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Lynton and Barnstaple - Operations and Development

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by 50044 Exeter, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    As regards the first point, it more a matter of that is what we would suggest doing if either (a) required to do and/or (b) a risk-assessment suggested that it would be a good idea. For example, there is an opinion that the signalman at BR will have a less-than-ideal view of the facing points north of the over-bridges, so TCs on the points to indicate whether or not the train is clear of them could be advisable. In which case, the TC can be used to lock the FPL as well.

    As regards your second point, I quite agree and something which we have kept in mind and stressed whenever such matters are discussed - I'm all for the Keep It Simple approach. Indeed, to some extent I think we are already at the stage where there is no S&T technician readily available to handle urgent problems at WB anyway, let alone elsewhere.
     
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  2. lynbarn

    lynbarn Well-Known Member

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    The issue with Track Circuits as I understand it was that at one time there was a discussion at trust management level about their concern of having enough volunteers to run the line and it was pointed out to them that it would be easier to have one central power signal box and all the S&T under one controller, I don't have to tell you that a number of us disagreed with that as the only way forward.
     
  3. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    ...yet at the same time there have been suggestions 'from above' that future point-work should be motor-operated rather than mechanical.[#] Also there have been suggestions from some at WB that there ought to be a TC at least on 6B, on the grounds that at busy periods (not withstanding engine whistle codes) the GF operator can't always tell if an engine is clear before changing the points.

    [#] The reason given to me for that suggestion was that apparently some of the 'older' volunteers were having difficulty with the points at WB. Well, a few thoughts on that:-

    1. There is less leverage available on a 'knee' type ground-level frame than on a full-size elevated frame
    2. It does not help when both the main sets of points at WB (4 and 6) are double-ended and so the operator has to move two point ends every time rather than just one (particularly annoying given that in the case of 4 you normally only need to move 4B most of the time)
    3. Points 4 had no compensation (now rectified I believe during the relay last winter)
    4. The compensation on points 6 is not in the correct place (or so I am informed by those more familiar with it) - not sure if that has been rectified.
    5 Presumably the railway is taking steps to recruit more, younger volunteers (for whom it will be less of a problem) to fill the gaps as the existing work-force slowly retires...???
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2022
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  4. Michael B

    Michael B New Member

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    There is a prominent heading - 'L & B News' - at the beginning of the L&BR website. The last posting about the Railway apart from notification of the forum a couple of weeks ago, was in May, reporting on the tea rooms and the spring gala. Which suggests either there isn't any or a lack of willingness to provide any.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2022
  5. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    I agree. It's looking increasingly poor, for a railway with such ambition. Updates used to be regular, almost weekly, and informative. I gather that site maintenance has now been outsourced, but it's certainly done no-one any favours.
     
  6. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Indeed.

    My other 'pet hate' about that site is that one has to scroll done a long way in order to see whether or not (far too often the latter!) there has been an update to the members only section.

    I note sadly no report yet - for the benefit of those of us unable to attend - on the recent 'Volunteers' Forum' :-(
     
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  7. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    Wasn't there something recently about someone else managing the websites.
     
  8. Thomas Woods

    Thomas Woods New Member

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    We are working towards providing more on the news section, just have to be patient I'm afraid.
     
  9. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that, Thomas - good to know its in hand.
     
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  10. Biermeister

    Biermeister New Member

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    Thanks for that Thomas. I am wondering about the 'working towards providing' part. Clearly there must be some issues. Do these relate to:
    * old-fashioned clunky website which needs a considerable up-grade;
    * lack of interesting and/ or relevant news (juicy news is always hungrily devoured, of course); or
    * old-fashioned top-down managerialism where the web-master has to report everything s/he might wish to print to an (overbearing?) review panel?
    Or is it perhaps all three?
    Of course I do realise that some material might be ultra-sensitive given the current state of play but surely Trust members need some reassurance that the Trust is confidently and competently managing its/our affairs, surely?
     
