Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

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Mickey
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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:50 pm

The learning of the single needle telegraph isn't as hard as some people may think it is?. I'm not saying it's easy initially but with practice one can gradually pick it up then increase ones speed in reading the telegraph instrument. Sending on the single needle telegraph is relatively easy believe it or not once ones picked up the individual letters of the Morse code. Receiving on the single needle telegraph is abit harder but can be learnt in time. The 'trick' is for example take the word spelt number 'eight'. If ones recieves the word 'eight' over a single needle telegraph instrument it has (along with all the other numbers) a definite 'sound pattern' to it. When during for example over the single needle telegraph one hears the 'sound pattern' for the spelt word 'eight' you will identify it straight away so for example if one hears 1A18 the person who's receiving the message will hear the 'ring patterns' for one-A-one-eight. Most telegraph messages were fairly simple messages regarding late running trains so one would nomally hear for example- one A one eight ten late (at) HD which is- 1A18 10 minutes late passing Hatfield No1 s/box. Quite afew signalmen had been doing the job for a number of years and alot of them had been 'telegraph lads' before becoming signalmen on the GN so many of them could have conversations with each other over the single needle telegraph instruments. Micky
Last edited by Mickey on Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by StevieG » Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:54 pm

Micky,
That 'incline' down to Fins.Park No.1: Did you remember or know, that it wasn't new (although the connection to it from the old Up Goods to form the new Up Canonbury, was new) ?
It had previously been the Up East Goods line from East Goods Yard down to No.1 box.
At one time I know there had been a second track in parallel (on the Ashburton side of the remaining one), on this incline up to East Goods Yard, but from what little signalling detail of it I've ever come across, I don't think it had been a running line that could be directly accessed from the Canonbury tunnel direction.

And that new (but temporary) layout : I know it became controlled by a switch panel added at No.6, and that No.4 was the first of the 'station area' boxes to be abolished. Was the new layout definitely controlled by No.4 for a time? (I had thought that No.4 went when the new arrangements came in, but now I'm less certain.)
BZOH

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StevieG
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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by StevieG » Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Micky wrote: " The learning of the single needle telegraph isn't as hard as some people may think it is?. I'm not saying it's easy initially but with practice one can gradually pick it up then increase ones speed in reading the telegraph instrument. Sending on the single needle telegraph is relatively easy believe it or not as you would know once ones picked up the individual letters of the Morse code. A good example is the word spelt number 'eight'. If ones recieves the word 'eight' over a single needle telegraph instrument it has (along with all the other numbers) a definite 'sound pattern' to it. .... " "....Micky"
Yep. It was like the signalling bell codes, you soon get to recognise them from hearing each bell signal as a complete item : you don't need to mentally count the individual beats.
Try sending "twenty" 'on the single needle' (SN); - first as it was usually sent, with the dots and dashes of the letters run together; then again, but as individual letters with a discernible pause between each one.
I always thought the two versions sounded like completely different things.

I learnt to be passable on the 'SN', necessarily learning the written morse code in the process (except for the numeral codes, as these weren't used on the SN - numbers were always spelled out instead), but reading the SN's needle tick-tock-ing to left and right was very different from reading conventional dot/dash morse (short and long tones). So that has to be very slow for me to have a chance of working it out.
BZOH

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:07 am

I've re-written this piece.
Micky wrote:The learning of the single needle telegraph isn't as hard as some people may think it is?. I'm not saying it's easy initially but with practice one can gradually pick it up then increase ones speed in reading the telegraph instrument. Sending on the single needle telegraph is relatively easy believe it or not once ones picked up the individual letters of the Morse code. Receiving on the single needle telegraph is abit harder but can be learnt in time. The 'trick' is for example take the word spelt number 'eight'. If ones recieves the word 'eight' over a single needle telegraph instrument it has (along with all the other numbers) a definite 'sound pattern' to it. When during for example over the single needle telegraph one hears the 'sound pattern' for the spelt word 'eight' you will identify it straight away so for example if one hears 1A18 the person who's receiving the message will hear the 'ring patterns' for one-A-one-eight. Most telegraph messages were fairly simple messages regarding late running trains so one would nomally hear for example- one A one eight ten late (at) HD which is- 1A18 10 minutes late passing Hatfield No1 s/box. Quite afew signalmen had been doing the job for a number of years and alot of them had been 'telegraph lads' before becoming signalmen on the GN so many of them could have conversations with each other over the single needle telegraph instruments. Micky
Stevie, your comments about the block bells are very true. New signaller's (lord help us!) now days ring the block bell way 'to slow' they think that the next signaller along is counting each 'individual beat' instead of ringing it at a normal or slightly faster then normal speed because it's the 'ring pattern' that one's ears are listening for rather than counting each individual beat!. A 3-1 bell sounds different to a 4-1 bell because of the sound of the 'ring pattern' rather than counting the individual beats. A 3-1 rung slowly just sounds like 1-1-1---1 rather than the better 111-1. If that makes sense?. Micky

