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Scottish region tokenless block

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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 11:41 #138520
Steamer
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Please can someone explain the difference between standard Tokenless Block (which appears to be a Western Region creation?) and the Scottish variant? It's defined differently in the Sectional Appendix, but I can't find anything online that explains the difference between the two. Also, is/was TB in use in other regions?
"Don't stress/ relax/ let life roll off your backs./ Except for death and paying taxes/ everything in life.../ is only for now." (Avenue Q)
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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 12:25 #138521
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Knaresborough - Poppleton is now Tokenless Block as is Maltby Colliery - Dinnington Junction (and has been for many many years) so there is definitely a presence on LNE.
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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 12:49 #138522
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Barrow North - Park South is tokenless block. I believe there are 38 signal boxes left on the mainline network which still have tokenless block. I've seen a passing reference in a document that tokenless block has been used on all the regions at some point since 1965.

jc92 in post 138521 said:
Knaresborough - Poppleton is now Tokenless Block as is Maltby Colliery - Dinnington Junction (and has been for many many years) so there is definitely a presence on LNE.
Knaresborough - Cattal & Poppleton - Hammerton is tokenless block, Cattal still works absolute block to Poppleton Hammerton.

"Passengers for New Lane, should be seated in the rear coach of the train " - Opinions are my own and not those of my employer
Last edited: 11/04/2021 at 13:53 by headshot119
Reason: Corrected AB section

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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 13:19 #138523
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headshot119 in post 138522 said:
Barrow North - Park South is tokenless block. I believe there are 38 signal boxes left on the mainline network which still have tokenless block. I've seen a passing reference in a document that tokenless block has been used on all the regions at some point since 1965.

jc92 in post 138521 said:
Knaresborough - Poppleton is now Tokenless Block as is Maltby Colliery - Dinnington Junction (and has been for many many years) so there is definitely a presence on LNE.
Knaresborough - Cattal & Poppleton - Hammerton is tokenless block, Cattal still works absolute block to Poppleton.
Absolute block Hammerton to Cattal, not Poppleton? I ommited to mention the double line section because its double.

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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 13:55 #138524
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As for the difference between the two types, Scottish region tokenless block behaves much more similarly to the electric key token systems, with mostly standard bell codes being sent between the instruments to communicate (as opposed to just the acceptance switches and offer buttons on WR tokenless) and the holding in of the bell plunger operating latching relays to effect the actual release (once again like systems with actual tokens would), the difference against normal token working being that rather than actually having a token to remove, the holding of the each end's bell plunger in turn for a length of time (along with a direction control on the block instrument at the receiving end being operated first) is latched in relays at either end to represent the section being in use. I.E. Electrically, Scottish tokenless started design by putting a normal token machine's innards in a new box then coming up with a way to latch the token out state without having an actual token, whereas WR tokenless (which is the version which spread to all other regions with time) was drawn up from scratch on new operating principles (based on the idea of not needing both signallers operating the instruments at the same time).

Other differences include that in WR tokneless the instruments know show the difference between a train accepted and section in use state (but direction is inferred from the position of your acceptance switch rather than indicated back you from the instrument), whereas in the Scottish instruments, the three indications states are "normal", "train coming from", and "train going to", with both of the latter two positions on the instrument remaining unchanged when the train enters the section (though the sending end's instrument does latch the fact a train is in section in it's relays as once the train enters the section, cancelling the block requires a co-operative rather than unilateral operation of a different cancel button on the instrument to reset everything)

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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 13:57 #138525
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Cattal - Hammerton indeed, I always get confused with the order of boxes between Knaresborough and York.

I pointed it out as your original post implied it was tokenless block all the way through, there have been double track sections worked by tokenless block.

As for the original question of the differences between Scottish Region and Western region tokenless block, I'll wait for someone like Andrew G to come along. I have a vague recollection the shunting keys are available on one, but not the other.

"Passengers for New Lane, should be seated in the rear coach of the train " - Opinions are my own and not those of my employer
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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 14:25 #138526
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Possibly a slightly stupid question, but a genuine one:

Does anybody know which Rule Book module applies to Scottish Region Tokenless Block lines?

