Thursday, 23 June 2011

Traffic Movements at Watery Lane, 1962 (Part 1)

There's an introduction to Watery Lane box (with a signalling diagram) here.

(A view of Watery Lane after conversion to a Shunting Frame and with the original concrete access steps replaced by steel stairs but still retaining the rather forbidding appearance of 'A.R.P.' boxes)

Watery Lane Friday 12th October 1962

An Autumn Evening at Watery Lane.

(1) The Light Engine on the Up is a hustling 'Class 8'. It works past every day, going to Albion to work a train.
(2) The Heysham, '1L40' is offered on the Down Main, followed by 'Is Line Clear?' and 'Section' for the Stoke Parcels on the Loop. Just after I pull off, Dudleyport cancels the express and immediately re-offers it. So we have to put the Down Home back, which now controls the block and cancel the train forward to Tipton. Tipton's pegs come off smartly after the 'Train Approach' and the Sulzer gets all the distants as it rushes Northwards.
(3) The Parcels is turned out, with a 'Black 5' on the front end.
(4) The Local rattles past on the Up in the gathering gloom, its lights casting yellow pools of brightness on the sleepers as it passes, heading to the City.
(5) The next Up express is '1G32' from Liverpool, triumphantly steam-hauled.
(6) Another Up Local follows hard on the heels of the Liverpool.
(7) The Engine and Brake on the Up is 'T76'. This train now starts from Tipton since Monument Lane was dieselised, I am informed. The little 2-6-0 backs its brake van onto the Back Road on the Down, where its train has already been made up by 'T23'. One some evenings, the engine runs round its train via the Down Main but, tonight, since there are only four vehicles, the engine runs round in the sidings and is soon departing at the Tipton end, tender first for Bushbury about 20 minutes behind the Down Local.
(8). '1G33' from Manchester storms up the Stour Valley to Birmingham.
(9). The Manchester is followed by 'T90' which stops for eight minutes to pick up 'two off four'
[two wagons off four road, again positioned by 'T23'].
(10) As the freight departs, '3G02' is offered - a 'Black 5' hauling one Southern Region bogie parcels van. I'd spotted this van standing on the Middle Road at High Level, earlier in the evening.
(11) Soon afterwards, the Down Euston is offered and the train roars past in a cloud of steam, with 46240 in crimson livery.
(12) A local rattles past on the down.
(13) '1G37' from Manchester passes on the Up.
(14) Next, '1D75' approaches, hauled by a 'Type 4', en route for Chester and Holyhead.
(15) Dudleyport 'blocks back' on the Up Main as he runs the earlier parcels train off the branch and into the Up Platform.
(16) The Carnforth Parcels roars by in the darkness, with the rapid click-click of the 4-wheel vehicles playing a staccato beat on the crossings.
(17) 'T80' comes to a stand on the Up. The 'Shunt' arm on the Up Home is cleared but the whole train, with the brake van, draws forward and backs 'inside'. Of course, this necessitate a 'double shunt' to drop off the brake, pick up and back up. When the train does come out, he heads off for Dudley Port, without asking for any 'rightaway' from the box, since he was departing from the sidings. Fortunately, this move had been expected and a 'Line Clear' had already been obtained. All this to pick up one wagon!
(18) A Light Engine is immediately offered. 46240 roars past for a second time - turned since disposing of the stock from '1G70'.

By the way, the New-Style Train Registers have been in use in boxes in this area for about two months now. These are slightly smaller than the old ones and now have hard covers. But pages are no longer numbered. The 'UP' Line now appears on what used to be the 'DOWN' side and vice-versa. Very confusing! A column is now provided for 'TRAIN APPROACH' in the logical place, in between 'LINE CLEAR' and 'SECTION'. The column for 'LINE' (e.g. Branch, Loop) now appears halfway accross each page, in between 'REAR' and 'ADVANCE' sections. However, no columns are provided for blocking back, as serious an omission as not numbering pages.