Telephone cabinet signage

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John Palmer
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Telephone cabinet signage

Postby John Palmer » Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:23 pm

I am currently engaged in making a model of the ground frame at Burnham, and hope to tap the forum's erudition as regards the appropriate sign for its telephone cabinet.

Railway Group Standard GI/RT7033 mandates a distinction between the signs for a signal post telephone providing direct communication with the signaller and other lineside telephones providing such communication. For the former, the basic sign consists of alternating white and black diagonal lines; for the latter, the sign takes the form of a black saltire on white background.

That seems to be the current state of affairs and one that has persisted for a number of years. However, my model is intended to reflect practice on the Somerset & Dorset Section in the early 1950's, and it's entirely possible that some different convention applied at that time/to that line. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a photograph showing the front face of the cabinet in question, and think it unlikely I shall able to do so. My inclination is to apply the black saltire marking to the cabinet, but if anyone can assure me that it would have been otherwise marked I shall be pleased to hear from them.

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Martin Wynne » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:23 pm

Hi John,

No idea if this is remotely relevant, but it looks not to have been painted since the 1950s. Image

craven_arms_phone.jpg
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Craven Arms 2016. The small print says "Not for 999 Calls".

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Flymo748
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Flymo748 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:26 am

Martin Wynne wrote:Hi John,

No idea if this is remotely relevant, but it looks not to have been painted since the 1950s. Image

craven_arms_phone.jpg
Craven Arms 2016. The small print says "Not for 999 Calls".

Martin.


Hi Martin,

It's very, very rare that I feel a comment is necessary on something you have posted on track or infrastructure as your knowledge is unsurpassed. I think something should be pointed out here though about the timing.

Although I totally agree with you that the boxes look as though they have not been painted for decades, the stickers on the front are more recent. The lettering of "Not for 999 calls" is in the BR corporate font. That was only introduced in the mis-sixties. http://www.doublearrow.co.uk/rail_alphabet.htm

I only point it out because the design of the saltire and placement may have been different in the earlier period.

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Martin Wynne » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:39 am

Flymo748 wrote:I only point it out because the design of the saltire and placement may have been different in the earlier period.

Hi Paul,

Thanks, yes I realised that it may not be entirely relevant, with later stickers. However the position and size of whatever was there before can't have been significantly different because there is no evidence of it.

Also of course on a public forum, those reading a topic a topic having the above title are likely to be many more than the original poster, including those finding it indexed on Google in 100 years time. A photo with a date responds to the topic title if not the specific enquiry, and may be useful to others.

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Noel
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Noel » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:12 pm

The S & D Joint line signalling was the responsibility of successively the LSWR, SR and BR(SR), so there seems no reason why their standard practice at the relevant time would not have been followed?
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby John Palmer » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:40 am

I smiled wryly at the thought of someone having any interest, in 100 years' time, in so obscure a matter as the distinguishing markings of British railway telephone cabinets in the 1950's.

I understand that the 'not for 999 calls' endorsement was the product of recommendations arising from the 1988 Clapham accident, which goes some way to dating that particular saltire sign.

Thank you for the picture, Martin; maybe you can confirm that this cabinet was located adjacent to what is now the Heart of Wales Line junction, as I suspect. If it was, then I believe it must have formed part of the ground frame installation that replaced Central Wales Junction Signal Box, which seems still to have been in use in the 1950's. The ground frame has, in turn, been rendered redundant by motorisation of the junction points, and I think the cabinet you photographed has been repositioned close to where it originally stood.

Unfortunately, if my assessment of the Craven Arms cabinet's origin is correct, it may well have been installed quite some time after the early 1950's and thus leaves open the issue I originally raised. Noel is quite correct: the S&D's signalling remained a BR(S) responsibility until Western Region got its mits on part of the system, so I've been poring over photographs of the South Western Section in the hope of answering my own question. So far I have been unsuccessful as lineside telephones other than those for Rule 55 purposes are not that common. There seems to have been such a phone on the Up platform at Halwill Jc., but I haven't found a shot in which I can make out what markings (if any) it bore.

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Tim V
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Tim V » Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:00 pm

Are you sure there was a telephone at the ground frame? Would there need to be one? Who would the operator speak to?
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Martin Wynne
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Martin Wynne » Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:17 pm

Tim V wrote:Are you sure there was a telephone at the ground frame? Would there need to be one? Who would the operator speak to?