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:45 am

Stevie, i remember Finsbury Park No4 s/box shortly after being closed and the signal arms (the ones that had been there prior to the box closing-there were more signal arms on those gantry's a year or two earlier) had been removed from the signal posts at No4. I remember a 'tempoary NX panel' being located in a 'portacabin' on the down side of Finsbury Park station platforms this must have been sometime around the early part of 1975 i think but i'm not sure?. To be honest i was 'p****d off' with the re-signalling by then. Finsbury Park No3 & no5 s/boxes must have closed by then but i didn't know until reading your piece that Finsbury Park No6 had a 'switch panel' installed?, if that was the case to me that would have been a complete 'desecration'. Finsbury Park No6 was my favourite box especially in in London area. Finsbury Park No2 had received a 'switch panel' sometime around 1972/73? because i remember when they did the 'change over' wk/end and that was enough for me that No2 box had a really good Dutton & Co lever frame that they got rid of!. By the way i've re-written some of my 'obsevations' about Hornsey up goods s/box there were a couple of 'omissions' and such like and an additional item about the 'engine line' that ran from Hornsey up goods to Harringay up goods s/box. Micky

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by manna » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:20 am

G'day Gents
Amazing what turns up when you open a new thread, found these at Finsbury Park in 1976 when the old boxes were being demolished, knew I had them somewhere.
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EDGWARE GN, Steam in the Suburbs.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:17 pm

Nice find Manna, don't they look pretty!. Some signalman on the GN use to call 'lever tablets or plates' by the name 'badges' maybe they were always called that and not only by GN signalmen?. Anyway, i've always refered to them as badges myself being the GN man that i am ha ha ha :D Micky

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Dave Cockle » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:16 pm

Micky wrote:Nice find Manna, don't they look pretty!. Some signalman on the GN use to call 'lever tablets or plates' by the name 'badges' maybe they were always called that and not only by GN signalmen?. Anyway, i've always refered to them as badges myself being the GN man that i am ha ha ha :D Micky

I was taught at Kings Cross signalling school (Wellers Court) in 1969 and the instructor, Ron Hitchcock, told us the correct terminology was
"Lever Description Plates" although as you say Micky some signalmen called them badges.

I became aware on moving from the GN side to the GE side that the signalmen had different names for the same railway equipment/trains.

On the GN a disc shunt signal was a "Dolly" but on the GE it was a "Dod".

On the GN if you were told "The cars were coming up the Goods" it would be a train of Car Flats or Cartics. On the GE cars up the goods meant it was an Empty Coaching Stock train. The GN signalmen never refered to Empty Coaching Stock as "Cars", they would call them "Coaches".

Dave Cockle

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:44 pm

Hello Dave, your dead right there. On the GN a disc signal was always referred to as a 'dolly' (well it was around the London area south of Peterborough and i guess every where else on the GN) but i've done all my signalling on the North London lines since 1980 (former London Midland region) and a disc signal has always been called a 'dod' on North London lines as far as i can remember?. Oh yes ECS, has always in recent years been called 'cars' on the North London Lines i guess thats something to do with ex LT&S and GE men taking over the management, controller's and signalmen's positions on the North London lines since the mid 90s before that time it was London Midland region signalmen and management. Micky

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:02 pm

FINSBURY PARK No5 was built in 1888. The Stroud Green road underbridge has always seemed to have posed sighting problems for No5s down fast home signal?. In B.R. days No5s down fast home signal was mounted on a small tubular post with a 'sighting board' provided behind the arm as well. The signal arm was also slightly smaller than the normal full size arm and was also fitted with a bullseye spectacle in the 'red glass' and maybe the green glass as well?. In an L.N.E.R. photograph taken from the down fast line platform looking north with FINSBURY PARK No5 in the distance what appears to be a small yellow somersault repeating signal with a letter 'R' afixed to the arm is mounted on a lattice post and is situated just beyond the down fast line platform end with No5s somersault home signal mounted on a medium size straight post situated very near to the box beside the down fast line in the distance beyond.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:08 pm

