Hybrid NER/LNER Distant Signal?

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PinzaC55
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Hybrid NER/LNER Distant Signal?

Post by PinzaC55 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:08 pm

I bought this photo of a signal at a postcard fair many years and wondered if anyone knows where it was? It shows a standard NER lower quadrant distant signal with a Searchlight signal head affixed further down.It looks as though it may be arranged to give a Green or Yellow indication? Any thoughts?
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NER Signal with LNER Searchlight.jpg

stembok
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Re: Hybrid NER/LNER Distant Signal?

Post by stembok » Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:43 am

PinzaC55: the photograph is post-1961, as dated by the handrail position on the engine's smokebox door, also flat bottomed rail on concrete sleepers. The Newcastle -Berwick section Longhoughton - Forest Hall had electrically lit searchlight distants for very many years -installed by the NER I believe - though these may have shone through the normal spectacle glasses of the semaphores. It is mentioned in Norman Mc Killop's book 'Top - Link Locomotives' C1959. Hope this may help to ring some bells.

PinzaC55
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Re: Hybrid NER/LNER Distant Signal?

Post by PinzaC55 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:15 pm

Thanks Stembok. I know that in some places the LNER used "mechanical colour lights" which were simply Upper Quadrant signals with the arm removed and an electric light shining through the spectacle plate but I have never seen any reference to this arrangement. There seem to be pieces of concrete lying in the cess so it may be that it was going to be replaced?

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Re: Hybrid NER/LNER Distant Signal?

Post by hq1hitchin » Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:45 am

A really odd looking signal, that's for sure. What is particularly strange is the fact that the distant arm is mounted on top of the searchlight, if that is what it is. The lamp of the semaphore would have needed to be instensively lit (i.e electric light rather than the feeble oil one that was the norm) to avoid drivers 'reading through' and failing to see it because of the superior strength of the searchlight below. Could it be that the signal acted as an outer distant for another box, the searchlight aspect being slotted and controlled by the box next in advance?
Another oddity to my way of thinking is the signal post ladder in front of the signal as well as one to the rear. Was that normal on the NE?
As Pinza says, though, the photo might depict a transition from the old to the new but, in that case, why isn't the arm or the signal head covered up, if it hasn't been commissioned?

Might need a second opinion
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PinzaC55
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Re: Hybrid NER/LNER Distant Signal?

Post by PinzaC55 » Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:49 pm

Having the ladder in front of the signal was normal NER practice. I like the idea of it being a transition from semaphore to colour light but that was only normally done on Home signals not Distants. Another feature is that the Searchlight has a blanked off fitting for a "feather" on the left.Thanks for the input.

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Re: Hybrid NER/LNER Distant Signal?

Post by R. pike » Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:07 pm

I have a mechanical searchlight in my collection and i provided parts for the one at Quorn on the GC. The lump that looks like a 'blanked off feather' is a weight on the end of a standard upper quadrant spectacle plate. The pressed steel type did not have enough weight to return it to danger/caution. The earlier cast iron type was heavy enough alone to work reliably. The signal in the picture is likely to be co acting with both parts doing the same job, at least until they were more confident with the concept, and with the Adlake intensified lamp in the mechanical searchlight there was no need for a fogman in adverse weather.. My mechanical searchlight is motor operated. This may sound crazy but they were out there. Wymondley down main auto stop inner distant was like this and also probably the last one in use was the distant for Great Chesterford up main intermediate block signal, again motor operated.

http://gordon-fuller.fotopic.net/p49212799.html

If this picture is studied it can be noted the top of this signal is rather crudely cut off. This signal had an upper semaphore arm as well as the mechanical searchlight at one time.

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Re: Hybrid NER/LNER Distant Signal?

Post by Bill Bedford » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:32 am

Isn't the distant arm shorter than standard? If it is this would be a splitting distant for a loop?

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Re: Hybrid NER/LNER Distant Signal?

Post by R. pike » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:48 am

No. The are both doing the same job. There was some mistrust of this 'new technology' when they were first introduced in the late 20's. Once they had proved themselves as reliable the conventional semaphore was removed.

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Re: Hybrid NER/LNER Distant Signal?

Post by PinzaC55 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:02 pm

Thanks for the info R. Pike and that seems to be the logical explanation. The reason for the arm being short is that a normal NER arm was 5 feet long and this has had the arm cut off and an enamel blade fixed to the stump.
BTW the Public Record Office in Kew have a folder of LNER photos showing Approach Lit signals and they had an NER "dustbin" signal lamp with an illuminated "A" halfway down the post.

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Re: Hybrid NER/LNER Distant Signal?

Post by R. pike » Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:52 pm

The illuminated 'A' sounds like it was to indicate auto working was in force. The straight section between York, Thirsk and Northallerton had some auto sections i believe.

The LNER southern area had approach lit colourlights and, for example, on the up main between Three Counties and Cadwell the starting signal at the former controlled the track circuit feed for the approach track. When the signal was 'on' or at danger the track circuit was fed normally. as soon as the signal was cleared the track circuit feed was cut thus dropping the track circuit and lighting the signal. This was done so if Cadwell cleared it's signals before Three counties the starting signal wasn't overpowered by the colourlight outer distant beyond. There was only around 670 yards between the two and i think this was a little close for convention approach lighting. Circuits like this existed at St Neots and Paxton also...

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