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 Post subject: Re: "Train order" in British practice
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 9:59 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 6:10 pm
Posts: 180
So if I understand their system they had a man every one or two miles along the line at signal boxes? A man for each block is a lot of manpower and wages to be paid. Even at every six miles that's a lot of expense.

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 Post subject: Re: "Train order" in British practice
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 11:57 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:32 pm
Posts: 301
Yes a lot of manpower a hundred years ago.
I grew up in Milwaukee WI near the Milwaukee Road Shops. The Milwaukee was small compared to the roads like ATSF and UP. Yet the maintenance and car building at Milwaukee in 1927 employed about 8000 people.
That's what I liked about the Indian Railway video I posted. If you watch the first 30 min of that it shows what a Victorian age time capsule India Railway was in 1995. They were at that time ending steam, but still employed 1.5 Million people and ran 11,000 trains a day on 40,000 miles of track.


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 Post subject: Re: "Train order" in British practice
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 2:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Mikechoochoo wrote:
So if I understand their system they had a man every one or two miles along the line at signal boxes? A man for each block is a lot of manpower and wages to be paid. Even at every six miles that's a lot of expense.


It's not like the U.K. had a monopoly on this. Do a hard analysis of how railroads operated in North America or Europe before such things as CTS and mechanized track maintenance. Think about two shifts of two men apiece, seven days a week, whose job it was to sit in a shack until a train was in sight, then go stand out in the road with a "lollipop" STOP sign and a red flag, or red lantern at night--even AFTER automated crossing signals were installed. Think of the "caller boy" whose job it was to go hunt down the crew members and inform them of their pending assignment, before phones or cell phones.

I read recently of a 1908 traffic change on the PRR where the PRR diverted traffic from one secondary main line to another, to take advantage of better track geometry and running times and eliminate a pusher district on the first line. Now, this is an era when the typical freight train was a PRR Class R Consolidation (later H3, like 1187 in the RR Museum of Pa.) and forty or so cars. On a forty-five-mile secondary main in the spell of one month, according to a local historian, eight block stations were closed, and eighty operating crew members and nineteen block operators were laid off and forced to either relocate or retire.


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 Post subject: Re: "Train order" in British practice
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 6:27 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
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Location: Northern Illinois
Mikechoochoo wrote:
So if I understand their system they had a man every one or two miles along the line at signal boxes? A man for each block is a lot of manpower and wages to be paid. Even at every six miles that's a lot of expense.


Keep in mind the train density they had. Not too many one train a day branch lines in the UK.

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 Post subject: Re: "Train order" in British practice
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 7:51 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
Interesting.

The move in the #4 post on page 1 of this thread where I commented BR used "a cast of thousands" would have been done in the US with the train crews, the two tower operators and the train dispatcher only, using train orders and clearance forms. No extra personnel needed.

BTW the "catch points" were needed because it was a helper grade (one freight train did have a pusher) and at that time many BR goods wagons did not have power brakes and were coupled simply by looping a chain over a hook. A runaway was likely so the catch point would derail any car that broke loose and rolled backwards down the hill. No power brakes meant no automatic brake application in case of a break-in-two.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: "Train order" in British practice
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 5:13 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1047
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Mikechoochoo wrote:
So if I understand their system they had a man every one or two miles along the line at signal boxes? A man for each block is a lot of manpower and wages to be paid. Even at every six miles that's a lot of expense.


Yes. NetworkRail is still closing signal boxes on various lines. Also, under the current law many of the preservation railways are legally required to have staffed signal boxes and operating signal systems. Thus the signaling staff fulfill both a heritage and legal duty. Even the 15 inch gauge Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch is required to have a signaling system and it uses manned signal boxes. Note that in many situations, the signal box also operates the gates for an adjacent road crossing. Unlike our system, the gate fences off the railroad right of way when open for the road.

Because of the expenses incurred during WWII, the UK delayed modernization of the railways. The country could not afford the unemployment that automation or modernization would generate. Thus, many manned signal boxes survived until the 21st century.

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