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I attach a track plan of a station very vaguely based on some sort of combination of Westport Quay and Valentia Harbour - the basis for my current venture. The idea is to have it signalled for passenger working / ETS.

I have an idea of what signals should be where; the loco siding would in this case be just a hand point off the goods road at the top of the diagram, presumably, and there would be a home signal at the platform end for departures. But what of shunting signals? And positioning of point rodding?

Thoughts on a €50 note to the usual address......?


Edited by jhb171achill
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Well this would be my take on it,

1 Starting signal for departing trains

2 optional second departing signal for trains from the yard, but you could always just shunt to platform for departures and only have a shunt signal at the exit to the yard.

3 3 disks controlling movement to  top goods yard, platform and bottom goods yard.

4 Disk controlling movement out of the top goods yard.

5 Controls movement from platform to headhunt

6Controls movement from bottom goods to headshunt

7 Controls movement from headhunt to goods

8 Home signal into platform, optional secondary signal into yard but the No3 shunt disk would work fine here.

All other points as hand points, no signaling required.


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I would not disagree with Snapper's suggestion, except that it seems over-signalled. It is more like what a UK heritage railway would apply now under current regs, rather than what historically would be put in, which would probably be a home, starter and a few discs, with hand signals for a lot of things, given there would be few locos moving at any one time - generally one. JHB, I would suggest your layout looks rather like Loughrea in part. Perhaps if you have the Transport Research Associates Baronial Lines book, it may have a diagram that might offer some help? As a comment, I'm not convinced about the three-way point (too expensive for a poor Irish branch line?),  a trap would be needed exiting the goods/run-round to the main line, and the crossover to the goods/loco would be operated as such to ensure there was a trap from the goods. However, as is said many times, it's your layout and do what you like...

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You're quite right, bsgsv. I intend it to be as accurate as possible, so traps would need to be included indeed.

Snapper's analysis looks correct, and had such a layout existed, it would almost certainly have been signalled like that originally. Both Westport Quay and Valentia, and many another place, were simplified over the years, and I'm looking at a likely accurate alternative.

You'd be surprised where three-way turnouts would be found - while pricier to install, land was pricier still. Polloxfen's grain sidings in Co Sligo had a couple. I'm pretty sure I've seen pictures of them somewhere on the narrow gauge (now THERE'S a quiz question!). In my scenario, space dictates, especially as I want the more realistic looking long-radius points on the rest of the layout.

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Track layout looks suspiciously like Loughrea without the carriage siding road, its unlikely that the loco release turnout at an Irish branch line terminus would be controlled from the signal cabin or ground frame unless the passenger platform extended to the buffer stops.

Movements from the main line to run round loop or down siding is more likely to be controlled by hand signal  from the cabin than a signal arm or disc. The Home signal would be held at danger and an approaching train brought to a stand, before the signal man would change the points for the diverging road and flag the train into the siding or loop.

Discs were usually provided to control movements from a loop or siding to a main line, I am not sure whether a cattle special would depart directly from the cattle bank or set back onto the platform road to attach the guards van.

Levers controlling signals facing point locks and turnouts are usually numbered sequentially in direction in a lever frame in this example 1-5 control movements along the main line in the down direction, 6&7 are spare & 8-10 control movements in the up direction. 

Signalling likely to be a fixed distant, (1) Home Signal (2) Facing Point Lock Main to Down Siding (3), Turnout & Trap Point Main to Down Siding. (4) facing point lock Crossover Main to Loop (5), Crossover Main to Loop. (6,7) spare (8) Up Starting Signal, (9) Disc Loop to Main Line, (10) Down Siding to Main Line.

From a signalling point of view it does not matter whether a turnout is single or tandem (3 way)

The Fixed Distant could be moved out and an Outer Home signal provided approx 1/2 mile out from the home to allow shunting to take place on the main line when a second train is approaching the station, Loughrea had an Outer Home signal though Ballinrobe a station handling a similar level traffic had a simpler signalling layout without an Outer Home


Edited by Mayner
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Sort of familiar with having built it signalling wise it comprises of a starter ,home and indicator for the catch point,nicely illustrated on a set of photos avaliable from the Bluebell Railway.If you go onto their website,,then go to the museum section you will see a bit for Photograph collections ,the one you want is the John Smith collection,there is a large Irish section done by dates,try November 1959 Photo ref 7-98-7vis  especially good in that respect.The great thing about these lists is the prints are displayed so you can see what you are getting.Hope that helps Andy.

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I dug out the book on the Loughrea and Ballinrobe branches, which has the 1918 diagram and also a 1961 diagram, which looks rather the same! I hope that TRA don't mind reproducing the diagram, but I think it is some time since the book has been available.

The outer home is clearer in the second diagram, and is really there for the level crossing. The discs are point indicators, worked off the adjacent turnout. The last one I can remember was at the traps from the goods yard at Gort.


Edited by BSGSV
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Having delved into the Catacombs, and perused 1950s working timetables for clues about signalling, I found out a little more.

Westport Quay and Cahirciveen - Valentia were operated then (and for many, many years earlier) as "one engine in steam", thus allowing little in the way of catch points, no ground signals and just one home starter, and home approach signal. This will make life MUCH simpler!

Valentia had had a signal cabing, but ended up with a ground frame; so did Westport Quay. The lever frame at Valentia both in signal cabin and GF days, had but five levers; three for points and two for signals. This would have meant one signal each for home approach and home departure. This, therefore is what i'll have, as my plan is to recreate the sort of small terminus which would have one mixed and one goods a day, coming to life big time whenever it was beet season, GAA All-Ireland day, or Knock specials.

This type of system was probably reproduced in other places in latter days; I know that Ardee cabin (which i was in one time) wasn't exactly packed with levers, and Castleisland could possibly have been similar.

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