For a while now I have been trying to concentrate on getting several areas of the layout finished, not that one would notice any real changes as most of them have been in the unseen areas of the layout, in some ways a frustrating time to say the least. However, during this time I have also had a lot of reflecting on the layout & what I want to do & achieve in this minature world of railways.
Early on I decided on making the layout set up with 4 locations plus the staging or transfer yards, this meant having single line working between each of the locations which are quite short in length, one of them around 1.5 metres in length, hardly enough to put signals in place in that section, but that's how it is in model world rather than real world. At the moment I am working on what method of operations to have between the stations, staff, or single line track block, both of which could be readily done, but that's a decision still to come.
Signalling as such is to be all Lower Quadrant types, of the 4 locations I am installing different types of signals to represent the various types that were found around NSW, at least in the main & secondary lines, these are in general different to the untrained eye, but subtle differences were abounding over the NSWGR system.
With that in mind the primary work has been on getting the point work along with the signals into operation at Moblayne, the signals are built by Dale Richards, & in the main they all will have lights in them, this feature has proved to be a right pain in the rear, with the wires breaking on some of them, but those installed so far are fine. The signals at Moblayne have home bracket signals at both ends, being main, loop & rocker arm siding signals lower on the post to enter the yard, this type of signals were found at Werris Creek as well as Moss Vale off the Illawarra line, but here there are 2 different types of bracket signals.
Standard Main Line & Loop starting signals are provided, along with siding signals for yard exit, the siding signals for yard exit were found at Werris Creek for up trains departing South Box. An Outer Home/Inner Distant signal is provided on the down line to protect the future Abatoirs siding, a fixed distant arm along with operating standard sized Home signal is on these types of signals.
Each end of Moblayne has a control panel, Moblayne East & Moblayne West. Down trains approach at East box. The panels when view may well be something that some will raise eyebrows & likely be a point of derision, & something I am hope does not happen. Reason for that is that each road has been given a colour code & pin strip tape used to show the roads, which is really the NSWGR method of having each yard roud numbered, thus my numbers will have colours in both the yard roads & controllers,by using Tam Valley singlets to control signals & points in conjunction with servo's.
I have not used the LED's that come with the Tam Valley products rather I use 3mm LED's of the same colour as shown for the roads, when the points are set for that road. A 3mm warm white is used to show what is the normal lay of the yard points, when reversed to allow a train to enter or depart from a yard road, the colour of the road will be illuminated for its passage as will the appropiate colours for other points leading to the main line.
Habit or should I say operating instructions will need to be instill into operators the mode of doing things in correct order. When train are entering or departing the yard, the first thing to do is ensure the points are all set correctly, before clearing the appropriate signal. Once train has departed or arrived the points are to be reset to normal lay.
In the same way, on the control panel all the Home signals will display red as normal signal, cleared the panel lights will show a green if going through the main line - station, entering the loop will show a yellow, (the usual colour for turnouts on other types of colour light signals). Here is a clear break from what is deemed to be prototypical, but from my perspective the wrong element in the signal board will give crewmen a true indication of which line they are to enter. The Home signals will show a white light rather than a green on the
panel when trains are arriving & turning into the yard for shunting
or engine change, as white lights will showthe normal lay of the yard points.
The general reasoning behind all of this is to try & prevent something that can be a common problem on layouts generated by some modellers, & that they will stop their train to check the points before moving through them. In some ways that sounds reasonable however, that is the responsibility of the person who will be in charge of the operations at Moblayne, as well as all other station/yards on the layout. The panels are designed to be operated in the same way as a signalman operates the points in the real world & that is points are set prior to clearing the appropriate signal for the movement.
The real world operations in the period I am modelling & for a wide area when I was still on the job, in this case cannot be replicated in full unless one invests heavily in an interlocked lever frame operation, something that is out the question for me. A signalman when starting his shift, only has to look at the frame to know how the points & signals are positioned. When he has to change the points & signals, he has to throw the interlocking lever that is protecting the signals against a wrong operation, any attempt to do so will be met by the lever being locked & unable to be moved until the other levers are pulled in correct sequence, then the appropriate signal can be cleared,
Modelling for me in this way, means that the points have to be thrown correctly first, & then ensure all the points are set correctly for the arrival or departure of a train, before clearing the appropriate signals, the colour lights will show correctly for the movement from the point lights.
This aspect means for me or any layout owner we have to ensure we have our track & especially the point work in top shape, this & the above working outs have meant a fair bit of time occupied on this vital area at the expense of a lot of other things. Knee problems & a replacement scheduled for late October has not help, (Dontcha love getting old with all that free/spare time?)
With the Aussie$$ dropping & a final workout of how many Tam Valley servo controllers I need for the points on the layout, assesed against what I have, meant that I would be needing around 20 of them for full control panel operations, reality stepped in as that would be near enough $U.S250.00 plus shipping.
A drastic rethink therefore was in order so I have begun a process of using mini slide switches with Piano wire & the push pull method of operating them, With some careful work I think I can get away without the need for anymore of the Tam valler controllers, so far two lots of points have been treated along with 4 more ready for the work, I will still look at having all the main line points worked by the servo's & controllers.
The use of operating signals which I had not planned for when I
purchased the primary supply when the AU$$ was on the other side of the
equation has caused the problem but I think I am a winner anyway.