A new lever frame design

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John Bateson
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby John Bateson » Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:02 pm

https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/100pcs-Round-Shaft-Solid-Durable-Metal-Rods-Axles-1-4mm-X-74mm/9006267272

Seeing the note about 1.4 mm brass rod I panicked because I needed some for a few tenders brake axles, then looked at eBay - see above.

Long delivery from Hong Kong though, or in the slightly amended words from an old song, 'slow boat from China ...'

John
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
Avoiding the soaps ...
https://www.greatcentralmodels.co.uk

JFS
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby JFS » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:08 pm

Hmm... the rather non-specific word "metal" would be a worry - it looks like cadmium plated mild steel from the rainbow colours in the photo.

It does rather look like there is no such thing as straight 1.4mm brass or N/S these days - I have now removed references to it in the notes for the frame - piano wire it has to be...

Cheers,

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John McAleely
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby John McAleely » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:45 pm

For those waiting to buy these online, I hope to be able to pull together all the updates needed later this week.

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John McAleely
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby John McAleely » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:46 pm

I have now had the opportunity to list this new product. Available to members only in our online stores.

There are two etches - the MKII Lever Frame (£26) and the etch providing locking for 5 levers: 4-bar vertical tappet interlocking (£34).

As a reminder, instructions are on Howard's website: www.blockpostsoftware.co.uk/L_frame.html.

Winander
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby Winander » Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:37 pm

Hello,

Are the microswitches available in the stores - LFMSW, suitable for the new lever frame?

regards
Richard Hodgson

JFS
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby JFS » Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:42 pm

Winander wrote:Hello,

Are the microswitches available in the stores - LFMSW, suitable for the new lever frame?

regards



They are indeed.

MickRalph
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby MickRalph » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:23 pm

I see that Howard's website states: "Locking Etches for 5 levers cost £34 and are available from the Scalefour Society on-line shop - there is no requirement to be a Society Member".

However, earlier in this thread it states that they are available only to members, and they are not in the e-shop for non-members.

Mick

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John McAleely
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby John McAleely » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:34 pm

MickRalph wrote:I see that Howard's website states: "Locking Etches for 5 levers cost £34 and are available from the Scalefour Society on-line shop - there is no requirement to be a Society Member".

However, earlier in this thread it states that they are available only to members, and they are not in the e-shop for non-members.

Mick


Yes, it would seem to be contradictory. I don’t know when Howard prepared those words. I believe they may reflect the eventual end state agreed with Jeremy. Hopefully Jeremy may comment here directly. I have no specific information about when the current state may change.

JFS
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby JFS » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:41 am

John McAleely wrote:
MickRalph wrote:I see that Howard's website states: "Locking Etches for 5 levers cost £34 and are available from the Scalefour Society on-line shop - there is no requirement to be a Society Member".

However, earlier in this thread it states that they are available only to members, and they are not in the e-shop for non-members.

Mick


Yes, it would seem to be contradictory. I don’t know when Howard prepared those words. I believe they may reflect the eventual end state agreed with Jeremy. Hopefully Jeremy may comment here directly. I have no specific information about when the current state may change.


I wrote this before Scalefour North and it was only in conversation there that I became aware of this limitation (which I understand to be short-term).

I will change the wording forthwith.

I might also mention that I know of at least four non-members who are jumping up and down at this particular piece of news - they happen to be members of the EMGS!

Best wishes,

JFS
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby JFS » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:51 am

JFS wrote:I will change the wording forthwith.



Now changed. I can change it back as soon as the bits are publicly available.

I should mention that the webpage is not indexed off the home page and so is not available via search engines - so only those who hang about round here (members or not) will be aware of it.

Best Wishes,

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Flymo748
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby Flymo748 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:20 pm

JFS wrote:I might also mention that I know of at least four non-members who are jumping up and down at this particular piece of news - they happen to be members of the EMGS!

Best wishes,


If they'd come to Scalefour North, they could have bought one there and then...

Just saying ;-)

Cheers
Flymo
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JFS
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby JFS » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:10 pm

Flymo748 wrote:
If they'd come to Scalefour North, they could have bought one there and then...



