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S&D Railway Trust and Washford Matters

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Andy Norman, Feb 24, 2020.

  1. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Regarding the question of re-installing it somewhere. Didcot used to have (I don't know if it still does) TPO equipment and I can remember they used to do a demonstration of the equipment. I am assuming that this is no longer allowed. I know that the GCR has the TPO train but I assume they don't do demonstrations of dropping and picking up mail bags at speed.
     
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  2. John Palmer

    John Palmer Member

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    When properly maintained and gauged (an important qualification) the reliability of Whitaker's tablet apparatus was very good indeed. It actually saw more widespread employment on the M&GNR than on its native heath, being installed at 46 boxes covering 106 miles of single line. In 1932 it was estimated that out of about 350,000 exchanges on the M&GN only 62 had resulted in dropped tablets: a failure percentage of about 0.0177%. In addition, the apparatus was demonstrated as being capable of effecting exchanges reliably at speeds of up to 60 m.p.h., significantly better than the GWR equipment, which was restricted to a 45 m.p.h. maximum exchange speed.

    At each S&D signalbox where exchange apparatus was located a gauge was provided to ensure that correct positioning of the lineside apparatus relative to the rail head was maintained. It appears that changes in spring deflection due to consumption of water and coal had no great impact on the system's reliability, whereas condition of the permanent way (e.g. soft spots inducing a roll of the tender at the critical instant) was of greater significance.
     
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  3. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    I suggest a look at this… have to say it’s a cracking sight.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    So it appears that it can be set up, I guess the question has to then be whether a similar set up could be set up for the token exchange equipment on the MHR or the AVR
     
  5. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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  6. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    I'm not familiar with the MHR WTT. How many instances would there be on a 'typical day' when a train passed through either Ropley or Medstead (when the latter was 'switched in') and was not passing another train, so the signalman would have been able to draw the token for the section in advance already?
     
  7. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    Lots at Medstead, but unlikely this could be a normal method of operation.

    Sent from my SM-A405FN using Tapatalk
     
  8. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    The problem is I understand that for the exchange to work properly the train needs to be doing around 40mph - your usual 25mph simply isn't fast enough and can cause the equipment to malfunction with significant H&S implications in these more risk aware times.

    When the GCR do it they need to double block (i.e. have nothing between Loughborough and Rothley) allowing all signals to be cleared well in advance and the train to accelerate to 40mph by Quorn then decelerate safely to stop at Rothley.

    Most Heritage railways will struggle to meet the 40mph requirement at the point of use so its unlikely to be widely replicated.
     
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  9. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Most heritage railways are not allowed to do 40MPH anyway :)
     
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  10. goldfish

    goldfish Resident of Nat Pres

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    I've got some slides of the mail runs at Didcot from the mid-80s… will have a go at scanning them. As you say, it was spectacular on the short display line with a castle (5051 from memory) absolutely blasting along, though I'm a bit sceptical that it will have got to 40mph!

    Simon
     
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  11. Steamage

    Steamage Well-Known Member

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    On the old normal 2-train timetable, the passing place alternates between Medstead & Ropley, so you get a down train (say), then an up train, then both passing. When trains pass, the up train arrives first (normally) and the signalman collects the token, rings out-of-section and immediately asks line-clear for the down. Therefore, a 2-token exchange is done with the down train. On the normal timetable, all passenger trains stop at all stations. The current social-distanced timetable (King Alfred Climber, etc.) is unusual in having a few trains that pass through Medstead without stopping. The rule is that all trains must slow to 10 mph for the token exchange.

    IIRC, on the S&D the Whitaker apparatus was used either to deliver tokens to the train or to receive them, but not both. That was certainly the case at either end of the single-line section between Bath & Midford and at the change from double to single track at Templecombe.

