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'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:39 pm
by nutford
I came across this term the other day in relation to the signalling at Ripon.
Could a signal really apply 'both ways'?

Well, the signal plan in the pic (I've highlighted the signal with a red line) which serves some yard sidings, and the access back out towards (but not immediately on to) the main lines, is clearly marked 'both ways', as are two further signals (16 and 22).

And here we have a pic of the first one, (it's the one on the left, just in front of the goods shed) taken from the main lines looking into the yard. The signal arm does appear to be red on this side, and yes the light appears to be THIS side of the arm. Presumably the other side was also red.

Is this correct? And if so - how does that work, as there seems to be no provision for any light/spectacle plate for a train as would approach it from this side. How could that meet any regulations? Not to mention a signal which seems to potentially be 'go' for trains in both directions at once, albeit just on a yard siding.

(A later pic shows this signal was changed; if it is as surmised I'm not entirely surprised....)

Re: 'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:11 pm
by StevieG
nutford wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:39 pm
"I came across this term the other day in relation to the signalling at Ripon.
Could a signal really apply 'both ways'?
Well, the signal plan in the pic (I've highlighted the signal with a red line) which serves some yard sidings, and the access back out towards (but not immediately on to) the main lines, is clearly marked 'both ways', as are two further signals (16 and 22). ...."
nutford,
firstly, it seems to me to be fairly clear from its position and numbering, and that the 'BOTHWAYS' text doesn't align with the "22",that 22 signal only applies to moves out to the main line through 21 points in a conventional way.
But I agree about 16 and 35 being 'Both ways'. It looks to me like one version of a very old idea adopted by some companies, usually pre-(1923) Grouping, to govern 'to & fro' shunting within yards across entry/exit points, and controlled by a Shunter or the Guard, by being put to, and left, 'Off' (Clear) all the time that yard shunting was needed.
So if I'm correct, 16 would allow shunting back and forth over 14 and 21 points, and 35 over points 33. [ These signals apparently not standing at the latterly usual positions at the relevant point ends ('switch toes'/'blades') could, for this such purpose, less important than controlling trains on the 'main line', also hark back to early signalling days when main running signals did not necessarily stand in a position to properly 'protect'; E.g. when the signals applying to all approaches to a double-track junction sprouted from the roof of the signal box standing by the points, with Drivers who observed 'their' signal at Danger being expected to stop not at or close to the signal, but instead wherever was the right place far enough back to leave the other routes clear.]
[ Another old version was a single-piece, double-ended arm that was, on each side, left half red/white stripe; right half white/black stripe; horizontal for no shunting, - inclined to allow shunting (meaning one half pointed down, the other up ! )
Yet another was a crossbar signal (an equal-sided red bar that could be turned 90 degrees in a horizontal plane; 'no shunting' when roughly at right angles to the siding/s, shunting allowed when the bar was turned 'end on', roughly parallel to the siding/s.]

In more recent times (the last 50 or more years ! :) ), the situation was more effectively covered by one or two (more if necessary) discs and/or miniature arms in proper protecting positions, often worked off a common lever, and in many places where 'in yard' shunting was frequent, even arranged to be at Clear with its/their lever 'back' (in Normal position) in the lever frame and so needing to be pulled over to Reverse to put them to Danger to stop shunting.
nutford wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:39 pm
Is this correct? And if so - how does that work, as there seems to be no provision for any light/spectacle plate for a train as would approach it from this side. How could that meet any regulations?
Lamps which showed a full light both ways were not unknown (on some level crossing gates for example), and this sort of signal could have been one use for same; having a spectacle plate on both sides of such a lamp was easily possible.
Alternatively, if shunting was only allowed in daylight, that sort of signal might well have had no lamp at all.

Re: 'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:42 pm
by nutford
Well - that's an eye-opener.
I wonder also if 25 served the tracks on both sides (above and below on the plan), as otherwise while there was that main signal to guard trains heading right-to-left for the lower tracks, the ones above could enter precisely the same track slightly further along without any such safeguard - indeed if the plan is accurate, and pics support it, not even a ground signal.

Bit like those old 3-lane roads, where lane 1 was for slow traffic in one direction, lane 3 for slow traffic in the opposite direction, and the centre lane for fast traffic in BOTH directions!

Younger readers won't have encountered them, (the modern equivalents have a clear priority for one or other direction in the centre lane even if both CAN use them) but they were just as daft and dangerous as they sound, with drivers commonly playing 'chicken' as to who in the middle lane would yield the right to overtake first.

Happily not like that on the railways - but still daft.

Thanks for that really helpful explanation Stevie.