Now you might think, well obviously it's TS5 Tokenless block regulations, but I'm genuinely curious because a quick glance and TS5 should convince you that it was clearly written with the Western Region system in mind, e.g. Regulation 2.2 "Unless you need to prevent the approach of a train, you must place the acceptance switch in the accept position in anticipation of train movements."

So is TS5 in force on the Scottish Region lines (with suitable SBSIs and interpretations and so on), or is another module used? Or does it have its own set of rules? Tempest Malice's excellent post above made me think that perhaps TS4 (Electric token block regulations) is used given the similarities.

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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 14:38 #138527
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I have a feeling ScR tokenless has (or had) it's own set of regulations (which may or may not have made it into the RSSB re-numbering of the rulebook, (because as you say it might just be covered in SBSI's wherever used)).

But all the information in my post comes from reading Forbes Alexander’s SRS paper on the system, which is mostly detailing the history and electronics of the system (It covers the operation, but more in a sequence of steps taken to operate way than a rules on their use way), and more importantly as it was written in 1989 which means it predates the RSSB re-organising of rules (I think).

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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 15:32 #138530
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Scottish Region Tokenless Block has its own set of regulations. While these used to be in booklet form they now seem to just be a word style document which new trainees need to try and get a copied when they return from Signalling School, which doesn't cover these regulations.

ScR Tokenless Block is the system which has shunting keys which are usually an Annetts Key on the release lever.

Shunting Key

The ScR instruments have evolved over time - although the functionality stayed the same with the original Mark One Instruments used on the section between Usan and Montrose South. Mark Two Instruments were initially used on the West Highland line between Crianlarich and Rannoch:

Mark Two Instrument

Mark Three instruments were initially used on the Highland Main line and latterly Mark Four instruments became more widespread.

Mark Four Instrument

For comparison here is a view of the Western Region style instrument that I have always known as BRB Tokenless Block.

BRB Tokenless Block Instrument

Finally it is worth commenting that while the instruments recently introduced on the Harrogate line are based on the Western Region/BRB system they have a Block Bell incorporated in them and Signallers send Bell Signals in the conventional way.

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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 15:52 #138531
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Andrew G in post 138530 said:
Scottish Region Tokenless Block has its own set of regulations. While these used to be in booklet form they now seem to just be a word style document which new trainees need to try and get a copied when they return from Signalling School, which doesn't cover these regulations.
The Regs were comprehensively reviewed and updated in 2014 and published as a Rule Book style module (albeit with white covers). As, incidentally, have the RETB Regs. There’s no difficulty getting hold of them, they are issued as a controlled document to those who require them*. Until last year training used to be done just in the box but there is now a ScR Tokenless conversion course for new starts from signalling school or folk who move boxes.


* I can send a .pdf copy to anyone here if you’re interested.

Last edited: 11/04/2021 at 16:00 by Ron_J
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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 15:57 #138532
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Tempest Malice in post 138527 said:
I have a feeling ScR tokenless has (or had) it's own set of regulations (which may or may not have made it into the RSSB re-numbering of the rulebook, (because as you say it might just be covered in SBSI's wherever used)).

But all the information in my post comes from reading Forbes Alexander’s SRS paper on the system, which is mostly detailing the history and electronics of the system (It covers the operation, but more in a sequence of steps taken to operate way than a rules on their use way), and more importantly as it was written in 1989 which means it predates the RSSB re-organising of rules (I think).
ScR Tokenless had its own proper set of regulations from day one. I have a copy of issue 1 which was issued to a signalman at Usan (Jack Crowe, who lived next door to us when I was a boy)

Just for the sake of completeness, ScR Tokenless Block can also be incorporated into a panel (Kilmarnock, Dyce) or a VDU workstation (Inverness Highland Workstation). The double instrument at Lugton installed as part of the dynamic loop project in 2009 was homemade by Babcock Rail using odds and ends out of the RS catalogue and looks totally different to the BR Irvine workshop instruments.

Last edited: 11/04/2021 at 16:09 by Ron_J
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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 16:32 #138533
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http://www.trainweb.org/railwest/gen/signal/tkblock.html

This site has a good description of the WR circuits and diagrams. Remarkably simple operation.

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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 16:33 #138534
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Thanks for all the replies.

On a related note, how does AB function on bi-directional lines at stations? I understand that wrong-line bell codes are available, however the Shrewsbury simulation has instruments in both directions for Platform 4, and from what I've read this appears to have been common at large stations? What's the necessity for TB if a bi-directional version of AB existed?