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  11. Meatman

    Meatman Member

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    internal politics it seems has caused the issues with the website, the Trust now wanting to pass the running of the website to an external company who will of course be taking a fee for its initial setup and it would seem will also be receiving a small payment for every online transaction made , i believe a statement was made on the news or members page of the archive site some weeks ago but it was stated at the members forum (for those members who couldn't attend it seems there will be no news of what was discussed) that the new look website will be up and running soon
     
  12. sitimela43

    sitimela43 New Member

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    Not sure where that suggestion that older volunteers were having problems operating the ground frame and points at WB came from. There is a robust and regular inspection and maintenance programme carried out on S&C (and S&T) and no-one carrying out the safety-critical role of guard or signalman has a problem with operating the frame, whatever their age. Also any issues with the compensation on 6A/6B was not because it was wrongly sited, but because the stability of the compensator was inadequate (now resolved). You are correct that points 4A/4B now have compensation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2022
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  13. sitimela43

    sitimela43 New Member

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    *Yes
    *No
    *No.
     
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  14. Biermeister

    Biermeister New Member

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    Thanks M
     
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  15. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    As regards the first point, the claim was made to the signal design team by someone from 'the management' with regular contact with users of the frame at WB (I don't see any benefit in naming them here, so won't). Maybe they were wrong, but at least the matter was discussed, which was beneficial for the future design.

    As regards the second point, that was my recollection of a discussion with someone who worked 'on the ground' with the S&T equipment. Maybe my recollection was wrong as to the root cause, but certainly there was a problem - good to know that it is now fixed.
     
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  16. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Speaking as someone with long experience of 'out-sourcing' in IT projects, it is something which often looks good in theory on paper to the accountants, but in reality often falls down in terms of lack of flexibility and speed of response.

    With anything run by volunteers you are always relying on goodwill and people having 'free time' to do such things - I know from personal experience how long it can take for something to get from brain to actual web content :) - but equally many volunteers are willing and able to do 'a quick update' far quicker than having to go through a commercial process. I wonder if the Trust will have obtained a Service Level Agreement with agreed responses times for various categories of web changes ???
     
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  17. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Well-Known Member

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    I have no knowledge of the arrangements on the L&B. But as a heritage railway signalman elsewhere (well, I haven't worked a box since before Covid, but will go back to it at some point), I think it's fair to say that age has very little to do with it and that anyone with a decent level of mental and physical agility and fitness could do the job, regardless of age. Poor technique, on the other hand, and lack of understanding the equipment, are both things which tend to lead to people declaring the job to be too difficult. And that's true of young and old alike. I've lost count of the number of times I've walked into a box halfway through a day (when working split shifts) to find that the previous signalman has every signal wire tightened up like a banjo string and complains that none of the signals will come off...
     
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  18. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    To a large extent, I think you are right. On the other hand, poor set-up and/or maintenance of the equipment does not help the situation - I hasten to add that I am not saying that was/is the case at WB.

    Points 6 at Blue Anchor could be temperamental - a long rod run (and a touch over the 350 yards limit) on a curve, with the rollers often gunged-up by earth falls from the side of the cutting, and quite often they needed several attempts in order to be able to get the FPL bolt in and/or obtain detection, but I found that usually a good hard kick to the lever solved that problem :) (not something you can do these days now that they are motorised). By contrast crossover 15 at Midsomer Norton South is almost outside of the box, yet can be a devil of a job to change from observation (I've not tried it myself recently - unwise thing to do with a slipped disc :-( ).
     
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  19. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that's also a valid concern although I intentionally didn't include it as, as stated, I've no knowledge of such matters at Woody Bay. (Except to presume that long rodding runs aren't an issue if the points are worked from a ground frame.)

    The north crossover at Loughborough is not too far from the box but very temperamental. Often one end will go over OK and the other standing just off, so the FPL won't go in. It is said that part of the problem is part of the rodding run in sun and part of it in shade, so the compensation goes a little off. How valid this is I don't know. When the crossover was laid back in the 70s, the geometry wasn't quite right either, but I seem to recall that was fixed a few years ago. As I said, it's about 3 years since I last did a shift so things may have changed since. What I can say with certainty is that the S&T were regularly maintaining it!
     
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  20. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    It would appear that the latest Newsletter may now be in the post to members.

    So...here's a suggestion for who ever it may concern - why not upload the Newsletter as a PDF to the members-only section of the web-site? Then a quick posting on social media to advise people that it's there and those of us online could all read it sooner :)
     
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