Signal Levers - a question

Discussion in 'Running Your Trains' started by Wolseley, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. Wolseley

    Wolseley Full Member

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    Sep 30, 2017
    I am in the process of wiring up all the points and signals on my layout. Now I know that, as it is a double oval with a reversing loop the layout of the track is not something you would find on a real railway, but I do want to get certain details prototypically correct and there is one thing that I want to make sure of before I get much further.

    In spite of my Great Great Grandfather and one of my Great Grandfather's brothers both being signalmen on the North British Railway, I find myself unsure as to whether or not I have something right. In relation to the point levers, does the signalman pull the lever towards himself to indicate the line is clear and away from himself to stop a train (or move a distant to the caution position) or is it the other way around?
  2. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    Aug 20, 2017
    The simplest way I can answer your question Wolseley is to describe the lever functioning as thus:- the normal position for any lever is "back in the frame" e.g not pulled, when a lever is reversed (pulled towards the signalman) then it is reversed and thus a locking / unlocking action of other levers occurs.

    So let us imagine a set of points which we shall number 7 for this description, the normal lie of 7 points will mean the lever (number7) is back in the frame, to reverse the point so a train can travel onto of from the other line 7 points are reversed in the frame. Now this action we see has a relationship with the signals; described as thus:- for simplicity sake of this conversation (for the purposes of medeling) signals are of two types, these are signals which read through a set of points in the facing direction and signals which read through the points in a trailing direction... ignore the Distant, Home and Starter signals for this conversation as it gets too complicated.

    Now facing points are where the direction of trains travel through points from the switch blade end and trailing points are where trains travel through from the crossing (frog) end, facing points are fitted with an FPL (facing point lock) which is a bolt plunger which prevents point blades from moving when pulled... so for this description the FPL is number 8. Thus with 7 points normal 8 FPL lever when reversed in the frame will lock 7 point and then release the respective signal which we shall number as 6, this now means a train is clear to travel in a forward direction through the points. However if a train is required to travel in a trailing direction (from the turnout side of the points) then another signal is needed, this one we shall number as 9.

    So the sequence of lever pulling for a train to travel through the points in a trailing direction is as thus:- signalman puts 7 points in reverse and leaves 8 FPL in the normal position, he then places 9 lever into reverse which clears the signal to green and also locks both 6,7 and 8 levers in their respective positions in the lever frame so these levers cannot be pulled in error.

    Finally the lever colours are as thus :- red is signals, black is points and blue is FPL, distant levers are yellow. There are other colour combinations but for this description it is not necessary to discuss.

    Some modelers I have noticed become confused when modeling their signal box interiors and painting the levers in haphazard manner, the correct combination would be as follows :- Distant, Home signal, Points, Facing Point Lock, Start signal, so from left to right in order in the lever frame for a train traveling through points in a facing direction we would see levers coloured, yellow, red, black, blue, red. Trains traveling in a training direction from right to left the lever colours in the frame would continue as thus :- red, black, blue, red, yellow. So the complete colour combination for all levers would be, yellow, red, red, black, blue, red, red, yellow.

    From this layout combination of levers it will be noted that all the point and lock levers are located in the centre and all signals located to the left of the signalman have their respective levers located in the left hand side of the frame and signals to the right of the signalman are located in the right hand side of the frame, this ordering is done this way to create a logical sequencing.
    Andy_Sollis likes this.
  3. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    Mar 13, 2016
    I guess then the advantage of CTC over the old style signal boxes rears its head

    One of my modelling mates here in South Aust is a Senior Train Controller & they control turnouts etc from many many miles away, even in a different State.
    jakesdad13 and Toto like this.

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