"Don't stress/ relax/ let life roll off your backs./ Except for death and paying taxes/ everything in life.../ is only for now." (Avenue Q)
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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 16:51 #138535
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Part of the attraction of the WR tokenless system is that it only required intermittent presence of the Signalman in the box, so in the 60s I believe the intention was for the Signalman to also work the Booking Office and platforms in addition to Signalling duties.

The AB at Shrewsbury is used in conjunction with direction levers in each box, and I believe is permissive too. It will require a lot more complicated circuitry and a lot more cable between the two boxes.

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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 17:53 #138539
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Steamer in post 138534 said:
Thanks for all the replies.

On a related note, how does AB function on bi-directional lines at stations? I understand that wrong-line bell codes are available, however the Shrewsbury simulation has instruments in both directions for Platform 4, and from what I've read this appears to have been common at large stations? What's the necessity for TB if a bi-directional version of AB existed?
As far as I'm aware, working in the wrong direction is generally authorised on bi-directional lines at stations at least when separate instruments are not provided (presumably that depends on frequency of use).

Those who may be interested may view the signal box special instructions for Banbury North and Banbury South here:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/signal_box_special_instructions

They were provided in response to an FoI request on the basis that the boxes were by now defunct.

Here you will see how working in the wrong direction was authorised for the wrong direction shunt moves through the station area, as well as how attaching/detaching was handled.

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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 18:37 #138542
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TUT in post 138539 said:
Steamer in post 138534 said:
Thanks for all the replies.

On a related note, how does AB function on bi-directional lines at stations? I understand that wrong-line bell codes are available, however the Shrewsbury simulation has instruments in both directions for Platform 4, and from what I've read this appears to have been common at large stations? What's the necessity for TB if a bi-directional version of AB existed?
As far as I'm aware, working in the wrong direction is generally authorised on bi-directional lines at stations at least when separate instruments are not provided (presumably that depends on frequency of use).

Those who may be interested may view the signal box special instructions for Banbury North and Banbury South here:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/signal_box_special_instructions

They were provided in response to an FoI request on the basis that the boxes were by now defunct.

Here you will see how working in the wrong direction was authorised for the wrong direction shunt moves through the station area, as well as how attaching/detaching was handled.
Thanks, that's some interesting reading. Interesting that the clearing points aren't defined in the SBSIs; I thought that was the natural place for them?

"Don't stress/ relax/ let life roll off your backs./ Except for death and paying taxes/ everything in life.../ is only for now." (Avenue Q)
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Scottish region tokenless block 11/04/2021 at 19:16 #138543
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Steamer in post 138534 said:
Thanks for all the replies.

On a related note, how does AB function on bi-directional lines at stations? I understand that wrong-line bell codes are available, however the Shrewsbury simulation has instruments in both directions for Platform 4, and from what I've read this appears to have been common at large stations? What's the necessity for TB if a bi-directional version of AB existed?
Interestingly, such a section did exist between Dodworth and Summer Lane signal box in barnsley. Worked AB on the single line in both directions without any direction levers, but with track circuiting provided, and locks on the block to prevent conflicting line clears. When summer Lane closed, the line became TCB with direction lever slots to Dodworth and later Penistone.

I suspect the attraction of TB, is simply that no extensive track circuiting is required to provide a safe operation. Most bidi station lines are short sections, normally fully track circuited so working with a direction lever to release the wrong line route has minimal risk. However a 5 mile section without track circuiting is purely relying on the block instrument to provide protection, compared to the safety of a token or track circuiting. TB also provides that through the specific steps required to release the instrument back to line normal.

With regards to function, I cant speak for every box, but exeter west has a direction lever for each wrong line movement. When requested, the direction lever will only release when a safe "clearing point" is set across west junction. The signals authorising wrong road movements are also locked by the block, ie 102 cant be cleared to allow a train to run up the down lines unless either the track is occupied (permissive working is authorised) OR its clear, middles direction lever has been worked and the block for that line is at TOL. The reverse arrangements apply at middle box.

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Scottish region tokenless block 05/01/2022 at 22:06 #143362
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Andrew G in post 138530 said:


ScR Tokenless Block is the system which has shunting keys which are usually an Annetts Key on the release lever.