They did! ... but were not in full possession of the facts - a bit like me :D

Best wishes,

JFS
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby JFS » Fri Apr 27, 2018 8:16 am

The 70 lever frame I have been working on has reached the assembly stage, and earlier in this thread I mentioned that one of the objectives of this design was to make the building - and particularly the assembly - of longer frames much easier than with the original design.

Those who came to look at the components at S4N [many thanks for some very interesting discussions ladies and gents] will have seen that a 70 lever frame involves a lot of metal, so I approached this stage with some trepidation - "theory" is fine, but the practice might be different.

Well, I am pleased to say that it all went pretty well - here are a few photos showing what it is all about.

The first step is to break all the frame units down to their component parts for painting

Levers.jpg


Next, the 5 lever units are added, the levers being fitted and the pivot rods fitted, unit by unit - starting at the high-number end.

First 5.jpg


Then, it is just a case of working down the frame

Frame Assy 2.jpg


Frame Assy 1.jpg


Frame Assy 3.jpg


All in all, it took about 45 minutes but eventually, the job is done and the frame can be mounted on a suitable base (this one is temporary - the final one will accommodate the electrical switches and wiring).

Assy Complete.jpg


Then the functional testing can begin - which has already thrown up one missing lock, but everything seems to work pretty well - just one or two "stiff" locks needed to be fixed. Truth to tell, I fitted the last bit of the locking last Sunday... since when I have found four further missing locks. Luckily, the design of the locking table means that partial disassembly and modification is not impossible!

There may just be one question in peoples minds... did I end up with the correct number of levers, all painted correctly? Well, no - the last two levers should have been one red and one yellow. But I ended up with one white and one yellow! Then I realised that I had counted the levers off an out-of-date list, before we added an additional shunt-ahead for model requirements. There is a lesson there somewhere...

Hope that is of interest,

Best wishes,

ralphrobertson
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby ralphrobertson » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:32 am

Hi Howard,

That is a beautiful piece of work - I as impressed when I saw it at Wakefield but it is even more impressive now it is all painted up. Well done!

Ralph

JFS
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby JFS » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:39 am

ralphrobertson wrote:That is a beautiful piece of work - I was impressed when I saw it at Wakefield but it is even more impressive now it is all painted up. Well done!


Many thanks Ralph - it is also great fun to play with!!

Can you be tempted for Slattocks?

Well done with the Alpha Mill thread BTW.

Best wishes,

Chris Mitton
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby Chris Mitton » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:03 pm

JFS wrote:
John McAleely wrote:
MickRalph wrote:I see that Howard's website states: "Locking Etches for 5 levers cost £34 and are available from the Scalefour Society on-line shop - there is no requirement to be a Society Member".

However, earlier in this thread it states that they are available only to members, and they are not in the e-shop for non-members.
Mick


I might also mention that I know of at least four non-members who are jumping up and down at this particular piece of news - they happen to be members of the EMGS!

EMGS members can always purchase one for the modest price of £60. For the extra £26 they'll get five copies a year of a professional-quality journal, access to local area groups with serious expertise in finescale railway modelling, access to a expertise-and-inspiration-packed 24/7/365 forum, discounted entry to two quality exhibitions a year, a supplier of lots more useful precision-engineered resources for their own modelling, and they'll be on Steve's mailing list for all our new initiatives. Oh, and their second and subsequent locking etches will be discounted to £34 a pop :D
Regards
Chris

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Colin Parks
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby Colin Parks » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:43 pm

That lever frame (for Leeds City) is quite remarkable Howard.

Just looking at it, it is a wonder anyone can learn the operation sequences - let alone master the locking frame design. Must put my order in for four of these units before the EMGS people buy all the stock!

Terry Bendall
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby Terry Bendall » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:27 am

Colin Parks wrote:Just looking at it, it is a wonder anyone can learn the operation sequences


In real life the signalmen had to! :D Not different for the operator of the layout although in real life, for a box of this size there would probably have been two or three signalmen on duty and a lad to record the movements.

Having seen operators on Howards layout, albeit with a smaller frame, work the frame, they seem to have learnt what to do.

Terry Bendall

Phil O
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby Phil O » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:53 am

When I was a lot younger, we had a school careers trip to Waterloo, we were split into two groups one went to The Box and the other went to the offices and call centre and then we swapped over.

