How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

andrewnummelin
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How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby andrewnummelin » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:40 pm

In doing a bit of research at the NRM I got distracted and came across a bit that could make layout operators think.
We are all used to seeing trains standing at a signal move off as soon as it is cleared (model and modern prototype) but with unfitted trains this was not always the case - instructions in a Rhymney Railway timetable for trains descending a bank towards a junction were that they had to be stopped before the home signal (even if off) to unpin brakes. However if the signal was on, the locomotive, tender, brake van and wagon brakes had to be kept on until the signal was cleared. How long did it take to unpin all the wagon brakes before the train would move?
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Andrew Nummelin

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Will L
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Will L » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:17 pm

The answer is clearly depends on the signal location and the train. So what a passenger train could achieve with continuous brake is different from what an unfitted train can do. Remembering that even on passenger trains, it can take a few moments blow up the vacuums after a full service application, and so it can take time to release the brake. For an unfitted freight that has stopped with the brakes pinned down, presumably there would be no objection to unpinning the brakes on the wagons if it is now standing on the flat, so wouldn't have any probable getting away reasonably promptly once all the brakes have been released and the signal cleared.

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steamraiser
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby steamraiser » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:06 pm

Although the signal has been cleared the train cannot move until the guard waves his green flag.
As departure time approaches the driver, or possible the fireman will be keeping an eye on the signal and the guard. As soon as the signal is cleared the crew will be looking for the guard to give the all clear.

The crew will also need to have a staff for the next section.

Gordon A

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Tim V
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Tim V » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:20 pm

They wouldn't unpin all the brakes, only sufficient for the guard to consider that the train was adequately braked. Rules 131 applies.

I would think it would be bad practice to bring a loaded train to a stand on the Rhymney, the bobby would be in their bad books!
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Tor Giffard
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Tor Giffard » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:39 pm

Evenin' all,

As Will suggests, every situation is different. A worthwhile example is the outlet signal to Tunstead quarry private sdgs in the Peak District. In the 1980s many of the trains leaving the sdgs (1 in 100 gradient climbing) were banked. The yard shunter would contact Great Rocks signal box by phone once the the train was ready to depart (banker in position). The signaller would give the road when he could and then the colour light signal at the outlet would change to one yellow. This was the cue for the train driver to sound 2 crows on the loco horn. On hearing this the banker driver would repeat the 2 crows and start to push the train. Here is the location and situation....

https://www.flickr.com/photos/43564631@ ... 730543368/

Dave
Last edited by Tor Giffard on Sat Feb 06, 2016 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Tor Giffard
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Tor Giffard » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:52 pm

Tim V wrote:They wouldn't unpin all the brakes, only sufficient for the guard to consider that the train was adequately braked. Rules 131 applies.

I would think it would be bad practice to bring a loaded train to a stand on the Rhymney, the bobby would be in their bad books!


The other way round Tim....the driver requests the guard to pin down or release brakes until he is happy that the train has sufficient brake force to safely negotiate the route ahead. After all he is the one reacting to the signals along the route and his route knowledge will guide him as to what brakeforce is necessary.

Dave
Last edited by Tor Giffard on Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Noel
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Noel » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:52 pm

andrewnummelin wrote:How long did it take to unpin all the wagon brakes before the train would move?

I don't think that there is a specific answer to this. Pinning down brakes was the result of a judgement by the train crew on the day; because of variations in loads and the condition of the rail, in turn dependent on the weather, the same crew might decide it was necessary to pin down a different number of brakes on different days. Probably the only answer is that it took about the same time [or perhaps a little less] to unpin brakes as it took to pin down the brakes in the first place [take the lever off the rest, push it down and insert the pin against removing the pin, lifting the lever and placing it on the rest]. It might, of course, have been necessary to pin down more brakes, or lift some, if the gradient changed significantly part way down.

steamraiser wrote:Although the signal has been cleared the train cannot move until the guard waves his green flag.

Would a goods guard use a flag in this situation, or just a hand signal (or a light at night)?

Tim V wrote:They wouldn't unpin all the brakes, only sufficient for the guard to consider that the train was adequately braked. Rules 131 applies.
Rule 131(ii) refers to the guard pinning down brakes when requested by the driver, but doesn't say anything about lifting them at the bottom of the gradient, so I'm not sure what you have in mind here, Tim?

