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465fan

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Gentlemen

A quick question from me, I am aware that a company called Ferneaux Riddall of Portsmouth make the "Halo Plus" range of Dispatch or Signalling torches, as I ordered one for various duties at a Pres line.

I would however like to ask if anyone knows the name of the company who manufacture the station dispatch bats, if at all possible?

With thanks
 
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Jonfun

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The distributor (and possibly manufacturer) is Pakex UK, as they're the name on the baton itself. However they seem to deal with companies only; assuming you wanted to order one, you may be better off (assuming you're ordering as an individual) gaining one from elsewhere if just for ease sake. For my preserved railway duty equipment (batteries, bulbs, keys etc) I've found Rail Order to be professional, efficient and helpful, although whether you'd be able to purchase a dispatch bat through them I'm unsure.

Hope this helps,

Jon

(Although on a general note please now I've said that don't go bombarding them trying to see if they'll sell anyone and everyone railway keys or stuff. If you don't have a valid reason to have it they most likely won't sell it - and I'm not sure they'd appreciate tons of enthusiasts who want things for the sake of it. :) )
 

AlexS

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One absolutely stonking way to ruin the look of any preserved railway is to use... a dispatch baton. There's no need for it. They're a late 1980s invention (I would have thought, or thereabouts) and you'll look a right tool into the bargain. I would seriously recommend not bothering with that particular nuance, if you really needed a baton you'd be provided with one.
 

ralphchadkirk

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One absolutely stonking way to ruin the look of any preserved railway is to use... a dispatch baton. There's no need for it. They're a late 1980s invention (I would have thought, or thereabouts) and you'll look a right tool into the bargain. I would seriously recommend not bothering with that particular nuance, if you really needed a baton you'd be provided with one.
This.

Even Halo lamps are a bit contentious on my railway, but a few of us do own one because of the clearer LED signal and revert to red capability.
 

Jonfun

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This came up in a chat I was having the other night with one of my friends and colleagues. Within the past few years it's becoming clear that there's a significant shift in the demographic of those visiting heritage railways; (at least the one I'm currently a volunteer at) where there once was mostly people who remembered the age of steam, and the romance etc of it all, we see more visitors who are the type who grew up in the late '70s and through the 80s who now have families and just want a day out to see a real life steam train - perhaps it's things like the Hogwarts Express and Thomas the Tank Engine which gets the young ones interested.

More than once I've had to explain that we don't use dispatch bats (which a family the other weekend were quite disappointed about!), and various other bits of modern technology that this generation almost seem to come to 'expect', from a railway, in the same way that the older generation would expect the more traditional methods. Likewise with the oft argued thing on hi-visibility clothing; the majority of people growing up in more recent times *expect* to see it on a railway and don't really have a problem with it in my experience.

Obviously a heritage railway is still a heritage railway, and for the time being at least, it should be kept as best as possible that way - but I don't think any heritage place should be of the opinion that solely because something is modern, it shouldn't necessarily be included - an example being the Halo handlamps. They're significantly lighter and safer than their older counterparts (albeit less drop-resistant :oops: ) meaning they're much easier to use. I do struggle to see the need for specifically a dispatch bat on a preserved railway though (and I have seen them used) - even just for the basic fact of what does it achieve that an 'all right' handsignal wouldn't? You're unlikely to have excessive train length to proclude visibility, and with only a few exceptions crowds on the platform are unlikely to be massive enough to justify using one.

At the end of the day, if a need's been identified then fair play - it wouldn't be my place to judge.

Jon
 

DownSouth

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I think there's a happy middle ground where modern items which are reasonable substitutions could be used, or modern items not used visibly could be used as a backup to the traditional methods used visibly.

For an example of the first, modern electronics could be used in original-looking cases for things like lamps that need to be relied upon for safety purposes.

For an example of the second, a heritage railway near me visibly uses the traditional whistle and flag from the back with steam-hauled services as was authentic for the time their locos came from. The real signal that the train is clear to go is handled in the following seconds using buzzer codes discreetly transmitted between UHF CB radios equipped with digital coded tone squelching.
 

AlexS

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It's all a bit of a muchness. For example, I find a bardic lamp far, far easier to use for shunting handsignals than the modern Halo equivalent, and I have and use both. For platform dispatch work the Halo wins every time as I can stick it in my pocket. The bardic however is easier to swing for handsignals and the knob on the top makes it easier to change colours than fiddling with a switch. That goes both for voluntary work on a heritage railway as a dispatcher and guard/shunter and paid work as a dispatcher on the 'big railway' (I won't call it the 'real railway'!) - at my location you still have access to both, unusually.

The baton though I wouldn't personally expect to find on a heritage line, or at least on a line that sells itself as a heritage line, particularly a steam era one.
 

ralphchadkirk

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I agree, batons are pointless on heritage railways. I've never found a situation where the normal handsignal or a white light doesn't suffice.

Lamps are very much a personal choice. I carry both a Halo and a Bardic on me. I far prefer the Halo as for example during shunting whilst it's not as comfortable to swing as the Bardic I don't have to fiddle around with it to get a red just as the engine's coming onto the stop. I also find its colours penetrate steam and smoke much better than the Bardic. I really only carry the Bardic to sling on the back of a train should I need to.

Incidentally I tried out someone's paraffin lamp the other day for shunting and I was surprised by how easy it is to swing and how quickly you can get aspects on it.

We still use flags and as the big railway still uses them I see no reason to change.
 

D1009

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For an example of the second, a heritage railway near me visibly uses the traditional whistle and flag from the back with steam-hauled services as was authentic for the time their locos came from. The real signal that the train is clear to go is handled in the following seconds using buzzer codes discreetly transmitted between UHF CB radios equipped with digital coded tone squelching.
Any reason for this ?
 

DownSouth

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Any reason for this ?
Crowds on platforms at times, previous incidents, whistle not always audible enough if it's a long train and the wind blowing the wrong way, and always good to have a couple of extra sets of eyes when there are coaches with open end platforms in use.

It's not at all obtrusive, they just keep the radio in the pocket and press the buzzer button. I only know because I saw a newbie volunteer use it out of his pocket one day and asked how they did things once the train was going. I notice behind the scenes details like that all the time at things like sporting events because I've worked in video and event production previously.
 

Solent&Wessex

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Dispatch Batons were, at one point, manufactured by a firm called AED Plastics, 70 Kings Hall Road, Beckenham, Kent, BR3 1LS. Telephone 020-8778-2463. I have a baton at home with a sticker on which gives those details. Whether they still exist or not I do not know, this was acquired a good few years ago now.
 

Daniel

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With regards to dispatch torches on the mainline, I'm not sure if they've been introduced on NR yet, but the new style bardic has been issued on the Metropolitan Line as a trial for LU. Much lighter, better light, and last a lot longer:

 
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