Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

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AndyRush
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Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by AndyRush » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:14 am

StevieG wrote:...And that's the equivalent earlier version of up yard exit signal I mentioned earlier, then with the multiple arms (6).

Note the string of wires roughly horizontal across the upper part of the photo; - signal wires when the GN ran much of them overhead instead of along the ground, flanked top and bottom by tensioning wires to carry the vertical pulley sets that the signal wires ran over.
I've never seen anything about this practice in print. Nor have I seen overhead wires in use on any other lines that I am interested in. On the GN, I have pictures of such wires at Lincoln and Doncaster, of which this is the clearest.
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Doncaster 3 September 1911, view north from 'B' signal box towards the two year old Marshgate bridge, Station turntable in foreground and Doncaster North Ticket Platform at right.

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StevieG
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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by StevieG » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:41 am

Thanks v.m. Andy. That's the best example I've seen as well. Michael Vanns had something on this practice as well - he presented on GN signalling at last Saturday's GNRS meeting.

[ I like the five-armed miniature; - reading across a turntable! (...I presume? That's what it looks like.) Amazing.]
BZOH

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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by Mickey » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:26 pm

Isn't there places in Scotland presumedly the Highland railway where signal wires are hung on there pulleys at a higher level then the more usual 2 or 3ft above ground level due to possible snow drifts at certain places?.

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strang steel
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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by strang steel » Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:50 pm

StevieG wrote:Thanks v.m. Andy. That's the best example I've seen as well. Michael Vanns had something on this practice as well - he presented on GN signalling at last Saturday's GNRS meeting.

[ I like the five-armed miniature; - reading across a turntable! (...I presume? That's what it looks like.) Amazing.]
Forgive a signalling novice intervening here, but would that mean the exit road of the turntable would be locked in to whichever of the 5 arms was pulled off? Would this be more of a space saver (instead of pointwork) rather than as a turning facility for locomotives.
John. My spotting log website is now at https://spottinglogs.co.uk/spotting-rec ... s-70s-80s/

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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by Mickey » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:09 pm

I hope that you don't mind me jumping in here John. Stevie will probably give a correct and detailed explanation of how it works. That thought occured to me obviously if the turn table ISN'T facing in the 'right direction' to correspond with the road coming in passed thoughs 5-miniture arms then i would assume that thoughs 5-miniture arms would be LOCKED AT DANGER. It is or was 'unusal' i presume to have a signal reading through a turn table?. On the other hand there is a simular arrangement at 'swing bridges' i would presume?.

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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by Bryan » Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:33 pm

The question arises though.
Which situation is preferable the wires in the ground or up in the air.
In the ground I would have found them with the digger bucket.
In the air I would hit them when slewing round.

The only benefit from a CCE (Cable cutting expert) point of view is that when the airbourne cables are made redundant, they are more likely to be removed rather than just left in the ground.

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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by manna » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:38 pm

G'day Gents

What a wonderful idea, nothing worse than falling over signal wires at 3am when it's pouring down and your making a dash across the running lines, to the shed or shunters bunk, heard of a KX driver who fell over some out at Finsbury Pk his hand hit the point blade, required many stitches to repair :shock:

Also in the picture, have you noticed how tidy everything is? even the fogmans hut have been laid down, no scrap laying around,or sleepers, must have had plenty of staff :o

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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by 61070 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:47 am

Re. the five-armed signal does this help? It's from an 1890s OS map of the area. The five arms seem to relate to routes available beyond the turntable, not roads off it?
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strang steel
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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by strang steel » Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:59 am

Yes John, that does seem to make sense.

A loco which has uncoupled from a recent arrival runs onto the turntable, is turned and then backs onto the headshunt where it then waits for one of the 5 signals to indicate which of the roads (from the track which bypasses the turntable) is set for it beyond?
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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by Mickey » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:18 am

I prefer signal wires being close to the ground where they belong instead of 10 feet in the air not that i see anymore signal wires around anymore. That was a onetime 'pleasure' of standing lineside at somewhere like WELWYN GARDEN CITY or at ELSTREE on the Midland main line where you had a s/box with 'alot' of semaphore signals you would hear the 'swish noise' of the individual signals being pulled off or the rattle of the point rodding being moved. Come to think of it thats another 'lost' sound we don't hear anymore.

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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by StevieG » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:56 am

Wires up in the air versus along the ground: I know what you mean manna.

Wonder why they didn't stay up above. Harder to look after perhaps, and difficult to remove foreign objects, like flying tree branches and twigs on windy days perhaps. And they'd be more vulnerable to the occasional falling tree, but less so to derailments.

Note in the original Donc. photo, there's quite a lot of enclosed wooden trunking in the ground around the signals and points on the right; covered-in rods and wires perhaps.