Re: 'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:46 am
by StevieG
nutford wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:42 pm
"... I wonder also if 25 served the tracks on both sides (above and below on the plan), as otherwise while there was that main signal to guard trains heading right-to-left for the lower tracks, the ones above could enter precisely the same track slightly further along without any such safeguard - indeed if the plan is accurate, and pics support it, not even a ground signal. ..."
nutford,
Not sure I follow all details of this query, but I don't see a problem with what's shown.
Firstly the decision on whether to position signals to the right of, or one or more tracks further away from, the track/s they applied to rather than to the (coventionally desirable) immediate left (or above), was varied far more frequently with 'ground' or other shunt signals compared to main running signals, to take account of site/sighting considerations. [Although Nos.3 and 41 demonstrate that it was sometimes decided necessary with main signals.]
Then, often depending on relative distances, it was not always deemed that points in the main line should have a protecting main line running signal quite close to them. Therefore although 9 points have 41 on the Main Line close by to protect, it would be quite acceptable for 42 to be the Main protection for both 27 and 24 points.
It would be very rare indeed I suggest, for a disc signal to apply to normal direction (i.e. usually 'through') train movements on a running line in a layout with no facing points in those lines.
So, particularly as this layout and signalling look to have quite old origins, 25 would just be for sidings exit through 24 points (with 23 for coming in), and likewise 10 & 8 for out/in through 9 points, and 28 & 26 out/in 27.

Hope this makes sense for you.

Re: 'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:39 am
by thesignalman
"Both ways" signals were quite common on early NER installations - the earliest (and commonest) function I have seen was on a siding outlet signal which also indicated entry to said siding. If diagrams are anything to go by, these were identified by a large letter "S" superimposed on the arm but that might have just been a way of identifying them on the plan. By 1900 or so, these signals became less common as more comprehensive signalling came along.

But the NER were very impecunious with their signals and there is strong evidence that other early signal types were re-used for other functions and I think that is what has been done at Ripon - by using them to indicate the permitting of shunting within the yard without constantly requiring permission from the signalman to pass over controlled points. The photograph shows no letter "S" on the signal but the arm appears to be painted red and white on the back as it would be on the front. It may have revolving lenses inside the lamp unit in order to show the correct lamp indications.

Other examples of re-used signals include one near Newcastle that showed four indications! Apart from horizontal, and 45 degrees downwards, it could also disappear inside the post and show 45 degrees upwards. The Southern Division re-used revolving boards of very early pattern - a real gem can be see in this picture: https://433shop.co.uk/index.php?route=p ... t_id=12762 which survived at least until the late 1970s. In almost all cases of late use of early signals, they were confined to sidings and yards which did not come under the jurisdiction of the Board of Trade/Ministry of Transport and did not require to meet modern standards.

John

Re: 'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:35 am
by nutford
Stevie - what I'm getting at is perhaps best illustrated on the pic.

If signal 35 applied (in an outwards direction, right-to-left) to only the lines 'south' of it - ie. the ones I have marked in red, then while trains from there are controlled from going along the line towards point 22, trains from the top two sidings (into and by the goods shed) appear able to use the track I have coloured green without any signal at all to reach the same track.

Since that track seems to be under the control of the box - viz signals 22/32/35 - and the tracks in/out of the goods shed and the siding nearest that (green) under local control, that seems odd, especially if a full signal is deemed necessary at 35 yet not so much as a ground signal for the 'green' tracks which would foul the same line a few yards further on. (Or even the other way round).

Thus why I wondered if 35 could just have been taken as a general signal for all of them..... Pics do - in as much as old pics can - support the signal diagram, although it was apparently drawn by a signalman from memory and clearly not the official verison.

My reason for wanting to sort this is I'm trying to model this with working signals, and be nice to understand it. A bit anyway!

And thanks John - gradually getting the idea of what went on...

Re: 'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:05 pm
by StevieG
The query I wasn't absolutely sure of was your latter one about 25 nutford. Was that a typo for 35 ?
My previous post, nicely added to by that of John 'thesignalman', was intended to cover the matter of 35.
The crux of it appears to me to be that 35 applies to shunts to/from any part of the sidings which pass over 33, and 16 similarly over 14 and 21, in effect merely to show the signalman's permission to move over his points, and not that potentially conflicting other movements through handpoints were stopped.
You may know that a cleared shunting or subsidiary signal only gives permission to proceed as far as the line is clear.
So I'd expect anything that goes on between signals 22 and 32 (and beyond in either direction while 16 &/or 35 were at Clear) to be entirely the responsibilty of whoever was on the ground in charge of yard movements (and handpoints).
It was more common than not that signalmen intentionally had little or no control over movements that took place entirely within sidings.

