If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. Selsig

    Selsig Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2007
    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    232
    Location:
    Coventry, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I've tested new level crossings that took 4-5 weeks from commencement of testing to Commissioning, add on the installation time and it all adds up. In the interests of fairness, I've tested ones in a week as well, it depends on the crossing. As far as installation goes, they all had all parts to hand from the start. I know from plenty of jobs that the Unipart Rail supply chain is less than rapid...

    John
     
    Bluenosejohn likes this.
  2. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    10,644
    Likes Received:
    16,464
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Barrister
    Location:
    Stogumber
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Seaward Way LC replacement was ready to be installed in the winter of 2018 / 2019. The then Board under its newly-appointed Chairman called a halt to the works in the autumn of 2018 to reconsider the LC design at the behest of the then WSR Signalling Inspector. At that point all the design work had been done and the REB built and fitted out. The remaining equipment (all standard components from standard manufacturers) was ready to be ordered against a schedule which would have seen the crossing in operation for the start of the 2019 season. The presently planned installation is, in all important essentials, unchanged from the paused scheme.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2021
  3. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    17,674
    Likes Received:
    16,698
    Location:
    1016
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I was about to say that the above post feels like a hand grenade has just been lobbed into the crossing debate. But perhaps it is more of an atomic bomb.

    So no progress in approximately two years then or am I missing something?
     
  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    9,770
    Likes Received:
    15,838
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    A phrase about it being better to have certain people inside temporary canvassed accommodation than out springs to mind...

    Pretty appalling leadership if so, not even like there was an excuse of lack of money as the railway wasn't paying, nor lack of time to plan it, as it already had been. Readers may be curious as to what the then signalling inspector's objection was that held things up for 2 years and will result in a whole season of Minehead custom being lost.
     
  5. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    5,994
    Likes Received:
    3,758
    The fact that the work delayed is not a revelation as the signalling inspectors dismay and saga was actually mentioned in this thread many moons ago.

    It is however a bit of a revelation that then subsequently, nothing basically changed, and even allowing for COVID-19 the crossing could have been completed by now.
     
    nanstallon, Monkey Magic and Greenway like this.
  6. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Messages:
    890
    Likes Received:
    2,202
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Titfield
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    This answers the question "Why can't a set of temporary traffic lights be used to stop traffic on Seaward Way to permit the passage of trains? Even if a couple of people were required to hand signal the train across?"
    So, I'm ready to accept that can't be done, But can you say why such an arrangement is inadequate?

    The big railway has statutory powers which enable it to do whatever is necessary to ensure the safe operation of the national rail network. Most heritage lines have no such authority, so have to ask local councils to please lend their power and support to enable a project to be carried out.
    If they had reason, the local council could come and demolish your front garden wall and put it in a skip in your garden. If you want to demolish your front garden wall, you have to get permission from the council's listed building dept, and ask highways if you can please put a skip on the road to take away the rubble.
     
    jnc likes this.
  7. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    10,559
    Likes Received:
    7,395
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    There are fundamental differences between traffic lights and wigwags (flashing red lights) and the two are not interchangeable. For a start, emergency vehicles are allowed to ignore traffic lights but cannot ignore a wigwag and must stop when it is operated, as must all road users, including pedestrians. If you haven't realised, wigwags are used in other places besides railway level crossings.
    As a matter of interest, are there such things as portable/temporary wigwags and could they be used with manual control? At the end of the day, it is essentially the same as a set of temporary traffic lights, with wigwags for road users and flashing white lights for rail traffic.
     
    Bluenosejohn and ross like this.
  8. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Messages:
    890
    Likes Received:
    2,202
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Titfield
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    When I learned to drive, such signals carried the snappy title "Twin flashing red lights", at which you MUST stop. I had not heard of them referred to as "wig-wag" signals.
    The Wig-wag was, I thought, an American device. Post WW1, due to the vast increase in car usage, former cross-buck posts were proving outdated, so large timber arches were erected at many level crossings. They were painted yellow, and carried advice "RAILROAD CROSSING _ LOOK OUT FOR THE TRAIN" When these still failed to prevent incidents, a further device was added added. It consisted of an electro-magnetically operated bell and a pendulum, containing a flashing light: When a train approached the bell sounded, light flashed and the pendulum swung from side to side. Soon these became known as wig-wag signals named after the army method of sending a version of morse code using signal flags.

    Whilst traffic lights and flashing red lights are clearly different and not interchangeable, the Weston, Clevedon & Portishead Railway, 30 miles up the Somerset coast, had a level crossing where road traffic was stopped by a pair of R-A-G traffic light signals which were activated by a treadle operated by an approaching train. This was apparently quite satisfactory for a light railway operating at low speed (such as a heritage railway?). It would appear that the major issue with this set up was that eventually the operating principle was discovered by local boys, who would then delight in stopping traffic on the Bristol Road
     
  9. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    3,682
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    If I recall correctly, the issue was that someone with significant control wanted a semaphore system instead of lights so everything ground to a halt. Nobody buys a ticket based on the signalling system and the only type of crossing that makes you money is a working one.