Apart from 'bunking' into a number of boxes in the London area previously mentioned elsewhere on this forum three other boxes i failed to mention were HOLLOWAY SOUTH UP (once) HOLLOWAY NORTH DOWN (twice) & FINSBURY PARK No3 (once). The young fella at HOLLOWAY NORTH DOWN who let me visit him on two occasions and who was about 25 or 26 yrs old at that time and who i think may have lived in Welwyn Garden City transferred to becoming a guard at Kings Cross sometime around 1975 or 76?. I happened to see him on several occasions working as a guard on the Craven units around that time. My visit to FINSBURY PARK No3 was with the box Telegraph lad who i knew around that time (1972) and who had been previously at FINSBURY PARK No6 for the year previous but had then transferred to No3. What i remember of my visit to FINSBURY PARK No3 was that it was a 'fairly wide' box once inside and that the signalman on duty was an Asian fella i seem to recall? (he may have been a relief signalman?) who didn't say much but he didn't seem to mind me being there either. One thing i do remember was the Telegraph lad telling me that the two levers at the end of the frame which i think were no.79 down fast colour light home signal & no.80 down fast semaphore distant signal (mounted with a group of six other distant signals on a gantry) was the 'Telegraph lad's levers' because those levers were situated near the desk with the book on it and circuit telephones and was where the Telegraph lad usually was and it was his 'duty' to clear no.79 & no.80 levers for the signalman!. From memory (nearly 40 yrs later and only one visit to the box) i think i recall that the down fast line block instruments were mounted around the center or just to the right of center of the block shelf and of course the levers for the down fast line were located at the far right hand end of the frame, obviously it saved the signalman walking a long the frame just to 'pull off' those two levers if the Telegraph lad done it for him. Dave Cockle maybe able to verify this?.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by strang steel » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:21 pm

I am going to ask this question here, because at least you will be able to tell me why my memory is impossible - if it is.

I was on board the last train from Grimsby to Kings Cross via the East Lincs line and I am sure that on the up journey somewhere south of Potters Bar, the train was turned from the up slow to the up goods. I am convinced that we passed at least a couple of stations to the left of all the platform lines.

This was Sunday Oct 4th 1970, and I was wondering if a passenger train with a Brush 4 on the front would be allowed to do this (it may have been an extra 'bonus' given the 'enthusiast nature' of the train) or whether I may need to be sectioned even for suggesting such heresy?

John
John

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by StevieG » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:48 pm

That 'modern' Holloway North Down was very nice wasn't it Micky, including 'tell-tale' lights for the eleven block bells to help, at busy moments, by showing (for a few seconds) which bell(s) had just rung, and central heating by radiators.

About 1970, I recall Sid Barker (not 'about 25 or 26'), Jim Cragg and Peter Edey being there - all regular men I think, though I don't know if any of them went on to be Guard. I wonder if the afore-mentioned Keith Challon ('Lad' at Barnet North), who did end up as a guard, had become a signalman in between, and signed HND.

Ah, Fins.Park 3 ("EO" : south end of the station, controlling only the Down lines).
Possibly your host signalman was Danny D'Souza, who either was always, or had been, on the Relief.

I'm sure 79 and 80 levers were left to 'the Lad', though they were laid out as per the direction/order of the signals, the opposite way round to your memories (79 Distant ; 80 Home). Did you know that the gantry on which 80, and its Down Slow 1 & 2 lines' counterpart colour-light signal heads (all also acting as No.5 box's Distants) were mounted, was a GNR structure that had, until 1957 I think, carried their predecessor 10 mechanical arms, which were somersault signals. - Probably some of the very last arms of that type on principal running lines in the London area.

I think 79 & 80 were 'the Lad's' for several reasons : -
- They were separated from all the other running signal levers by a group of 13 other levers working points, Facing Point Locks, ground discs, and detonator placers;
- The DF Block instrument and bells weren't far from 79/80, separated on the block shelf from all the others by the fairly large diagram of tracks and signals in its traditional glass-fronted wooden frame, and so were some little distance from the area of levers, bells and instruments for the other lines which could keep the signalman quite busy without his continually having to walk back and forth to frequently attend the equipment for the Down Fast;
- Oddly some might think, despite No.3's 80 levers, there were no points in the DF there (and never were during this box's existence I think), and No.3 only performed a simple 'break-section' function, with Home 80 just affording close protection for the Block section through the station, including the platform and any trains stationary there for station duties;
- The Down Fast was quite a busy line, making manipulation of 79 & 80, and use of the associated Block instrument and bells, fairly intensive, and needed frequent attendance : - Partly because 79 also had to act as No.5's Distant, which meant that when a train was signalled from Holloway immediately after the preceding one had passed No.3 and 'Train Out Of Section' (TOS) had been given, it would be offered on to No.5 as soon as TOS was received for the previous one.
If accepted, 80 could be pulled, clearing the colour-light from Red to Yellow, but 79 lever for the mechanical Distant remained electrically locked until No.5 also 'pulled off' (his levers 2 & 3) for this next train, which could not be immediate but could sometimes be done only about 1.5 - 2 minutes later. No.5's Distant lever (2) changed FP3.80 from Yellow to Green, and rang a trembler bell in No.3 box for a second or two, to signify there that No.3's Distant 79 was then free to be pulled, thus of course the Lad (or signalman) had to walk back to that end to do it, giving the train 'all clear' right through Finsbury Park.
BZOH