    Where the exchange apparatus might be useful on the MHR is Alton. The box is a few hundred yards west of the station. Departing trains are getting up speed for the climb. The signalman has to lean out over a banister railing, half way up the stairs, to deliver the token. For arrivals, anything passing a departing train stops in the "Meon loop" and the signalman walks across to get the token. When an arriving train runs straight into the platform. a pouch catcher could be useful. However, the public wouldn't get to see it in action - Alton 'box is a long way from the station platforms. Also, Alton box isn't always open. When no trains are scheduled to pass at Alton, the box is switched out and "auto-working" is used instead.

    One more thing: the MHR token pouches have large wire hoops, covered in stitched leather. They're a bit prone to damage from mishandling. The Whitaker devices are designed for small loops and I don't think the leather would take kindly to Whitaker jaws! It's no good having different sorts of pouches for different sections unless you have the apparatus at both ends of the section.

    The more I think about this, the more it seems like a solution in search of a problem! A well-edited film of the equipment in use might be the best way to demonstrate it. IIRC there's film from the 1950s that could be used (Ivo Peters, British Transport film unit?)
     
  12. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Railway Roundabout I think is the film your thinking of.
     
  13. John Palmer

    John Palmer Member

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    On the S&D, combined deliverer and receiver apparatus was provided at Stalbridge, Sturminster Newton and Shillingstone for both up and down trains and used for a simultaneous exchange. No point in picking up/setting down a tablet with the exchanger if you then have to stop at the same place to carry out the converse operation!

    From memory, I think there was a passage in the South Western Section's sectional appendix to the effect that if exchanger apparatus was available for use over the Dorset then it was obligatory to use it. Thus use of the Whitaker apparatus was the default operating method. Signalmen needed to know in advance if an exception to that default was to be made in order to know whether the tablet was to be transferred by hand exchange with the big hoop. So, if the locomotive for a given working was not fitted with an exchanger, the message "Pouch [train] number xx" would be wired to the relevant boxes to provide them with the requisite notice.
     
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  14. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Not so. You may like to read my notes on the subject :) www.trainweb.org/railwest/railco/sdjr/sigmisc.html#whitaker
     
  15. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    In the 1960 Sectional Appendix the following are given:
    Signal Box Location Deliver / Receive
    Stalbridge Down D & R
    Up D & R
    Sturminster Newton Down D & R
    Up D & R
    Shillingstone Down D & R
    Up D & R
    Blandford Forum Down R
    Up D
    Corfe Mullen Down D
    Up R
    Broadstone Down D & R
    Up D & R
    All have the remark "See Note A" which refers to the use of the (unnamed) Whitaker apparatus. In the light of comments above the 4th paragraph is interesting: "Passengers must not be allowed near the apparatus when it is fixed on or near the platform, neither must they be permitted to be near the platform edge when trains are passing through or arriving at the platform".
    Pat
    P.S. Obviously the South Western Appendix did not cover matters in what had become western region territory, so no idea on that area.
     
  16. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Quite true.

    However, in practice it would be applicable only to either (a) a train that was not passing another one there or (b) the second train to arrive of two that had to pass. In the latter case, of course the first train had to stop and the signalman had to collect its tablet in order to clear the section and draw a fresh tablet ready for the second train. Likewise the first train could not then get the next section's tablet to proceed until after the second train has arrived and deposited the one which it had.

    Thanks for the reminder about the Section Appendix, I must dig mine out and take a look....
     
  17. City of truro fan

    City of truro fan New Member

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    Is the signal box at washford going away too or will it stay but with nothing in it. What the sdr is doing is making the station look really untidy and run down like it is being closed down by lord beeching another time. It is sad to see
     
  18. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I remember that, it was a very very rapid acceleration and then very very rapid braking. I don't know what the speed was but I remember it was noisy but my memory may well be faulty.

    Edit - found some videos

     
  19. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    The signal-box is an original part of the station and does not belong to the S&DRT.
     
  20. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Corfe Mullen Jcn once also boasted a separate 'falling man' receiver for trains coming off the Wimborne line. The 'deliverer' worked for either route.
     

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