There is a cabinet on this one, presumably for a telephone. Central Wales Line 1970s, sorry place and exact date unknown.

ground_frame.jpg
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Alan Turner » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:32 pm

Tim V wrote:Are you sure there was a telephone at the ground frame? Would there need to be one? Who would the operator speak to?


That depends on how the ground frame is operated. If the ground frame requires unlocking then: if unlocked with a token then yes probably no need for a 'phone but if unlocked from the signal box then you need to speak to the signalman - hence the 'phone.

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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby John Palmer » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:03 am

Tim V wrote:Are you sure there was a telephone at the ground frame? Would there need to be one? Who would the operator speak to?

Several reasons why I'm confident the frame was equipped with a phone, not the least of which is the attached photograph showing the cabinet mounted on a short pole from which the wires were taken up to the full-height pole behind the board carrying the diagram for the station
Burnham Ground Frame.jpg
(got to version 3 of the model of the insulator visible in the picture, carpet god having claimed the first).
The frame is released from the box, but I guess that in practice Burnham's porter-signalman may gave operated this release then walked down to the frame to deal with an incoming train destined for the excursion loop (which the frame controls). In such a case there would have been no need for telephone communication between the box and the frame ordinarily, but it would be otherwise if there were two staff on duty to deal with any complexity in train workings, e.g. a second train's arrival before departure of the first.
The small enclosure above what I take to be the telephone cabinet must, I think, have housed the indicator for the track circuit through the loop points. Latterly both enclosures were painted white (probably a Western Region initiative), but for the purposes of the model I am working on the basis that they started out in the Southern's Grey No.8.

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Noel
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Noel » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:50 am

The ground frame is released from the box, presumably by mechanical connection to a locking bolt on the ground frame? The frame controls, if I read the diagram correctly, the loop starter and home? If so, could the wire be for repeaters showing the block instrument positions? Alternatively, if the release is electrical, then the wire is for this release, and the larger box presumably contains the bell, buzzer, visual indication or what have you to confirm that the frame's king lever is free to be moved. The upper box could contain the button to request the release.

Either way, would you not need two more wires for a phone, as this would have been on a separate circuit, I would have thought? An indicator for a track circuit would also have presumably required another circuit and hence more wires? Would such an indicator even be needed; presumably a train, or even a loco, on the circuit would have been rather obvious to anyone at the frame?

Sorry, more questions than answers, but I don't know what the local instruction for Burnham were.
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby John Palmer » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:40 pm

Noel, if you're looking at John Hinson's diagram of Burnham, be aware that it doesn't capture some of the layout's subleties. The push-pull lever (Lever 4) visible in the picture of the frame above controls the Up Loop Stop and the Start from Loop signals. Lever 1 works the loop points and associated trap. Lever 2 bolts the points and trap reverse. Lever 3 backlocks the mechanical release from the signal box and clears the FPL on the loop points that normally stands 'in' and bolts those points normal. The correct lie of the points is proved by weighted detectors which are so-and-so's to represent in 4mm.

Figuring out the circuits for the phones and signalling kit at Burnham is way beyond my competence and it's not made any easier by the absence of clear photographs showing the number of wires carried on the pole route between Burnham and Highbridge. I think there were four such, and an additional pair from the signal box to the next pole towards Highbridge beyond the ground frame and the pole in its immediate vicinity – in itself an odd arrangement. Matters are further complicated by what appears to be a signal post telephone adjacent to the Up Home/Up Loop Stop signals. My best guess is that the ground frame, the signal box and the station office were on an omnibus circuit to Highbridge and that a second pair of wires carried block bell and indicator signals.

I would expect there to be an indicator for the track circuit, which extended to a point about 120 yards distant from the ground frame. At night, and viewed almost end on, it would be difficult to be sure that an engine or stock were clear of it. Such an indication would only need to be provided at the ground frame, so no need of a pair of wires on the pole route to display it in the signal box.

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Noel
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Noel » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:02 pm

John Palmer wrote: At night, and viewed almost end on, it would be difficult to be sure that an engine or stock were clear of it. Such an indication would only need to be provided at the ground frame, so no need of a pair of wires on the pole route to display it in the signal box.


Which leaves me wondering where the battery to power the circuit is, and what the circuit does. It would seem to be unnecessary for a loco running round at train in the loop, or even shunting stock from the main to the loop or vice-versa, as that will be very obvious. So, is it there to lock the release to the ground frame [I'm assuming you mean 120 yards in the direction of Highbridge]? If so, the box will need the indicator, and the wires from the circuit, and his visibility issue will be worse than the g/f's. We need a locking table to sort that one out, I suspect.

