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Blues&twos
5th May 2009, 20:14
Railway buffs....quick question about UK signalbox bell-codes.

What did the signalman do if he sent an incorrect bell code?? Probably not such a problem if he was offering or accepting a train as the boxes either side would be aware of what was timetabled and would realise there was an error. But supposing he wanted to send 6 bells and sent 7 instead? Was there an "Incorrect" code?

EDIT: apologies to normal people for the anorak nature of this question.

Evening Star
5th May 2009, 20:32
Bell codes for:

- Cancelling; 3-5
- Train incorrectly described; 5-3

Must dust down my anorak...

Blues&twos
5th May 2009, 22:42
Thanks ES!

Hmmm, what if he wanted to cancel a cancellation??!!

Got on the phone I suppose!

Davaar
5th May 2009, 23:09
As a last resort would they not clamp one or two detonator caps to the line?

Blues&twos
5th May 2009, 23:19
Some boxes had automatic detonator placers which were operated by a lever I believe...not sure what the criteria were for having these in particular locations.

Blacksheep
6th May 2009, 07:37
Mam was a signaller on the LNER during the war. She never made mistakes, it was always the box at the other end. After the war Uncle Billy got a job as a signaller with BR and wor Mam always took the mickey out of him for doing "womens' work"

tony draper
6th May 2009, 07:48
Those detonators were good, made a hell of a bang when yer dropped a building brick onto them from the park bridge.
prolly agin health and safety now because they had a lead thingy on em for clamping them to the rail.
:)

Sprogget
6th May 2009, 08:01
We used to nick them & set 'em off with hammers when I was a sprog sprogget. Got caught by the transport police once, but was too deaf from them to really hear the bollocking:}

Gainesy
6th May 2009, 08:43
We used to put nails on rails and get em flattened into arrow heads by the trains.

Eric T Cartman
6th May 2009, 08:57
In 1966, when Cartman was just a wee lad, I was taught to drive trains on the London Underground. I was sent to Golders Green where I was given half a dozen time-expired dets to place on the track & drive over, so I'd know what it sounded like. As Sprogget will agree, they made a hell of a bang for something so small - even in the cab of a noisy steam loco, you'd know when you ran over them ! :ooh:

sisemen
6th May 2009, 09:26
We used to put nails on rails and get em flattened into arrow heads by the trains.


We used to put pennies and h'apnies on the track for any passing A4/A2/A1 or A3 to flatten (just outside Donny).

Eee. I wish I 'ad one of them flat coins now.

radeng
6th May 2009, 10:31
Actually Cartman, in some of the big pacifics, the detonators weren't too loud in the cab because of the way the cabs were all closed in. That was supposedly a contributing factor in the 1955 Welwyn Garden City crash, where neither the driver or fireman of the A2 heard the detonator.

I believe the LM region had some detonator placers with two detonators which, if the first one went off, moved the second one out of the way so as to save money. Can't for the life of me imagine the speed that would have to happen, though. At 60mph, you'd have about 1 millisecond to detect and then move the thing about 2 inches.

Besides the bell codes, there were also the telephoned 'boxers' - box to box messages. These were important, since belling on an express to say Wootton Bassett (junction for the South Wales Direct line via the Severn tunnel) would be no help if it was a South Wales express running in front of an expected Bristol express.

Sprogget
6th May 2009, 10:33
Welwyn Garden is where as kids, we messed about with detonator caps. We pinched them from the (unlocked) trains in the sidings just beyond the station.

Gainesy
6th May 2009, 10:49
(just outside Donny).

Ditto Siseman.:ok:

MadsDad
6th May 2009, 11:43
Did the same thing, Siseman, at Clipstone Junction. Except there it was O2s, WDs or 9Fs on coalies usually (with a B1 or V2 on the 'Fish' once a day). Mind you 1000+ tons of coal could spread a penny out really well (except sometimes the coin would stick to the wheels of one of the trucks and get nicked. Boo-hoo time that was).

wings folded
6th May 2009, 11:52
I think that to call up the next box on the line, one sent a "flat-un", i.e. a single but sustained press on the semaphore button which caused the hammer to hit the bell and stay pressed against it, giving the flat tone because resonance was cancelled out.

At least, was like that on the LMS when I was young, in the middle ages.

Having called up with a flat-un, one could correct inaccurate bell codes, or more likely debate starting prices at the greyhound track, or the cost of a pint of mild.

G-CPTN
6th May 2009, 11:58
My penny-spreading activities were carried-out at the Border-Counties bridge junction of the North British line . . .

RAILSCOT | Photographs of Border Counties Junction (http://www.railbrit.co.uk/location.php?loc=Border%20Counties%20Junction&)

Eric T Cartman
6th May 2009, 12:27
wings folded / radeng
On the Midland main line out of St.Pancras (locations witheld to protect the guilty ;) ), many boxes were so busy that they dispensed with the single Call Attention bell tap. However, if an Inspector etc. was seen approaching the box, a "flat-un" was sent to the adjoining boxes so everyone used the correct bells until the coast was clear :ok:
Until the advent of Power Boxes, there was an omnibus line for St. Pancras Control & all the manual boxes - anyone could call anyone else by using a buzzer code & anyone could listen to the conversations - quite handy for regulating purposes.

