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Festiniog Railway Queries

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Buckeye, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Buckeye

    Buckeye New Member

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    Having just visited the FR I've a few questions and I wondered if there are any FR volunteers on here who could answer them for me please?

    Firstly on the Fairlies I assume the valve gear for both halves are interlinked so both go the same way? Does each end have a separate regulator or is there one regulator for both bogies? Is it the same for the Garrett's?

    Secondly both the FR & WHR have circular signal bards which are either red or yellow with yellow/red lights in them at the top & bottom. What is the meaning of these?

    Thirdly the gravity slate train. When this runs is it as a normal train i.e with tokens for each section or is it run under engineers possession? If the former I assume a member of station staff exchanges the token with the chief brakeman as loco crews seem to do it during station stops for normal passenger trains. When the deviation was built it broke the continuous downhill run from BF I believe, so where is the summit for the start of gravity operation?

    Any answers gratefully received.
     
  2. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad Member

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    I'll do my best - but if anyone knows better; feel free to correct me!

    a) Regulators - Fairlies have two, but it is the reversers which are linked for direction control, and Garrett's have one, normal type.

    b) not sure, but I think that they are distant signals for block stations / level crossings ??? I had better ask for someone else to check me on this one......

    c) I think the gravity train runs as a normal train, with token exchanges on the fly. If I recall correctly the summit is still at Bleanau, but there is a section of adverse gradient as you leave TyG towards Porthmadog with a summit behind the power station, the rest of the line is downhill at approx 1 in 80 - including the deviation - but the last mile over the cob is almost flat.

    Hope this helps....
     
  3. pennysteam

    pennysteam New Member

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    I think the Gravity train usualy starts from teh siding at Ddault, did when we rode it a few years ago. Last year they did start the country file run just around the corner, ddault side of the tunnel.
    [video=youtube;agoRlU7_zMw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agoRlU7_zMw&hd=1[/video]
     
  4. Roger Dimmick

    Roger Dimmick New Member

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    The circular signal boards are designed to echo the 'style' of the original FR disc signals, which were mounted on tall posts with access ladder and platform. These original signals rotated, so that when aligned parallel to the running line they gave a 'line clear' indication and when turned at right angles to the running line the full disc was visible and acted as a 'Stop' signal.

    The modern signals - colloquially known as 'ladybirds' - perform the following functions...

    There are two varieties of red disc - one with, and one without, two yellow lights at top and bottom of the disc - both of which are 'Stop' boards. These boards may also show supplementary instructions and information on signs attached to the posts.

    Red discs with lights also act as Section Signals. So - a train will approach the disc and come to a stand as it is a 'Stop' board. Once the traincrew have received permission to proceed from the Control Office, the appropriate token is drawn from the token instrument and taken to the signal post which contains a key-switch. Turning the token in the key-switch illuminates the lights on the disc and the train can then proceed past the 'Stop' board. The section signal indicators are extinguished by the passage of the train over a treadle...

    Yellow discs are 'Fixed Distant' signals - provided at the approach to each token station. On passing an FDS the driver must slow the train to enable it to be stopped at the next signal (we all know that bit I'm sure!).

    StoneRoad is correct about 'on the fly' gravity train token exchanges.

    The highest point of the line is at Blaenau Ffestiniog, but gravity slate trains cannot run all the way from there due to the adverse gradient of the Deviation route below Tanygrisiau.

    The highest point from which 'modern-day' gravity slate trains have been run is Power Station Summit - located behind the Tanygrisiau power station, believe it or not. However, this is not the usual starting point.

    The vast majority of gravity runs start from just below Dduallt Halt. This allows the locomotive which brought the waggons from Porthmadog/Boston Lodge to be moved off the main line and stabled in the engineering siding at Dduallt...
     
  5. odc

    odc New Member

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    There is another variation on the Ladybird signals, used on the Welsh Highland. They are still stop boards, but in the position of outerhomes for passing stations. If the lights are on the route into the loop is clear. If not you must stop. The lights are extinguished by the removal of a shunt token so that local moves can take place without need for the section token and with protection from incoming services on the main. Some of the lights are solar powered and activate on a trains approaching with a tredal (provided, of course the shunt token is in)
     
  6. Roger Dimmick

    Roger Dimmick New Member

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    Thanks for the additional explanation Owen.

    It was getting far too late for me to get my head round describing the WHR 'Home' boards - especially as it's not my normal field of expertise!
     
  7. Buckeye

    Buckeye New Member

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    Thank you all for the detailed explanations, esp. of the signalling. This confirms what I thought happened. I'd noticed that some of the WHR signals seemed to have lights and some didn't and this clarifies it.

    The clip by Pennysteam shows a Fairlie with steam coming from one chimney at TyB, so proving that they have separate regulators for each power bogie.

    There are several gravity train clips on Youtube and a couple show token exchanges on the fly as it were. I suppose when you think about it, in signalling terms its just another train, its just different in haulage/power terms really. I assume the passengers are FR members? It must be fascinating to ride on - a case of look no hands!!

    Another question I forgot to ask is about the chopper couplings. The coupler hook doesn't seem to be fixed to the pivot pin & weight on the coupling, as I saw the hooks move independently of the weight. Is the pin the hook latches onto slightly oval to give a positive hold on the hook and the weighted bob keeps the pin in the tightest position? Naturally I didn't think it wise to examine one during my journeys!
     
  8. Selsig

    Selsig Member

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    The chopper hooks are loose around the pivot, yes, but are fitted on an eccentric such that, as you suggest, the bob weight hanging down tightens their hold on the adjacent coupler.
     

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