Jim Summers wrote:I could never understand the reasoning/cussedness of the Western signalmen who objected to the introduction, with this Green Book, of Call Attention before giving TOS.
Not like you to be provocative Jim!
Well, that one is easy to answer - it is quite the most stupidly pointless requirement imaginable. If you are at the other end of a long frame, (and how many people writing here have actually had a go at working a 130 lever frame, on their own at a very busy period, with 4 trains, 3 light engines and 2 pending shunt moves all on the go at once and the booking lad still not recovered from his hangover...***) then a requirement to answer a Call Attention, then acknowledge the OOS is a blasted nuisance when you have managed perfectly well your whole life without. It is no better when you have to wait for the other chap to answer the Call Attention before you can drop the block.
What is worse, the requirement is counter-logical. In a busy environment, on the WR,or SR the sounding of Call Attention announces something that you are going to have to make a decision about (accept a Line Clear, or Wong Line Move, Clear back after a Train Withdrawn, Shunt Arrived, Shunt Withdrawn, Drawn Back Clear, Cancel, Redescribe, Engine Arrived ... or whatever. No decision is EVER needed regarding Out Of Section (what are going to do "refuse" it???). Utter nonesense.
What was much more cussed was the insitance by BR of imposing a way of working which was clearly totally unnecessary, since much of the country managed without it, including
- in my personal experience - some significant boxes on the former LMS when the Inspector was safely tucked up in bed...
Notice also, that BR did not go to the length of requiring the sending of Call Attention before the Entering Section - something which, apparently, the LNER found a matter of life and death (but not in large boxes when the inspector... ...) so it really was nothing more than Greater Midlandisation.
BR would have won a lot of friends if it had just adopted the WR (or at least the SR) method of working universaly - after all, both of those regions had a better safety record than the LMR, NER or ER.
I come across lots of people (obviously not yourself Jim!!) who have an immaculate understanding of the regs but no practical experience of working or even observing a large and busy box.
There is a story (told to me by one who was there) of an inspector newly arrived on the Southern Region, who entered a large and very busy box on the Southern's principle main line. He was shocked at the extent of "slack working" on the bells, issued a General B*ll*cking then insisted that everyone work "Straight up". The whole region ground to halt within a couple of hours and the Inspector was instructed to henceforth confine his focus to the office - like everyone else in Management...
Just on how longlived former practices were, in the late sixties on my bit of the Southern, the Out Of Section was universally known as the "TA" (train arrived) which was its description in pre-group days thereabouts.
*** I have not presonally had that experience "in anger" either - though I have observed such situations on the WR, the SR and the LMR - and anyone can observe it even today at Exeter West box at Crewe, any weekend. And that one I have had a go at - I wrote the computer simulation which powers the place!... I notice that the weekday timetable comprises 409 movements in the 24 hours. Download the "easy" version (just 109 movements in 7 hours) here and have play _ http://www.blockpostsoftware.co.uk/downloads.php
Now Jim S-W will have to change the title again... Still, I am enjoying the debate!!