In the box we were given a sheet of paper, with a list of train times and next to each a list of levers to pull or push for each movement, these covered the suburban side frame and movements. Under the watchful eye of the bobby, we were left to get on with it, we didn't have time to watch the trains.

A very satisfying afternoon.

Phil

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Paul Townsend
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby Paul Townsend » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:40 am

Terry Bendall wrote:
Colin Parks wrote:Just looking at it, it is a wonder anyone can learn the operation sequences


In real life the signalmen had to! :D Not different for the operator of the layout although in real life, for a box of this size there would probably have been two or three signalmen on duty and a lad to record the movements.

Having seen operators on Howards layout, albeit with a smaller frame, work the frame, they seem to have learnt what to do.

Terry Bendall

A real signalman did it full time so learnt it well, we only do ours spasmodically so our learning and remembering is quite different.

martin goodall
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby martin goodall » Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:44 pm

Terry Bendall wrote:
Colin Parks wrote:Just looking at it, it is a wonder anyone can learn the operation sequences


In real life the signalmen had to! :D Not different for the operator of the layout although in real life, for a box of this size there would probably have been two or three signalmen on duty and a lad to record the movements.

Having seen operators on Howards layout, albeit with a smaller frame, work the frame, they seem to have learnt what to do.

Terry Bendall


This is my excuse for not installing a fully locked lever frame on the Burford Branch. I should theoretically have a 25-lever frame (allowing for a few spaces). But if the signalman knows his box (which is at the least complex end of the spectrum), he will automatically pull his levers, and restore them, in the correct order, and so would never 'know' that his lever frame has full interlocking, because the way he operates the box will not test the locking.

I appreciate that on the prototype the interlocking would be there to guard against the bobby making any potentially disastrous errors, but we ourselves are (of course) perfect, and never make such errors! So we can dispense with the interlocking, and I have gone one step further by eliminating the lever frame altogether, using the minimum of operating levers distributed along the front of the baseboard to change the points and (when they are installed) to operate some, but not all, of the signals (leaving most of the ground signals quite literally as dummies).

This may be 'unrailwaylike' from the operational point of view, but produces much the same visual effect when viewing the layout.

[Admittedly, I have hedged my bets by buying components for the S4 Society lever frame, and steel strip to serve as tappets and bridle irons in a locking box, but it is unlikely that I will ever actually build the lever frame, as my current improvised arrangements do the job perfectly adequately without going to all that trouble.]

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Le Corbusier
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:10 pm

martin goodall wrote:
This is my excuse for not installing a fully locked lever frame on the Burford Branch. I should theoretically have a 25-lever frame (allowing for a few spaces). But if the signalman knows his box (which is at the least complex end of the spectrum), he will automatically pull his levers, and restore them, in the correct order, and so would never 'know' that his lever frame has full interlocking, because the way he operates the box will not test the locking.

I appreciate that on the prototype the interlocking would be there to guard against the bobby making any potentially disastrous errors, but we ourselves are (of course) perfect, and never make such errors! So we can dispense with the interlocking, and I have gone one step further by eliminating the lever frame altogether, using the minimum of operating levers distributed along the front of the baseboard to change the points and (when they are installed) to operate some, but not all, of the signals (leaving most of the ground signals quite literally as dummies).

This may be 'unrailwaylike' from the operational point of view, but produces much the same visual effect when viewing the layout.

[Admittedly, I have hedged my bets by buying components for the S4 Society lever frame, and steel strip to serve as tappets and bridle irons in a locking box, but it is unlikely that I will ever actually build the lever frame, as my current improvised arrangements do the job perfectly adequately without going to all that trouble.]


As with so much in this hobby, at the more esoteric end it is not so much is it required or strictly necessary ... but rather - do I want to :D

One man's interlocking is another man's ................. (please fill in) ;)
Tim Lee

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Paul Townsend
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby Paul Townsend » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:15 pm

Le Corbusier wrote:
martin goodall wrote:

One man's interlocking is another man's ................. (please fill in) ;)


One man's interlocking is another man's challenge

John Palmer
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby John Palmer » Tue May 01, 2018 12:00 am

Whilst I intend to remain loyal to my Bill Strickland-inspired design of lever frame (I don't like catch handle mechanisms!), this looks like a brilliant way at last to bring a properly interlocked frame within the reach of anybody who wants one.

