AB signal boxes switching out

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Tomnick

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Just out of interest really - how many boxes switch out on a regular basis - say, weekly or more often? There are various documents out there showing box opening hours, but they don't seem to be up to date in all cases.

For starters, Melton Station (of the Mowbray variety) switches out from Saturday evening until Monday morning.
 
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TEW

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St Erth switches out every day from late evening to early morning.
 

The Planner

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There are various documents out there showing box opening hours, but they don't seem to be up to date in all cases.

They would be if the LOMs told us about the changes..... but when the delay goes to a Q code even if we complain that we were not told....
 

edwin_m

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Doesn't Melton Mowbray box control the level crossing? In which case it would be impossible to run a Sunday service with the box switched out.
 

Tomnick

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Melton box now releases the gates on the barrow crossing at the station - that function, and the crossing phones, passes to Frisby when Melton's closed. Doesn't control any other crossings though.
 

Tomnick

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No problem - I did wonder whether you were thinking of Oakham! Ta for the other comments so far. Good to see that we're getting good at this communication business...
 

dk1

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Back when i was a signalman in the late 80s/early 90s here in East Anglia Somerleyton Swing Bridge used to switch out 22.00-06.00 or 18.00 if no cover. Most other signalboxes in the area also closed overnight (different to switching out). Whether it was for security this all changed under Railtrack & boxes & crossings all became 24/7. Thinking about it there was a 99.9% chance of finding the door key for any box if closed hanging under the handrail of the veranda.
 

VP185

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Back when i was a signalman in the late 80s/early 90s here in East Anglia Somerleyton Swing Bridge used to switch out 22.00-06.00 or 18.00 if no cover. Most other signalboxes in the area also closed overnight (different to switching out). Whether it was for security this all changed under Railtrack & boxes & crossings all became 24/7. Thinking about it there was a 99.9% chance of finding the door key for any box if closed hanging under the handrail of the veranda.

When I worked for NXEA about 3 or 4 years ago Somerleyton would still switch out when there was no cover.
 
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Bexhill switches out overnight unless any T3 traffic requirements for it to stay open. Not strictly a box but Normans Bay crossing switches out from early evening until the start of the morning rush hour.

Paul
 

matchmaker

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Oop north Blackford is switched out most of the time. Stirling North is switched out on Sundays unless there are engineering works.
 

Darren R

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Doesn't Hellifield switch out over-night, along with one or two of the remoter cabins over the S&C?
 

Tomnick

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I don't think Hellifield can (it's TCB towards Skipton, isn't it?). I'm sure some of the other boxes have the facility to switch out, but I'm not sure whether any do nowadays, given the increased levels of traffic.
 

telstarbox

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In remote boxes (such as on the S&C), are there emergency supplies eg food and water in case the signaller gets snowed in?
 
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I know there are Saturday and Sunday nights when there are no engineering requirements, and no train service, but Hellifield and the remainder of the boxes up the S&C, are all open 24/7.

I am pretty sure it used to be possible to switch out Settle Junction when there was no need for a service down the Carnforth branch, but that does not happen anymore.

As for switching out, it is not possible to switch out Hellifield box...

As for emergency supplies, that certainly does not happen at Hellifield or Settle Junction, I cannot comment on any of the boxes further up...
 
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SussexMan

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Bexhill switches out overnight unless any T3 traffic requirements for it to stay open. Not strictly a box but Normans Bay crossing switches out from early evening until the start of the morning rush hour.

Is there a difference between "switching out" and closing? I guess I mean the difference between switching out so that the track remains open for traffic and the section becomes longer (between the two adjacent boxes), and closing where no trains can run because the signals are left at danger (or the box controls a level crossing). E.g. as far as I am aware, Hampden Park, Polegate, Westham & Pevensey, Berwick etc, shut at night. I assume Eastbourne does as well? Is that different to switching out though?
 

louis97

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Is there a difference between "switching out" and closing? I guess I mean the difference between switching out so that the track remains open for traffic and the section becomes longer (between the two adjacent boxes), and closing where no trains can run because the signals are left at danger (or the box controls a level crossing). E.g. as far as I am aware, Hampden Park, Polegate, Westham & Pevensey, Berwick etc, shut at night. I assume Eastbourne does as well? Is that different to switching out though?

Eastbourne, Hampden Park, Polegate, Pevensey & Westham and Berwick all stay open throughout the night. (Source: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/guide/operational-rules/compendium-of-signal-box-opening-times.xls)

Switching out is where the signal box can be closed and left un-staffed however the line can still be open for trains, however not all signal boxes can be switched out, dependent on the area they control. A signal box that can not be switched out which is closed means trains can not run.
 
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Southern313

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See Amberley still gets switched out just after the last split comes down the valley. Up until the 2007 timetable change and the introduction of splits/joins at Horsham the box at Amberley would only be used if the BML was closed due to engineering works and everything was sent up the valley.
 

Tomnick

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Is there a difference between "switching out" and closing? I guess I mean the difference between switching out so that the track remains open for traffic and the section becomes longer (between the two adjacent boxes), and closing where no trains can run because the signals are left at danger (or the box controls a level crossing).
Exactly correct. On an AB line, operating the block switch at box B (after going through the process to obtain a 'line clear' from either side, to enable the signals to be cleared in each direction) means that the section then extends from A to C (and the bells and block indicators are connected between the two).
 

SussexMan

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Eastbourne, Hampden Park, Polegate, Pevensey & Westham and Berwick all stay open throughout the night. (Source: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/guide/operational-rules/compendium-of-signal-box-opening-times.xls)

Learn something new every day and the staffing costs must be huge in that section of line. Must be a tad boring doing the night shift. NR have got quite a bit of work to do before the 23rd Nov.

Does anyone know the history of the Havensmouth Crossing (at Normans Bay stn)? Is it going to change to an AHB crossing? Is it something to do with the road being a Private Road that the crossing was never converted to AHB. The Excel sheet linked to suggests that the box is more than just a gate box as it has the comments "Increased headway (Pevensey - Bo Peep)".
 

RichmondCommu

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In remote boxes (such as on the S&C), are there emergency supplies eg food and water in case the signaller gets snowed in?

The only remote box left on the S & C is Blea Moor which receives a daily supply of water courtesy of Northern Rail. The likes of Dent Head and Mallerstang closed over 40 years a go. The box at Blea Moor is almost a mile from the nearest road so you would assume that signalers in winter time are issued with suitable clothing!
 
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