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by StevieG » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:27 pm

strang steel wrote:I am going to ask this question here, because at least you will be able to tell me why my memory is impossible - if it is.

I was on board the last train from Grimsby to Kings Cross via the East Lincs line and I am sure that on the up journey somewhere south of Potters Bar, the train was turned from the up slow to the up goods. I am convinced that we passed at least a couple of stations to the left of all the platform lines.

This was Sunday Oct 4th 1970, and I was wondering if a passenger train with a Brush 4 on the front would be allowed to do this (it may have been an extra 'bonus' given the 'enthusiast nature' of the train) or whether I may need to be sectioned even for suggesting such heresy?

John
What you describe could be allowed (but not for the sake of giving enthusiasts thrills alone, I think), to avoid job-stopping situations preventing passenger lines' use, such as if pre-planned to get past lines Possession-blocked for engineering work, or unplanned if such lines became obstructed, e.g. by obstacle(s) or a failed or derailed train, or were unsafe (e.g. track formation subsidence).
But this could only be done with Operating Officer authority (constituted by official notice for planned occasions), and application of 'Passenger train over Goods Line', and where necessary (not needed in your quoted case I think), 'passenger trains passing over points not fitted with facing point lock', standing Instructions.

There was Up Goods line from New Barnet North to Oakleigh Park (would only pass to the left of New Barnet station).
Probably more likely in your case, there was one Up Goods line your train could have used, from Wood Green No.2 (north of the station) to Finsbury Park No.6 (north of the station), and Fins.Pk.4 (sth.of stn.) to Holloway South Up, with crossovers UG-US and US-UG at Wood Green No.4 (sth.of stn.), and Hornsey Up Goods box; and UG-US at Harringay Up Goods, and Holloway North Up.

So it would have been possible to leave Wood Green, Hornsey, and Harringay platforms all on the right. But my guess as most likely, would be that you went US-UG at Wood Green 4 (doing so at Wood Green 2 involved crossing the 'Up Branch' line from Hertford), and on to Fins.Pk.6, thus passing Harringay & Hornsey stations off to the right.

For the record, there was also a second non-passenger line to the left of, and parallel with, the first, from Wood Green 4 to Fins.Pk.6, and Fins Pk.4 to Holloway South Up ; variously titled the Up 'Carriage', 'Goods No.2', and 'Coal', along the way.
Last edited by StevieG on Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
BZOH

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:36 pm

Thats a lot of intersting infomation Stevie. Yes the fella who was at HOLLOWAY NORTH DOWN and who went as a guard yes i think his name was Keith now that you mention it and the signalman who was at FINSBURY PARK No3 that day was Danny D'Souza as well. The reason that i said that levers no.79 was the down fast line home signal and no.80 was the down fast line distant signal was that i was thinking it was like a simular 'arrangement' like what was at FINSBURY PARK No6 where the last lever (no.55 i think?) was the up fast line outter distant signal. no.54 the up fast line inner distant signal & no.53 up fast line colour light home signal (which was the wrong way around in the frame?). No i didn't know that FINSBURY PARK No3s colour light signal gantry had previously carried his semaphore home signals although i have seen pictures of FINSBURY PARK No3s semaphore home signals in books but i didn't know that it was the same gantry?. I remember seeing the 'other' semaphore signal gantry coming up from FINSBURY PARK No2 about 1967/68 before they cut the dolls and replaced the semaphores with colour light signals and theatre light route indicators (the one that you use for your avatar!). The FINSBURY PARK No3 block shelf is kind of a 'hazy memory' to me nearly 40 yrs on and like i said i only ever made one visit to the box but i kind of remember that the down fast line block instruments WEREN'T above the down fast line signal levers and like i said before for some reason i thought that the No3 lever frame was simular to the FINSBURY PARK No6 frame where the levers were 'arse about face' in the frame if you please?.

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