PS didn't know about that @ WGC radeng - mind you , I was only 7 at the time & a trip to Hatfield to spot was a real treat :)

Blacksheep
6th May 2009, 13:08
We used to put nails on rails and get em flattened into arrow heads by the trains.That was how BS got a criminal record. Fined 1.00 at the juvenile court for trespassing on the railway. They nicked my flattened nail off me as well. :(

Captain Stable
6th May 2009, 13:28
What was the signal for "One cuppa tea, milk, two sugars please"? :}

Eric T Cartman
6th May 2009, 13:47
Captain
A swift cuff round the ear of the booking boy usually did the trick !
They respected your authority in those days :}

wings folded
6th May 2009, 16:52
It's all a bit vague because it was a long time ago, but I seem to recall that boxes were connected in a sort of open loop of communication network which anybody in the loop could listen to, and the flat-un was used to arouse the adjacent signalman from his slumbers between trains, otherwise one was transmitting blind to all and sundry, rather like on 121.5

Having sent a flat-un did not stop other boxes from overhearing the conversation if they had the earpiece in close proximity with the auditive orifice, but they would usually be out tending the geraniums on the balcony/ admiring passing crumpet/ dozing quietly/ filling in the pools in readiness for Saturday.

Was a great way of alerting the others to the presence of a Block Inspector as well.

uffington sb
6th May 2009, 16:53
Railway bell codes

If you really want to know, put your anorak on and then goto;

Home - RGS Online (http://www.rgsonline.co.uk) Rule book - TS - TS1

Evening Star
6th May 2009, 18:00
Good link U.SB. Interesting to note how little changes seeing as I was quoting from the BR rule book (complete with sectional appendices) rescued on the way to the bin during the closure back in the last century of a certain signing on point, the location of which I will not name but will probably be clear from my next comment.

Still have the 2p that I rolled out under a 'Peak' on the Lickey Incline one afternoon while, along with a small group of bespectacled unathletic intellectuals, on the skive from sixth form games. Seeing as this was at an occupational crossing, would say I was immune from the fate that befell Blacksheep, although am sure will get transported for defacing the Queen's currency.:uhoh:

wings folded
6th May 2009, 18:11
Ah you young kids!!!

A proper old fashioned penny was the correct coin to have flattened, preferably by one of Stainier's creations.

Them were the days

Sailor Vee
6th May 2009, 19:02
Ah you young kids!!!

A proper old fashioned pennyI remember busting half a weeks pocket money by having a thrupenny bit flattened by a streak just north of Pegswood station, sold it three weeks later for a tanner! Couldn't understand why he didn't do it hisself! :rolleyes:

wings folded
6th May 2009, 19:47
I remember busting half a weeks pocket money by having a thrupenny bit flattened by a streak just north of Pegswood station, sold it three weeks later for a tanner! Couldn't understand why he didn't do it hisself!


Wot? Half a shilling pocket money per week? Your parents must have owned half of England. Sheer luxury.

And by the way, "streaks" were a bit flash. Give me a black five anyday.

jimtherev
6th May 2009, 22:10
wings folded / radeng
On the Midland main line out of St.Pancras (locations witheld to protect the guilty ;) ), many boxes were so busy that they dispensed with the single Call Attention bell tap. However, if an Inspector etc. was seen approaching the box, a "flat-un" was sent to the adjoining boxes so everyone used the correct bells until the coast was clear :ok:
:)

Seem to remember that the Liverpool St lines dispensed with 'one bell' altogether, until 'someone wot knew' inspected them one day and threw a wobbler and several rule books.

Next morning, things started slowing down from 0 dark hundred onwards, and the last commuter got to his office at about midday. Trains backed up to Chelmsford, women weeping, Evening Standard outraged.

'Someone wot knew' had an interview with the line superintendent and was last seen at Melton Mowbray; 'call attention' went back where it came from.

sisemen
7th May 2009, 01:08
Funny old thing. I started my criminal career on the railway as well. Aged 10, charged with "dropping a piece of wood on a stationary locomotive"; fined 10/-.

Had a slat from an old orange box which became, in a 10 year old's eyes, a sword. Walking across Hexthorpe bridge to watch a London bound express after it had roared through Donny station. Directly underneath was a mucky old J something or other. Streak comes bursting under the bridge. Drop the "sword". It lands in the J tender. Crew look up and shout something like, "little bugger". Railway policeman walking over bridge. "Right, you're nicked sonny".

The rest is history. I graduated onto major crime after that - speeding tickets and stuff.

