Signalling Query - Cumbernauld and Neilston

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Crossover

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After a trip to Scotland at the weekend, I have a couple of queries that came about from it.

The first was at Cumbernauld on Saturday. Arriving from Falkirk Grahamston, we were held for a while outside the station before getting the route in, a few minutes late. We got a slight surprise on alighting that there was a a 318 in the turnback siding and a 320 stopped on the mainline, with a freight train approaching the Falkirk bound platform. The 320 pulled in, out of service and was attended by the "local FBI" to deal with an issue onboard before the freight continued onwards. What signalling is there available for the "mainline shunt" (I guess not a main aspect?) and would it have reversed on the mainline due to a passenger onboard? The 320 continued out of service (not shown on RTT, but it seemed like it was meant to be the train 30 mins before ours) and the 318 came out of the turnback siding to form our service.

The other was Neilston which is slightly bizarre in having 2 platforms and a headshunt where the arriving train reverses and comes back into the opposite platform. Is there any reason why this has persisted, rather than just having one platform for terminating trains? The arrival left under a subsidiary aspect under the red - is this red a fixed red? Also, I was looking at this headshunt on Google Maps and comparing them to the platform. The headshunt only looks like it is about half the length of the platforms, though it may be deceptive. Can double trains run on the line and run into the headshunt or is train length restricted?
 
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me123

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Neilston ...Also, I was looking at this headshunt on Google Maps and comparing them to the platform. The headshunt only looks like it is about half the length of the platforms, though it may be deceptive. Can double trains run on the line and run into the headshunt or is train length restricted?

6 car trains do run to Neilston (as confirmed by Scot-rail.co.uk's old diagrams, you need to sign in if you want to see them I'm afraid). There's no indication of the shunt move on the diagrams, but given that it's the only way to turn trains around at Neilston, I would surmise that a six car train can fit the siding. I've also found an old picture from 1988 (not mine, I wasn't even born!) showing two 303s (6 car length) sitting in the siding - looks a tight squeeze, but they seem to have managed it.

As to why they haven't come up with a more streamlined solution... I can't say for certain. It's obviously a historical remnant from the days when the line continued to Kilbirnie and Kilwinning. I suppose the turn back does work and causes little inconvenience, so there's probably not much pressure to change.

As far as I'm aware, it's a fixed red signal and the shunt moves use the shunting signals only, although I don't know for certain.

Can't help with the rest, but hope that's been of some use.
 

Markos72

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After a trip to Scotland at the weekend, I have a couple of queries that came about from it.

The first was at Cumbernauld on Saturday. Arriving from Falkirk Grahamston, we were held for a while outside the station before getting the route in, a few minutes late. We got a slight surprise on alighting that there was a a 318 in the turnback siding and a 320 stopped on the mainline, with a freight train approaching the Falkirk bound platform. The 320 pulled in, out of service and was attended by the "local FBI" to deal with an issue onboard before the freight continued onwards. What signalling is there available for the "mainline shunt" (I guess not a main aspect?) and would it have reversed on the mainline due to a passenger onboard? The 320 continued out of service (not shown on RTT, but it seemed like it was meant to be the train 30 mins before ours) and the 318 came out of the turnback siding to form our service.
There's a position lit signal on the main line at Cumbernauld to allow shunting from the main line next to the sidings back in to the Glasgow bound platform.
 

Railsigns

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The other was Neilston which is slightly bizarre in having 2 platforms and a headshunt where the arriving train reverses and comes back into the opposite platform. Is there any reason why this has persisted, rather than just having one platform for terminating trains? The arrival left under a subsidiary aspect under the red - is this red a fixed red?

I don't know whether this still applies, but there used to be a Ministry of Transport Requirement that "at terminal stations, a double line of railway must not, as a rule, end as a single line." (cue mention of Shepperton and South Hylton stations).

Yes; signal GC5044 is a fixed red, with a position light underneath.
 

OpsWeb

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At Cumbernauld station platform - the driver will either get a main aspect signal (towards Falkirk), a RPL with "S" for sidings or a "D" for down mainline.

The sidings and down main both have GPL signals to signal trains back towards the up line platform at Cumbernauld.

There is a small "issue" with 6 cars turning on the mainline in that the driver will need to request assurance from the Signaller in order to change ends safely (due to Scotrail 318/320's not having a gangway between each 3 car unit) due to the risk of trains moving on either in the sidings or up main.
 

Class 170101

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There is a small "issue" with 6 cars turning on the mainline in that the driver will need to request assurance from the Signaller in order to change ends safely (due to Scotrail 318/320's not having a gangway between each 3 car unit) due to the risk of trains moving on either in the sidings or up main.

I imagine train planners aren't allowed to plan trains to terminate on the Main Line as, from what you describe, there is no walking route. I am surprised ASLEF allows it under Control Arrangemnets to be honest. (Emergencies ONLY).
 

OpsWeb

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I imagine train planners aren't allowed to plan trains to terminate on the Main Line as, from what you describe, there is no walking route. I am surprised ASLEF allows it under Control Arrangemnets to be honest. (Emergencies ONLY).

It used to happen occasionally at night and was actually diagrammed that way due to a set being left in the sidings (I left last year so I'm not sure if it still goes on). I don't think the Signallers are aware of the train formation so will just turn trains wherever they can.

Normally if you were turned on the mainline, by the time you had pulled up to the "6 car stop" marker, the GPL was already off to get you back across and into the Glasgow bound platform. But it is obviously still best practice to phone and check before leaving the cab and changing ends.
 

Crossover

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There's a position lit signal on the main line at Cumbernauld to allow shunting from the main line next to the sidings back in to the Glasgow bound platform.

Would having a passenger onboard make any difference to this - the 320 naturally did have someone on it. If both are signalled under GPL though, I can't imagine it would make any difference (wonder if he was hoping for some rare track :P)

I don't know whether this still applies, but there used to be a Ministry of Transport Requirement that "at terminal stations, a double line of railway must not, as a rule, end as a single line." (cue mention of Shepperton and South Hylton stations).

Yes; signal GC5044 is a fixed red, with a position light underneath.

That makes sense - I guess the only option is a solution similar to Ilkley, Lanark or Larkhall, but then you'd be in the realms of diamonds or such which I understand are £££ to maintain

Thanks for confirming re GC5044

At Cumbernauld station platform - the driver will either get a main aspect signal (towards Falkirk), a RPL with "S" for sidings or a "D" for down mainline.

Thanks for this. However, what is an RPL? I guess *something* Position Light?
 

OpsWeb

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Would having a passenger onboard make any difference to this - the 320 naturally did have someone on it. If both are signalled under GPL though, I can't imagine it would make any difference (wonder if he was hoping for some rare track :P)



That makes sense - I guess the only option is a solution similar to Ilkley, Lanark or Larkhall, but then you'd be in the realms of diamonds or such which I understand are £££ to maintain

Thanks for confirming re GC5044



Thanks for this. However, what is an RPL? I guess *something* Position Light?

Raised Position Light
 
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