wrote:Massive learning curve and I mean massive.

What is a distance signal and a home signal, I think distance speaks for itself ish, but what is home and where do they go on a layout?.
Thanks
Ian


The website I always turn to for all matters signalling is this one https://signalbox.org/ this is a massive resource of everything to do with railway signalling old and new. It is worth looking at the prototype plans, each pre-grouping company had variations from the basic block system to what signals they used and how they used them.

Jim
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b308
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Re: Signals

Postby b308 » Wed May 01, 2019 11:39 am

It's also worth pointing out that many modern lines operate using radios/timetables to control movements, not having any physical signals at all.

Mountain did you ever come across the "token" (looked like a coin) that some of the old management used to have giving free travel> I saw a couple in my early days but I think the holders have all died off by now!!

Ewood
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Re: Signals

Postby Ewood » Wed May 01, 2019 2:06 pm

To add a distant signal it can always be on the same post as the starting signal, this is to save space

IAN1955
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Re: Signals

Postby IAN1955 » Wed May 01, 2019 7:29 pm

Okay I did ask, well thank you to all this is going to get the grey cells going for a while, I did not know it was such a big subject, ignorant me thought just put a few signals here and there WRONG !!, as they say back to the drawing board so many thanks I will get back to you if I need any more help.
Thanks
Ian
PS - Reading this forum and the help that you have given me I have discovered that Model railway people are the most polite folk you could wish to meet.

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Mountain
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Re: Signals

Postby Mountain » Wed May 01, 2019 8:44 pm

b308 wrote:It's also worth pointing out that many modern lines operate using radios/timetables to control movements, not having any physical signals at all.

Mountain did you ever come across the "token" (looked like a coin) that some of the old management used to have giving free travel> I saw a couple in my early days but I think the holders have all died off by now!!


Yes. Somewhere I have a few. We used to get them about two or three times a month. They are a type of... Well I called them "Plastic metal". My grandmother used to have them as my grandad (Who died when I was very young) once worked on the railway.
We normally had them when working the Heart Of Wales line.
I seem to recall there were a few different designs. I have four or five different types. I took them and paid in cash from my own money just so I could take a few for my own interest. I think I have five of them.
Also when we had the older machines, just for my own amusement I issued myself some platform tickets (Which cost me 10p each from my own money) from amusing local locations. For example, Pembroke Dock... Places which I don't think ever were issued platform tickets! I had the idea as a rail enthusiast passenger asked for some. The machine could print them. The railway earned extra revenue and the railway enthusiast was happy to get a couple of unique tickets! I don't remember where I put mine. I must still have them somewhere.
The later machines didn't do them.


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