Thursday, 5 January 2012

Traffic Movements at Tipton Station box, 1965

There's an introduction to Tipton Station box as it was when I first knew it here.
There's a more detailed description of the modernised box in preparation.
There's a description of the box after demoting to a Shunting Frame here .

On Saturday 10th July 1965 I started the day at Tipton Curve Junction (traffic movements described here) and moved on to Tipton Station Box later in the morning. It was a rather difficult time for the signalling staff in the area since redundancy notices had been issued in connection with the commissioning of Wolverhampton Power Box, scheduled for August 1965.

Tipton Station box, Saturday 10th July 1965

Externally, the signal box was largely unchanged but inside it had received all the modern electrical safety refinements: continuous Track Circuiting, Illuminated Diagram and full Block Control with 'Welwyn' releases. This was only to last until August 1965, when the box was demoted to a 'Shunting Frame' following the commissioning of Wolverhampton Power Box.

As we arrive at 10:48 (the 24-hour clock was introduced with the summer timetables), the '4-1' from Princes End comes to a stand at our branch Home Signal. After the Up express, we run the freight off the branch and a light engine for Albion follows from Princes End. He passes at 11:03, a Class 8 (perhaps to work the Albion Tanks?).

Then weird things start to happen:-
1) The signal light repeater buzzes but, when we check, it's a 'spare' position causing the fault.
2) The Up colour light Distant 35a buzzes - the signal reports having gone to 'Standby'.
3) The Up Inner Distant Repeater 35 b/c goes to 'Wrong'.
Nobody knows what's going on.

On the Down we 'take on' 1S61 at 11:30 but when we try to offer the train forward, we discover that all bell and block communication with Bloomfield Junction has been severed! At least the 'phone still works, so 1S61 goes down 'on the phone', no block under Regulation 25 a (iii).

First the signal light repeater is restored, then the block comes back, then the colour light goes back to 'Normal'. That only leaves the distant repeater and that is restored in time for us to take the Up Local. We initially refuse the '1-4' offered from Princes End until the local has departed. The freight comes to a stand at our Up Branch home at 12:03. Meanwhile, the Up colour light distant fails again, restored at 12:20. We advised Bloomfield and managed to run the Up express. The Train Register shows we cancelled the express forward to Watery Lane and re-offered it. I don't know whether it was 'operator trouble' now the Up Starter is tied to the Block.

Tipton Curve opened (for just 9 minutes!) at 13:35, presumably to have a train onto or off the North Stour. Then Bloomfield Junction closed so we'd be working through to Spring Vale Sidings.

The Up Light Engine arriving at 14:58 was turned through the crossover road and despatched on the Down Branch. At this time on a Saturday, this engine would almost certainly have previously worked a train to Spring Vale and be scuttling back to Bescot for disposal.

The final entry on the Down is a Local accepted at 16:14. It amused me to 'send it on', wind the gates, pull off and then dash across to the Down platform to travel on the train back to Wolverhampton.

A copy of the Train Register entries is below:-