Noel
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Tor Giffard
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Tor Giffard » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:58 pm

Noel wrote:
andrewnummelin wrote:How long did it take to unpin all the wagon brakes before the train would move?

I don't think that there is a specific answer to this. Pinning down brakes was the result of a judgement by the train crew on the day; because of variations in loads and the condition of the rail, in turn dependent on the weather, the same crew might decide it was necessary to pin down a different number of brakes on different days. Probably the only answer is that it took about the same time [or perhaps a little less] to unpin brakes as it took to pin down the brakes in the first place [take the lever off the rest, push it down and insert the pin against removing the pin, lifting the lever and placing it on the rest]. It might, of course, have been necessary to pin down more brakes, or lift some, if the gradient changed significantly part way down.

steamraiser wrote:Although the signal has been cleared the train cannot move until the guard waves his green flag.

Would a goods guard use a flag in this situation, or just a hand signal (or a light at night)?

Tim V wrote:They wouldn't unpin all the brakes, only sufficient for the guard to consider that the train was adequately braked. Rules 131 applies.
Rule 131(ii) refers to the guard pinning down brakes when requested by the driver, but doesn't say anything about lifting them at the bottom of the gradient, so I'm not sure what you have in mind here, Tim?

Noel


....whether or not the guard exhibits a proceed handsignal depends on the location and reason as to why the train stopped. The BR Rule Book clarifies the procedure in each given situation.

Dave

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Tim V
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Tim V » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:59 pm

"also, where necessary, or when requested by the Driver, fasten down a sufficient number of wagon brakes before descending the gradient". Part of Rule 131 - 1950 Rule book. Note the "or"
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Terry Bendall
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Terry Bendall » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:14 am

This seems to me to be a question where the Friendly District Inspector may be able to assist, if he feels so inclined. :)

Terry Bendall

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Tim V
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Tim V » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:45 am

Found a potential answer, from the WTT, to start on the main line for class C train was 2 minutes, class D and inferior was 3 minutes. Try that at an exhibition :D
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andrewnummelin
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby andrewnummelin » Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:56 pm

Tim V wrote:...to start on the main line ... was 3 minutes. Try that at an exhibition :D

That was in my mind when I made the original posting! Thanks Tim for finding some actual numbers.
Regards,

Andrew Nummelin

Alan Turner
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Alan Turner » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:17 pm

Just one thing to remember, the signalman gives permission but doesn't instruct the train to move.

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SHurst
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby SHurst » Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:40 am

I have heard it said that the Driver is only the chauffeur for the Guard on the Signalman's railway....... but I couldn't possible comment on that :)

Simon

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Noel
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Noel » Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm

Alan Turner wrote:Just one thing to remember, the signalman gives permission but doesn't instruct the train to move


Also true of the guard; the responsibility is the driver's. BR had a number of accidents where the guard gave the 'clear to proceed' signal after a station stop and the driver involved started against a red. The problem mostly occurred with multiple units [where the 'ready to proceed ' indication is given by a bell], but did also occur with loco hauled trains. The rules were changed in 1980 to require the guard and station staff not to give permission to proceed unless the starting signal was clear. However, the final responsibility still rests with the driver.

To revert to Andrew's question, in steam days I would expect that the guard would indicate 'ready to proceed' once he had lifted the wagon brakes and thereafter leave it to the driver to proceed when ready. Apart from the signalling issue, a driver with an ailing engine, for example, might prolong the stop for his own reasons.

Noel
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Tor Giffard
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Tor Giffard » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:01 pm

Aft'noon all,

A freight train detained in e.g. a passing loop for some time (quite routine throughout BR days) wouldn't have all traincrew watching the outlet signal avidly for what could be half an hour or so, instead, the driver whistled up once the signal cleared and looked back for the tip from the guard in his brakevan (could be on the secondmans side if the line curved that way).

Dave

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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby martin goodall » Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:06 pm

The need for everyone to co-operate, rather than thinking it’s the other chap’s job, was graphically demonstrated to me one day on the West Somerset Railway. (This was some years ago, so shouldn’t be seen as a reflection on the current operation of that line.) We were in the bay platform at Minehead, where entrance onto the main is protected by a trap point. I was sitting in the front of a DMU right behind the driver’s compartment, so saw the whole thing.