Gainsey - wasn't the crossing at Bentley by any chance??

parabellum
7th May 2009, 01:27
I worked briefly for BR before taking the Queen's shilling, as a Junior booking clerk! Got caught putting an old penny on the line by a senior permanent way inspector who just happened to be on the platform. Got a very serious bollocking as such pranks can cause cracked rails and even wheels that, in turn, can cause serious accidents!:ouch:

Used to spend lunch hour in the signal box learning what I could and just loved turning the wheel and opening/closing the level crossing gates and stopping the traffic, such power!

Not sure but seem to remember rule 39A, "After dark and during fog or falling snow there will be a lighted hand lamp in every signal box" - or was 39A about single line working and the tablet? Too far back now!

Blues&twos
7th May 2009, 06:46
Not sure but seem to remember rule 39A, "After dark and during fog or falling snow there will be a lighted hand lamp in every signal box"

I'm hoping that particular rule made allowances for taking said hand lamp outside.

In my wisdom I tried the 'old penny' experiment when I was about 12, only using a new penny on the line past Shoreham airport. Not only did I get a serious talking to, I never saw my penny again. Not the same, these modern trains. (I was, fortunately, aware of the difference between the running rails and the 750 volt live rail....)

Eric T Cartman
7th May 2009, 07:13
Sailor Vee
My interest in a railway career started in the 50's after I was allowed to close the crossing gates & signal The Talisman through Widdrington - a location I guess you know well :)

Blues&twos
I've still got a couple of the old paraffin hand lamps - due to the cunning design, they'll stay lit even in a blizzard :ok:

angels
7th May 2009, 07:41
I, too, have turned the wheel to open the level crossing. This was at Hampden Park in Eastbourne. I stopped the traffic for a goods train heading to Hastings. Great!

I have thoroughly enjoyed the memories on this thread as well!

Must be getting old.....

radeng
7th May 2009, 09:53
Worksop East was an interesting ex GC box in that it had a lever for the crossing gates - most GC boxes had the wheel.

TBirdFrank
7th May 2009, 11:48
Criminal Record - BR were good at that.

I have one and I have to declare it every time I renew my shotgun certificate as it doesn't expire like motoring offences

I got hit for a tenner thirty six years ago for "Boarding a train not being an authorised person contrary to BRB Byelaw 15"

Late for train - lock up Anglia on the slide and jump onto - barely moving - train!

Guard took offence - I'll see you at Piccadilly - thought he would have me for fare dodging because I hadn't had time to book.

So at the barrier up he comes - "where's your ticket sonny?" I haven't got one says I - but there's the ten and six on the barrier shelf.

"Oh - Clever Bugger are we?" and off he goes and gets BT Plod who did me as above.

I joined BR about twelve months later - and made darned sure I got my tenner back out of' em!

Eight years after redundancy I still do - many times over - every four weeks!

Gainesy
7th May 2009, 12:26
Gainsey - wasn't the crossing at Bentley by any chance??

No, just up the line from the one tween Finningley village and Blaxton, used to wander off up there and watch the Vulcans do circuits & bumps. Where the centre of the image is, it was a disused sand & gravel pit then.

finningley uk - Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=finningley+uk&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=33.29802,64.599609&ie=UTF8&ll=53.490867,-0.994509&spn=0.024409,0.063086&t=k&z=14)

BRL
7th May 2009, 15:11
My first railway job was in the signal box at Littlehaven, near Horsham/Crawley. Used to love the old wheel in there for the gates.

Once closed the gates in the middle of the night for a class 350 that came into my section going all of 25mph! Anyhow, sod's law, just after closing the gates and watching the train go into my next section a fire engine comes flying up to the gates! Absolutely nothing I could do about it and went and told them. :O

I will try and dig some old pics out of the frame and box.

sisemen
8th May 2009, 05:45
No, just up the line from the one tween Finningley village and Blaxton

Know it well - 2 tours at Finningley 65-67 and 68-69

Blues&twos
8th May 2009, 06:39
BRL, this one? Apparently the wheel is still in use and the box is still manned 24h a day.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/d9/Littlehaven_Crossing_and_Box_02-09-07.JPG/270px-Littlehaven_Crossing_and_Box_02-09-07.JPG

Gainesy
8th May 2009, 08:34
2 tours at Finningley 65-67 and 68-69

Left Donny in 1967 to join RAF, never got (or wanted) a posting to Finn. Too close to home. Went to Boulmer and went down the hole for a couple of years, so much for avoiding going down the pit.

I'd say summat about signals but don't know anything about em.:)

tony draper
8th May 2009, 08:58
Bro Drapers first job after leaving school was in Low Fell Station Signal Box,his first week at work the footballer Hugie Gallagher commited suicide by laying his neck on the line right beside said signal box,bro wasn't there when it actually happened though.
:uhoh:

sisemen
8th May 2009, 09:12
Was Hughie credited with the 'header"???

Gainesy
8th May 2009, 10:25
Did he play for the Toon? Or mebbe he'd heard he was being transfered to the Toon.:)

Storminnorm
8th May 2009, 10:28
He was a bit of a pain in the neck anyhow.