John Palmer wrote: Matters are further complicated by what appears to be a signal post telephone adjacent to the Up Home/Up Loop Stop signals.


Presumably for use when the g/f is not in use? Or is it too far from the g/f for a driver to talk to the man there face to face?

John Palmer wrote: My best guess is that the ground frame, the signal box and the station office were on an omnibus circuit to Highbridge and that a second pair of wires carried block bell and indicator signals.


Best practice, so far as I know, was to keep signalling telephone circuits separate from general use circuits, because of potential safety issues. I'm not sure if it was a actual BoT requirement. Incidentally, would there not be two block circuits, one for the up instruments and one for the down?
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Noel
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Noel » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:16 pm

There is a different diagram available, although only a low-res version is available on the web http://www.s-r-s.org.uk/html/srx/S476.htm from the Signalling Record Society http://www.s-r-s.org.uk/home.php. I have never used any of their CDs so I don't know how much information you actually get, but the list of drawings on the box diagram looks interesting...
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Tim V
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Tim V » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:07 pm

This edited picture shows that the pole adjacent to the frame has two pairs of insulators on the lower tree. This was sometimes done for crosstalk purposes, but I think it shows two wires going down to the short post by the frame. That could be a telephone on an omnibus (is there a list of dialling codes for the branch?) with an earth return. Or it could be repeaters. As I said, was there a need for a phone? Could be a bell? What do the local instructions say? Just checked, and my Bristol area (1960) doesn't cover the branch.

Picture 11.jpg
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby John Palmer » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:18 pm

Noel, I have a washed out, low resolution copy of the Southern Region diagram for Burnham which includes both mechanical and electrical locking tables. Unfortunately, attempts to massage its image quality do little to improve its legibility, so it really needs re-creating from scratch to make it fit for posting.

The locking is pretty straightforward, particularly in the case of the signal box, where reversal of any of the four levers locks the other three, On the ground frame it's all releases and only one feasible sequence of working: 3 (Release Lock and FPL on 1) releases 1, 1 (Points to Loop) releases 2, 2 (FPL on 1) releases 4 Push/4 Pull. Obviously one must reverse that sequence to restore the frame to normal.

Electrical releases effected by the track circuit being clear are:
1 (Points to Loop): normal lock and back lock
2 (FPL on 1): back lock
3 (Release Lock and FPL on 1): normal lock.

The reason for the track circuit's addition to the original layout is obscure. There was a derailment on Easter Monday 1914 which Robin Athill describes as an excursion 'jumping the points' to the loop. Since those points were never protected by a lockbar I am wondering whether that derailment prompted concern that an attempt might be made to reset the road after a train had passed the home signal, and the track circuit was consequently introduced to hold the road. Since the loop points are bolted normal and reverse by separate FPL plungers, two bars would have been required to attain the same result mechanically. It may be significant that the track circuit extends up to to the home signals, which I think tends to support this theory.

Sorry, I should have made it clear that my 120 yards figure is indeed in the Highbridge direction, this being about the distance from the ground frame to the home signals. That tells you what the talking distance was between ground frame operator and train crew.

The SRS diagram gives a bit more detail than John Hinson's but tends to mislead by not showing the lockbars on points A and by failing to show that the loop points are equipped with two FPL's.

Your guess is as good as mine about the telephone circuits. As to the block controls, I have no information as to what form these took, but the S&D made use of a lot of Tyers kit, and there is a photograph on the Railwest site of a double indicator instrument at Highbridge 'B' which looks to me very much like a Tyers one-wire instrument for both Up and Down movements. Wouldn't be surprised to learn that Burnham was similarly equipped.

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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby John Palmer » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:57 pm

Here's a further picture (edited down) to show the pole adjacent to the ground frame and the next pole in the Highbridge direction (the nearest pole).
Burnham poles.jpg
The lower arm on the near pole seems to carry the terminating insulators for the same circuit as that connected to the box by the ground frame - you can make out a wire going to the pole from the right hand insulator. The only railway-related electrical equipment in the vicinity of this pole is the track circuit. Out of shot behind the photographer was another pole close to what seems to be the further telephone adjacent to the home signals. Assuming the four topmost wires provide telephone and block ciruits to Highbridge, where are the wires for this further telephone? Are they carried undergound to the nearest pole in this shot, and thence to both the ground frame and signal box?

Tim, I agree that the insulator arrangement on the post by the ground frame could be for crosstalk suppression. Given the nature of the interlocking, I can't see a useful purpose to be served by a repeater of the track circuit in the signal box, but I concede the possibility that the ground frame was only equipped with a bell not a telephone. I've never seen anything setting out details of any telephone circuits for the Branch; it would be useful.