Thanks for the old OS extract, 61070. From what I make of that, that 5-armed signal's application explanation does indeed make more sense. I was initially going by the 5-arm signal's proximity to the turntable line, it being quite a distance from the line to its left (to our right as viewed in the photo). But if applying to that line, it was certainly well clear of the post of the main bracket signal applying to the opposite direction.

Even miniature signals needed to have their whole route set up (to another signal, a buffer stop, stopboard, etc.) before being free to be cleared (including points, derailers, scotch blocks, swing bridges, and perhaps even a turntable). So 'the five' could not have applied for several routes emanating from the turntable as only one route could be complete (the one for which the turntable exit is lined up when entry to it is also lined up at the same time) : Signals couldn't apply to nay of the other turntable roads, as the route to them could not be complete from the 5-arm signal, it being impossible for the turntable to be in two positions at once.

[ The GN was seemingly not averse to putting signals in what we might now regard as odd positions relative to the line(s) they applied to. I've seen several times, a photo of a GN train entering the north end of Hatfield station area on the Up Fast. In it is visible quite a plethora of signals all over the area, and all tall, in order that their top arms should have a sky background for better daytime visibility at distance.
In the photo, an Up Fast Distant of the signal box located at the south end of the station is clear for the featured train - but is a small-ish arm, at roughly just above train roof height, on the back of the post of the very tall Down Main Home signal (top arm visible above the whole station to trains approaching from the south) for No.3 box, at the north end of the DM platform.
Probably not too much of a problem to the crews, once they were accustomed where to look for whichever signal: All part of route knowledge I suppose.]
BZOH

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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by AndyRush » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:30 am

I knew I'd seen another good picture of the overhead signal wires at Doncaster and, when looking for something else (typical!), I found it in Great Northern Engine Sheds Vol.3, p42. This is a superb track level view at the south end of the station in 1909, looking north.

From both of the views it seems that only the wires on the west side of the station were so treated, crossing the goods lines at both ends of the station. Presumably, part of the reason for the number of wires, which appear to have long overhead runs, would have been the amount of slotted working between the numerous signal boxes.

I'm still in the dark as to why it appears to be a particularly GN speciality, there are plenty of places on other companies' lines with multiple signal boxes and extensive slotting where the practice doesn't appear to have found favour.

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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by manna » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:24 pm

G'day Gents

I also know of another 'accident' at Hornsey, when a driver and fireman took a shortcut across the lines to Hornsey shed and tried to nip across in front of a train, they both tripped over signal wires, one lost a leg the other lost both :(
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Re: Overhead Signal Wires - was K Class at Hatfield

Post by Mickey » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:07 pm

I'll tell you all a story about a 'broken signal wire' which is a minor thing which potentially was a MAJOR INCIDENT when i was at JUNCTION ROAD JUNCTION (a Midland Railway s/box) in Tufnell Park in North London, this was back in 82 or 83?. At about 2:am early one Saturday morning i had the signal wire on my down starting signal break on the down T&H line which was approximately 200yds from the box towards HARRINGAY PARK JUNCTION s/box (UPPER HOLLOWAY was switched out at the time) so i rung for the S&T linesmen to attend which they did about an hour later at about 3:am. So the S&T found where the signal wire had broken and re-wound the broken signal wire with wire and made a 'good job' of it or so i thought at the time but they didn't?. The linesmen signed the signal back in working order and left the box, i then had several trains go down road and noticed that the signal was pulling 'hard' (it was only approximately 200yds from the box remember) and there was NO SIGNAL REPEATER on the block shelf so i couldn't see if the signal was showing an off or an on indication without looking out of the s/box window which wasn't made any easier by a bridge right by the s/box.
At about 5:45am i had the old SWANSEA to DAGENHAM vans go down road and waiting on the 'low level' lines from WEST HAMPSTEAD was the BARKING empties (a x2 car DMU) waiting for the road. So i put the 'boards' back behind the train of vans and then set the road up for the empties to drop down to my starter to await acceptance from HARRINGAY PARK JUNCTION but when the empty DMU passed the box the driver had 'power on' because when i looked at the down starting signal to my horror the 'board was off' and so the driver goes sailing by the signal which of course he would do with the signal showing 'off' following the arse end of the train of vans through the block section to HARRINGAY PARK JUNCTION!.
Basically what had happened was the S&T had somehow while reconnecting the broken signal wire had managed to 'wrap it around the point rodding' in the dark?. Thats why the signal was working 'hard' when i either pulled it off or putting it back.
I got done for "FAILING TO OBSERVE A SIGNAL RETURNING TO DANGER" over that incident. It seems like any 'real problems' that i ever had as a Signalman down the years for the most part was ALWAYS due to an S&T fault of some of there equipment?.

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