    I see at Companies House, there has been another board re-shuffle. I must have missed the formal announcements.
     
    MellishR, ross, jnc and 6 others like this.
  10. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    10,559
    Likes Received:
    7,395
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Interesting history of the name. The railway industry tends to refer to the flashing lights as wigwags. I doubt those outside fire stations and elsewhere are referred to as such.
    Traffic lights may have been acceptable in the 1930’s, even in the 1970’s, but so were red flags.
     
  11. nick813

    nick813 Well-Known Member Loco Owner

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,393
    Likes Received:
    1,271
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    poole dorset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I understand the Chairman was the son and The WSR Signal Inspector was his father.
     
    ross and Roger Thompson like this.
  12. Ian Monkton

    Ian Monkton Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    Messages:
    907
    Likes Received:
    951
    Location:
    South Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    From videos on You-tube, the wig-wags and barriers at Seaward Way still appear to be operational, but the associated track circuits and signals are disconnected, so the sequence has to be initiated from the trackside cabinets.
     
    jnc likes this.
  13. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,585
    Likes Received:
    3,398
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I do dimly recall debate about that time on here over why the new crossing arrangements couldn't be traditional gates, the additional safety of gates compared to barriers versus the speed of operation and the heritage advantages of having a traditional signalling system versus the additional work required in moving a signal box.
    While it is true that "Nobody buys a ticket based on the signalling system", passengers are not the Railway's only customers. This past year has shown that a heritage railway can survive without passengers, but it cannot survive without donors and volunteers.
     
    ross and 35B like this.
  14. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Messages:
    4,922
    Likes Received:
    2,163
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired Rolls-Royce engineer
    Location:
    Bath Green Park / Mangotsfield
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I'm not so sure that the WSR could have survived without the £865,000 grant received as part of the UK Government's Culture Recovery Fund. <BJ>
     
    ross, nanstallon, jnc and 2 others like this.
  15. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,496
    Likes Received:
    1,649
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    But is the choice of signal going to have a major impact on those donors and volunteers?

    I remember the NYMR getting a colour-light signalling system and modern level crossing at Pickering. It still seems to be running ...

    Unfortunately decision-making on heritage railways is never straight forward, as members and staff can have strongly-held views and apparently little room for compromise.
     
    jnc likes this.
  16. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    17,065
    Likes Received:
    13,920
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I think that’s the point @Bayard was making - and that for a time, managers at Minehead prioritised aesthetics over practicality.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    jnc likes this.
  17. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    166
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    71B ex 71A
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The simple answer is NO.
    The Railway inspectorate (Now known as the ORR) do NOT allow new traditional gate crossings under any circumstances.
    Also Seaward way crossing is some distance from Minehead Signalbox.
    I am wondering where the new crossing equipment is coming from? Is it manufactured here in the UK, or does it have to come from Europe or beyond?
     
    jnc likes this.
  18. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,504
    Likes Received:
    3,663
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Out there somewhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The normal sequence is that the Client (SCC) gives the Contractor (Amec?) a 'User Requirement Specification' which says what they want and (roughly) how they want it done. The Contractor would then develop this into a detailed proposal and send it back to the client for their approval or not.
    What's different here is the Contractor is dealing with standard designs of equipment as specified by the ORR and used daily on the 'big' railway so the Contractor has very little work to do on the design, all the bits are well known and suppliers identified. It's almost as simple (with just a few site specific bits) as going to the suppliers and saying "One level crossing pack please, delivered to Minehead. When can you deliver?"

    A couple of things about SCC. The crossing works is a legal, mandatory requirement (a bit like good old H&S, it must be done!) so once they have the funds they can't play silly b's and waste time arguing or political posturing. Also, they should know that any delays caused by them once the Contract has been Let will be the cause of claims for more money to pay for variations and delays from the Contractor. (Contractors really love variations and delays, makes them huge profits!)

    So there we are, one simple crossing replacement job - exactly the same as done regularly on the 'big' railway. What's the problem? I don't know, and, as usual, no one in the know is explaining anything.
     
    johnofwessex, MellishR, ross and 2 others like this.
  19. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,504
    Likes Received:
    3,663
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Out there somewhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Thank you Robin, I guess then that this has just become another sorry saga in the history of the WSR.
    So if the REB is already built then the project should need even lass time... Why is it that some people who don't know what they are doing (but think that they are clever) have to interfere? It brings back the old saying:- "Those of you who think you know it all are really annoying those of us that do!"
     
  20. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    7,575
    Likes Received:
    7,812
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Do red flags still feature in WLLR operations?
     

Share This Page