Re: 'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:26 pm
by John Palmer
At https://topticl.zenfolio.com/p134250938 ... #ha244abc2 can be found a better rendition of photograph in the OP. I've attached an enlarged extract from this which I think confirms that both sides of the arm were red with a white stripe, and shows that the mechanism for changing the light aspect exhibited in both directions at night was two spectacles on opposite sides of the lamp. Interesting, not a configuration I have previously seen.
Bothways signal at Ripon.jpg
The topticl.zenfolio.com website is worth a visit: there's plenty of interesting photographs to be seen, including quite a high proportion from Ripon which may be of particular interest to the OP.

Re: 'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:44 pm
by nutford
Stevie - yes sorry, I had meant 35.
Yep, I get that the signal applied to everything that passed over 33 was affected by signal 35.

My puzzle was why was there no protection for trains heading to Point 21 from the 'green lines'. Seemed strange one group of lines warranted a full signal, the others nothing.

I'm thinking the rationale may be the purpose of the sidings. The 'red' ones went to the coal drops, the turntable and a siding for I-know-not-what. The other two went to the shed, yard and a shed run-round. Seems these were treated differently. The pic below gives the idea.
All of the points were operated locally (the hand levers are visible on several pics), but maybe the shed staff were trusted to 'do the right thing' as they were familiar with it, whereas the others may have been the responsibility of the coal depot/drivers and not necessarily familiar? Just can't get my head round why some had signal protection and some not. But then I'm trying to rationalise something that may not have been rational!

(I didn't dash to post the map as in some respects both the signal plan and photographic evidence suggest the track layout is wrong in several respects - even though the date is very close to the signal plan date. But it is essentially correct for the bit we are looking at. Don't confuse the dot for the crane - above 'cr' with the signal.)

And indeed John there are a lot of excellent pics on there, all of which I have on an assortment of power-points along with many others! Of course somebody has normally parked a loco right in front of the bit I want to see ;-) Damn inconsiderate those drivers....


PS - the 'I know not what' siding, given its proximity to the turntable, may have been for storing the Masham branch train between trips, as the turntable was 48' and solely for the purpose of turning the branch locos.

Re: 'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:25 pm
by StevieG
Not sure if I can make my point about 35 any more clearly nutford.
I believe it is there only to safely allow or stop movements over the signal box-operated points 33.
Moves in/out of the sidings that you coloured green in your last post of the box signalling diagram don't go over 33s.
And 35 looks small enough to be classed as a miniature-armed signal relating to shunting, not a 'full-blown', as in main running line, signal (so see my remarks on their meaning in my last post).
So I think it would be up to whoever's on the ground in charge of shunting [and operating the handpoints ('local hand lever-worked' ones), or whatever] to see to the safety of movements between 22 & 32.
I'd say it's doubtful that the purposes of different types of siding roads, not provided with their own separate signal/s, were taken into account for signalling purposes.

Re: 'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:32 pm
by nutford
No that's fine Stevie. Pretty well confirms my last thought.

It also gives a glimmer of insight into how the track was worked. It appears the 'purpose not known' siding may have had more in common with the coal tracks and turntable than with the more obvious yard sidings, and therefore very probably where the Masham coaches parked - they had to park somewhere being at Ripon some 45 minutes between trips, and nowhere else to go. Next to the turntable installed solely for that train would be, with hindsight, the obvious place.

Very many thanks for your help and patience, and to everyone else who helped me understand all this. Every time I think I'm getting some sort of grasp on signalling, I realise I'm just scratching the surface!!

Re: 'Bothways' semaphore signals ??

Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:22 pm
by Starbeck50D
Nice to see so much interest in Ripon No.35 signal. It ended its time at Ripon as a one-way signal with a conventional back blinder. After closure I bought it (£5!) and it is in a safe location though not on public display. When cleaning and restoring the arm many years ago, burning off the old paint revealed red on both sides of the arm. Like several other bothways signals (there was one at Barlby, Selby) it originally had two spectacle plates. The lever plate read (at closure) "35 From Goods Yard" but this was not the original.
Ripon "new" box opened on 24 Mar 1907 and was inspected later that month by Col. von Donop. His report is at Kew, MT 6/1587/2. From the NER drawing we can see the nomenclature was
16 Shunting - Up Siding (bothways and so lettered on dwg but no "s" symbol shown) - presumably cleared when 14 and 21 points were normal
28 From Cattle Dock to Down Main (in BR days shown on the diagram as a yellow disc, the only one at Ripon)
32 From Goods Yard to Up Main
35 Shunting - Goods Yard (bothways, so lettered, "s" symbol) - presumably cleared when 33 points were normal.
Hope this is of interest
Neil