So far as I can see, movement is imparted to the tappets at beginning and end of stroke only, which leads me to think that the design may not lend itself to representation of the Stevens push-pull lever commonly found on the S&D and LSWR - is that the case?

I'm also intrigued to know how the function of the det. placers will be simulated in 4mm scale!

JFS
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Re: A new lever frame design

Postby JFS » Tue May 01, 2018 9:33 am

Lots of good stuff here - many thanks for the interest and comments.

Just on the question of operation sequences ("pull lists"), familiarity and experience is key, but rest assured that the Relief Men in busy areas with lots of large boxes all carried a "little black book" which would see much use during the first few hours in a box which they had not worked for several months!

Pull lists can be lengthy - there are several at Exeter West (131 levers) which are 15 or more levers - but the frame is well laid out, so most of these start "32 then all the black ones to 54..." Hope you will all call in to the Crewe Heritage Centre to see how it is done!! And of course, download my Simulation from the link in my signature!

In the case of Leeds City junction, there are no really difficult pull lists - most are only three or four levers and none longer than 7 BUT there are (including shunts) no less than 28 different possible routes! And up to 6 of them can be in use at the same time - here is a view with 6 routes all in use at the same time :-

pulled off 2.jpg


You can see (by the white stripes) that there are four Section Signals reversed - one of these is a block-controlled shunt signal. (there is actually a fifth Section Signal, but it is "slot", rather than "Block" controlled. Also the block of levers from 48-55 all reversed apply to three different routes! We are currently working this layout with switches and I can assure everyone that getting confused is not difficult! In this example, you would have three trains, two light engines and one shunt into forward section all on the go at the same time.

Terry is right to mention two or more men manning a box - and in this case, the frame is laid out for two men, and the division is marked by a spare lever in the middle of the frame (the other spares result from installing colour lights and eliminating Distants). Of course, two men doubles the risk of confusion! And the booking lad may or may not help...

Here is one for the signalling enthusiasts:-

distants.jpg


Two Sop signals, but THREE Distants?

The question of what value all this adds to a model railway is personal and dependent on circumstances, so I am sure Martin will have no problems at all at Burford [many thanks for the kind words in Snooze 207 Martin - they are well received] but equally, I know he is just dying to get his hands on those nice shiny etches!

But other layouts have other problems - I am fortunate to have visited on several occasions, a very well known and large model of a station on the ECML and the highlight is when the A4 Pacifics "streak" through at the head of 10 coach rakes. There are three large signal boxes, and the levers frames are represented by banks of switches - impressive: but no locking! This raises the hazard of said A4, running full speed under clear signals straight into a dead end bay!!! Luckily it is not DCC with "inertia"!

Of course, the signalmen are alive to such a risk, and armed with their written-out "pull lists" they set the road VERY carefully! BUT here is the rub! The consequence of this is that only one move ever happens at a time and it takes several minutes for the road to be set then cleared with the result that for most of the time absolutely nothing happens!

And here lies another important point which might get overlooked - you can get 80% of the benefits of locking from only 20% of the locks. In the case I describe, just interlocking the points and running signals would give the signalmen and drivers confidence that if the signal is Off, then the road is set. This would have a massive operational benefit in terms of speeding the job up. So, such things as Shunting Signals, let alone Conditional Locks, Flank Protection, Hold the Road, Sequential Locks, etc are fine for people like me who enjoy this nonsense, but mean a lot of work for little gain for others. That said, I am not volunteering to build the frames for that layout - I am sure an electronic solution will be much more practical!!!

In the Case of Minories, we operate a very intensive service and the locking gives us confidence that we have done it right and allows very quick working with out (too many) mistakes. Remember that FormerEditorJames is in the crew, and given all he has said about Good Quality Operation, mistakes cannot be countenanced! But there is a more important factor in our case, and that is that we want to show the public a little bit of what a Signal Box is all about - albeit that some of them will not be interested. Tim V's Clutton showed the way in this - though other did go before. When we exhibited at Warley, was great, from the back of the layout, to observe the eyes of the viewing public - they would follow the train in and as it came to a halt, all eyes would turn to the signalman, and as the levers stopped moving, they would all turn back to the next train ready for it to move - that made it all seem worthwhile! And it gives people something to watch when the trains are not moving.

Best wishes,


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