To what local instructions are you referring? My 1960 Bristol Area Sectional Appendix does cover the branch and even has entries about Burnham that aren't relevant here. Do you mean local signalling instructions?

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Tim V
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Tim V » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:50 pm

Just found my 1960 instructions does cover the branch. Shows that the line was worked by train staff and ticket.
http://www.trainweb.org/railwest/images ... urnham.jpg Not locked into a machine. Was this inserted into the frame at Burnham box to release it (we don't do this on the model)? Chris Osment doesn't cover the branch on his site.
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby John Palmer » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:59 pm

I have seen absolutely nothing to suggest that there was any form of key release to the Burnham ground frame and any such arrangement would be inconsistent with release of the frame by Lever 1 in the signal box. It's odds on that the key in the linked Railwest photograph unlocked the ground frame controlling the connections into the Apex Company and Colthurst & Symons sidings that were located in section between Burnham and Highbridge East 'A'. I have a fairly early diagram for this frame confirming that it was released by Annetts Key.

Chris Osment's page at http://www.trainweb.org/railwest/railco/sdjr/block-1.html contains some helpful stuff about single line working between Highbridge and Burnham, including an indication that latterly this section was worked without block instruments. I wrongly suggested that the double indicator at Highbridge 'B' was a Tyers instrument, as Chris Osment's commentary says it was a Spagnoletti, but the possibility of the S&D having acquired some Tyers one wire instruments becomes irrelevant if there were no block instruments at Burnham at all.

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Noel
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Noel » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:27 am

Unfortunately, 'in latter days' is rather vague and could refer to the end of regular passenger services in 1951, or the end of all passenger traffic in 1962. Given the requirements of the Regulation of Railways Act of 1889, the absolute block system would have applied up to the end of regular passenger services, which implies the use of block instruments. Thereafter, the situation could have changed, but the line was still used for passenger specials, which would, so far as I know, have had to be dealt with under absolute block regulations, whatever happened the rest of the time. In any event, even for goods trains, if not working OIS there has to be some reliable method of notifying the box at the other end that a train has arrived and the line is clear for another train, something which would be critical if there was a passenger train involved.

The comment about no block instruments being used suggests to me that the line probably was being worked OIS after 1951, with communications altered accordingly. Even if there was more than one goods train in a day, there seems no reason why more than one at a time should have been beyond Highbridge. What I don't know is how many passenger specials could be beyond Highbridge at any one time, which might affect this reasoning and move the date forward to 1962. The staff would still be needed in any event, because of the Annett's key for the intermediate g/f. The reference in 1960 to 'staff and ticket' may simply be either an anachronism, or used to differentiate the system in use from any form of key or token system.

The Spagnoletti instruments were presumably used at Highbridge because of the need to communicate with the GWR block system in view of the main line crossing, and need not have any implication for the type used for the Highbridge-Burnham section, I suggest.
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby John Palmer » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:44 pm

I respect Chris Osment's skills as a researcher of signalling matters, particularly those of the S&D. Since I am not in possession of any evidence that contradicts his findings, I'm not going to gainsay his statement that there is a claim (and it is no more than this) that no block instruments were used to signal trains over the section to and from Burnham – or, for that matter, over the section between Highbridge 'C' and 'B' (respectively Highbridge East 'A' and Highbridge East 'B' from 1949).

Of course, a statement that block instruments were not used for the signalling of trains is not the same as saying that such block instruments were not present. Possibly a practice was adopted, when officialdom was absent, of working these sections without use of instruments even if in all other respects block signalling regulations were observed. After all, the 1902 BoT requirements for new railways stipulated that single lines were to be operated either by staff and ticket or by one engine in steam or by electric tablet/staff apparatus, yet this requirement was dispensed with over the two sections between Highbridge Crossing and Highbridge East 'A' and the dispensation was acknowledged by the 1960 Sectional Appendix. Why, then, should the use of block instruments be treated as sacrosanct?

The 1960 Sectional Appendix states that the section Highbridge East 'A' - Burnham was worked by 'Train Staff and Ticket' (in fact it was the only section in the Bristol Traffic Area said to be so worked at that date), whereas a number of other lines are stated to be subject to 'One Engine in Steam Working'. Plainly BR was still drawing a clear distinction between these two methods of single line working and, given the terms in which the Appendix is set out, I see no reason to suppose that staff and ticket working into Burnham was ever supplanted by another method.

