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1979-1980 timetable

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1979-1980 timetable 04/10/2017 at 00:29 #102030
P*Funk
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So I'm coming back to this thread to propose a completely different kind of question, namely the problem of efficiently navigating the traffic of the timetable with more foresight than just reacting to whats spawning in real time. Basically I'm asking whats a realistic manner to organize yourself for this kind of intense station based timetable and how would the real guys have been prepared for this? I understand the concept of the simplifier but there surely would have been far more prep work done by these guys to handle the flow.

What kind of organization or material would you have on hand for this and what beyond simply repetitious familiarity with the proceedings would make you better at dealing with it? There's also the point that there are many movements that don't appear on the simplifier because they lack a booked time and run as necessary to complete the timed movements. Do you experts here do anything more than just do the TT enough times to know what to expect? My own process has started to become pausing every few hours to go through the simplifier, find the major station moves and stick up a manifest of every headcode involved so I can refer to it and sort of be ready for it.

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1979-1980 timetable 04/10/2017 at 09:01 #102033
kbarber
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P*Funk in post 102030 said:
So I'm coming back to this thread to propose a completely different kind of question, namely the problem of efficiently navigating the traffic of the timetable with more foresight than just reacting to whats spawning in real time. Basically I'm asking whats a realistic manner to organize yourself for this kind of intense station based timetable and how would the real guys have been prepared for this? I understand the concept of the simplifier but there surely would have been far more prep work done by these guys to handle the flow.

What kind of organization or material would you have on hand for this and what beyond simply repetitious familiarity with the proceedings would make you better at dealing with it? There's also the point that there are many movements that don't appear on the simplifier because they lack a booked time and run as necessary to complete the timed movements. Do you experts here do anything more than just do the TT enough times to know what to expect? My own process has started to become pausing every few hours to go through the simplifier, find the major station moves and stick up a manifest of every headcode involved so I can refer to it and sort of be ready for it.
I think 'repetitious familiarity' is the main tool signalmen make use of in anything more than the smallest boxes.

First is learning the frame or panel. What levers do what (if you're on a frame) and what the locking is. On a panel, what moves are available, what locks what (mainly it's pretty obvious but many places have the odd quirk that simply has to be learned). That phase also includes things like learning the approach locking (what's comprehensive - ie a route that will drop out, if there's no train near enough to be affected, as soon as you pull up - and what isn't - which means you're locked in to the timer as soon as the signal clears - and how long the timeout is in each case). And how signals are grouped for lamp failure alarms and such. Nowadays, with fewer & fewer small mechanical boxes around, that will also include learning some pretty basic principles of signalling.

There's a sort of intermediate stage of learning the layout - loop & platform lengths, how to route trains for the various destinations (another favourite area for quirks, with sometimes an apparently obvious route unavailable and needing a different approach) and what local preferences are for platforming or looping trains.

Then there's the traffic. I don't know if it's still the case, but in my day the expectation was that we'd know the routing (including alternatives, where appliccable) for every regular traffic without having to refer to any kind of documentation. That certainly comes as a result of repetitious familiarity and very little else.

Beyond that it would be a case of reading special traffic notices to be aware what was running and where/when it should go. And - just to be helpful - there could be 2 or 3 different STNs valid at the same time, with extra/amended traffic in one not appearing in another. Not to mention the last-minute notices that gave details for just one train. Nor the even-more-last-minute arrangements made by Control on the day and (usually) telephoned out to boxes concerned.

Some larger powerboxes used to have 'daily orders' prepared by a clerk in the Area Manager's Office (that dates me, doesn't it?) giving details of everything that was booked to be happening on a train-by-train basis.

But of course no plan survives contact with the enemy so, with all that learning and familiarity, there was invariably a good deal of reacting to real-time spawning, either at the behest of the signalbox supervisor (AKA Regulator) or simply by the signalman replanning the whole thing in his head as he went along, always using the foresight of good box knowledge to work in a way that would avoid further problems even if he couldn't do much to improve the situation within his own area of control. (And, of course, communicating the meanwhile with platform and yard staff, shunters, traincrew depots and the Control, either in person or through one of the 'back row' staff who was there specifically to do the telephone work.)

Last edited: 04/10/2017 at 09:03 by kbarber
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1979-1980 timetable 04/10/2017 at 12:59 #102040
P*Funk
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Very informative, thank you.
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