There was a ‘second man’ in the cab, who almost certainly shouldn’t have been there, and he and the driver were deep on conversation, when the guard sounded the buzzer to start. The driver immediately opened the regulator and set off. Just in the nick of time, his mate grabbed his arm and pointed to the starting signal, which was still ‘On’. (Actually, I think he pointed to the trap point, which was invitingly open in front of us!) The driver jammed on the brakes, just in time to avoid running through the trap and putting the leading wheels on the ballast. This put a sudden stop to the driver’s absorbing conversation with his mate, and I don’t think they exchanged another word all the way to Bishop’s Lydeard.

So on your layout, you definitely shouldn't set off until the board comes 'off'!

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James Wells
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby James Wells » Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:44 pm

There was a Red Video about a similar incident on the Western somewhere a couple of years ago. It's often a learnt behaviour - assuming that everything is as it is normally - right away given, signal normally showing a proceed aspect. Usually the signal was cleared quite early but this day the signaller had required "an urgent PNB" so didn't clear it by the time it was due out!

Most operations on the railway will be routine so if a train, like in the OP, was regularly held at a junction, loop, etc, the crew would be used to it and in many cases know which train they were being held for. So in some cases you might find the train crew primed ready to unpin brakes. Depending on how long a train had stood (and the provision of track circuits/phones etc) you might find the fireman or second man in the box concerned and would return with a good idea of how long the wait may be.

Alan Turner
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Alan Turner » Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:10 pm

Almost off topic but I have actually seen this scenario on a preserved railway on a normal operations day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLaxJv7GuHI third example of the film "The Hand signaller".

I won't identify the railway but when I pointed out the driver had passed a signal at danger they clearly didn't understand the failure in their operating procedures.

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Alan

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Jim Summers
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Jim Summers » Sat Feb 13, 2016 5:18 pm

Martin wrote about an incident some time ago, and things will of course be different now, but note he says:

"when the guard sounded the buzzer to start . . . the driver immediately opened the regulator and set off".

The Guard is due a disciplinary charge, even if the train did not come to grief.

What Martin saw was the phenomenon of "ding ding and away" (i.e. the driver automatically reacting to the buzzer and overlooking the signal) which was recognised as a cause of accidents by the main line railways 25-30 years ago. It was tackled by a new rule which says the Guard must not give the signal to start until he and platform despatchers have verified that any applicable running signal is giving a proceed indication. Specifically to aid this rule, BR installed indicators on platforms with a poor view of the signal. There are also other safeguards against the risk.

Jim

John Palmer
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby John Palmer » Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:57 pm

Not the first 'ding-ding and away' there has been from that bay at Minehead. Can't recall the date, but must have been around 1980-82 when a DMU driver did exactly the same save that he failed to pull up before the front bogie ended fully in the dirt. This must have been within a year or so of the BR rule change to which Jim refers, but presumably there had been no corresponding amendment to WSR procedures. I participated in the ensuing re-railing and learned the lesson that 'you can never have too much packing' for such exercises.

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James Wells
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby James Wells » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:42 pm

Jim Summers wrote:The Guard is due a disciplinary charge, even if the train did not come to grief.

What Martin saw was the phenomenon of "ding ding and away" (i.e. the driver automatically reacting to the buzzer and overlooking the signal) which was recognised as a cause of accidents by the main line railways 25-30 years ago. It was tackled by a new rule which says the Guard must not give the signal to start until he and platform despatchers have verified that any applicable running signal is giving a proceed indication. Specifically to aid this rule, BR installed indicators on platforms with a poor view of the signal. There are also other safeguards against the risk.


It still happens on the national network.

I can think of all sorts of instances. Train sat in the station between the outer and inner homes with the latter on. Guard gives the right away and the train proceeds a few yards and stands at the signal.

I've had this happen when we've had delays and I have been requested to hold the train. In this case it often leads to the driver changing ends having got permission to set back into the platform...

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James Wells
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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby James Wells » Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:23 am

Interestingly the same happened yesterday; a late running train regulated for an on time working. Driver made his stop and then the train set off from the platform and dropped towards the starter. Not far, the rear of the unit was only just off the end of the platform.

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Re: How soon does a train move after a signal is cleared?

Postby Albert Hall » Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:23 pm

The technical term for 'ding ding and away' is SASSPAD - Starting Against the Signal, Signal Passed at Danger. A serious enough offence to have a dispatcher suspended from platform duties immediately. My golden rule was to keep my whistle in my pocket until the signal came off.


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