Although year-round regular passenger services into Burnham ended in October 1951, there were periods during the currency of the summer timetable when the regular S&D service to and from Highbridge was extended to Burnham for certain trains – I can be absolutely certain of this because I travelled on one! It is entirely possible that there was no occasion when the presence at Burnham of one of these 'extended service' trains coincided with the presence of an excursion, but that is not to say that the station's capability to accommodate two trains simultaneously did not exist – the necessary tickets remained in being after 1949, as the example shown in Chris Osment's site shows. That capability is one of which we are happy to take advantage on the model.

No doubt the Spagnoletti instrument at Highbridge East 'B' was required to communicate with the GW system. Chris Osment also speculates that such was the case. The relevance of my misidentification of it as a Tyers one-wire instrument arises from the suggestion that two block circuits would be required between Burnham and Highbridge East 'A', in response to which I sought to suggest that employment of Tyers instruments could have satisfied this requirement with but a single wire on the pole route.

Although the scepticism about whether the Burnham ground frame was telephone-equipped has taken this thread down some entertaining diversionary routes, I'm sad to say it hasn't left me much the wiser as to whether or when the black saltire symbol came into use on the S&D.

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Tim V
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Tim V » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:48 pm

John Palmer wrote:I have seen absolutely nothing to suggest that there was any form of key release to the Burnham ground frame and any such arrangement would be inconsistent with release of the frame by Lever 1 in the signal box. It's odds on that the key in the linked Railwest photograph unlocked the ground frame controlling the connections into the Apex Company and Colthurst & Symons sidings that were located in section between Burnham and Highbridge East 'A'. I have a fairly early diagram for this frame confirming that it was released by Annetts Key.

Chris Osment's page at http://www.trainweb.org/railwest/railco/sdjr/block-1.html contains some helpful stuff about single line working between Highbridge and Burnham, including an indication that latterly this section was worked without block instruments. I wrongly suggested that the double indicator at Highbridge 'B' was a Tyers instrument, as Chris Osment's commentary says it was a Spagnoletti, but the possibility of the S&D having acquired some Tyers one wire instruments becomes irrelevant if there were no block instruments at Burnham at all.

I meant release the frame inside the signal box. Does the STT indicate the opening hours of the box? Or was it opened by the train crew?

It's a pity the picture of the staff doesn't show the key for the ticket box - presuming paper tickets. It doesn't look like a staff with removable ticket.

Authorisation of movements "could" have been done via telephone - but such phone would still be in the box, not on the ground frame.

It makes me think that we need to seriously consider how we operate Burnham - I didn't realise it was staff & ticket.
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby John Palmer » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:26 pm

Tim V wrote:I meant release the frame inside the signal box. Does the STT indicate the opening hours of the box? Or was it opened by the train crew?

STT=WTT? No opening hours for any signal box in 1920, 1931 or 1955 reproduction WTT's that I can see. 1950 repro. WTT does have SB closing hours, but no mention of Burnham. Highbridge East 'A' shown as closed on weekdays from 9.30 p.m. to 6.15 a.m.; weekends open as required. I have a partial Bristol District WTT of uncertain date (I think 1959 or 1960), which gives East 'A' opening at 6.15 a.m. and closing at 5.0 p.m on weekdays. Again, no mention of the box at Burnham.

Can't think of any reason why the frame in the box would have been unlocked by the train staff key. Since the Colthurst frame's locking table states explicitly that it was released by Annetts Key, I would have expected the Burnham table to contain a note to the same effect if such were the case.

I think Burnham must have retained permanent staff living in the town until termination of regular services in October 1951. Perhaps they continued to do so, and arrangements were made for them to open and run the station during those periods when the summer services were extended into Burnham.

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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby Tim V » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:10 pm

STT = Service Time Table. Most of my early stuff is WR.

I see the signalling diagram in "An historical survey of the Somerset & Dorset Railway" (Judge & Potts) says the track circuit was repeated in the box AND the Ground Frame.

As such, I would say that takes care of both wires going into the ground frame. Track circuit wiring is shown in "Railway Signalling and Communications" chapter 16. This shows two wires to the instruments. But perhaps Keith might help?
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Re: Telephone cabinet signage

Postby David B » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:38 pm

John Palmer wrote:STT=WTT?


The GWR used the term Service Time Table preferring it as early as 1873, whereas most other companies used Working Time Table.

See: GWR Goods Train Working Vol 1, Atkins, (2016) Ch 3, p23.


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