How and when were these 'shunting key levers' actually used ?

As a simple example Dunkeld :
http://photos.signalling.org/index?/category/3648-circa_1984

Two levers (4 / 19), blue/brown with keys, and I assume the key is released when the lever is reversed.

However the yard is fully signalled so there is nowhere obvious to put the key (eg a ground frame to release).

Similarly Ballinliug had 3 - one for the yard ground frame (7) and one each for 'UP' and 'DOWN' Shunting keys (9 and 10)
http://photos.signalling.org/index?/category/3646-circa_1984

Bill

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Scottish region tokenless block 05/01/2022 at 22:41 #143365
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The shunting key is used to allow a train to pass the section signal and foul the single line for shunting purposes (e.g. to run round a train using the loop). The key is withdrawn and given to the driver as his or her authority to occupy the single line; the driver returns the key when the movement is back inside clear of the single line.

You can withdraw the shunting key either while the section is unoccupied, in which case it is possible to withdraw the keys at each end simultaneously if required, or with the block at Train Going To. That is to say you can allow a shunt to take place at your box with a train in the section heading away from you.

These days the shunting keys at each end are also withdrawn before granting a line blockage of the section and are returned when the blockage is given up, though for this purpose the key is retained by the signaller (usually being placed on the train register) rather than giveb to the COSS.

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Scottish region tokenless block 05/01/2022 at 23:23 #143367
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bill_gensheet in post 143362 said:

Similarly Ballinliug had 3 - one for the yard ground frame (7) and one each for 'UP' and 'DOWN' Shunting keys (9 and 10)
http://photos.signalling.org/index?/category/3646-circa_1984
Incidentally number 7 level at Ballinluig held a conventional Annett’s Key used to release the ground frame. This is functionally entirely different from the shunting keys, albeit more or less identical in appearance except for the engraving. I’d expect it to be a different configuration for the lock though!

I’m not sure why the ground frame was provided.

Last edited: 05/01/2022 at 23:24 by Ron_J
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Scottish region tokenless block 06/01/2022 at 13:32 #143378
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Thanks again Ron.

The older Ballinliug diagrams (1946 on SRS site) show the yard as signalled from south box, so presume it was easier to convert to GF than go to any lengths to put new locking into north. May not even have been possible with space for levers or distance to points.

North was by far the smaller box, little more than the north end points and the level crossing. Most likely kept for the crossing (gone by 1984), although looking ahead south would have to be demolished for the new A9 - as well as the yard.

Would many / any of the fixed signals be used when shunting, or would that be done by flag waving ? Particularly at the south end it is a long way from the box.

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Scottish region tokenless block 06/01/2022 at 17:40 #143381
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bill_gensheet in post 143378 said:
Would many / any of the fixed signals be used when shunting, or would that be done by flag waving ? Particularly at the south end it is a long way from the box.
The section signal(s) is/are locked at danger by the shunting key being withdrawn so verbal permission for the movement is given when the key is handed over to the driver (though I can think of one box where the SBSIs specify that the train is required to pass the section signal and draw up to the box first, obviously fouling the single line in the process, so that the key can be handed over). For a rounding move at a passing loop you'll need to withdraw the keys for both directions and depending on the layout this might require a fair amount of walking for the signaller, since the driver is only supposed to be given one key at a time......

One curiosity of the ScR Tokenless Block is that although the section signal(s) is/are LCR, it is not a one time pull as per the Welwyn on AB lines; you can pull and put back the section signal as many times as you like as long as you have a green up on the block. Then, of course, there's 'phantom colours' which require a 'fly lang plunge' to extinguish.

It's a really interesting system, a pleasure to work and more or less foolproof.

Last edited: 06/01/2022 at 18:13 by Ron_J
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Scottish region tokenless block 06/01/2022 at 19:28 #143384
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Ron_J in post 143381 said:
[quote=bill_gensheet;post=143378]
*snip*

One curiosity of the ScR Tokenless Block is that although the section signal(s) is/are LCR, it is not a one time pull as per the Welwyn on AB lines; you can pull and put back the section signal as many times as you like as long as you have a green up on the block. Then, of course, there's 'phantom colours' which require a 'fly lang plunge' to extinguish.

*snip*
Not all section signals on AB are one pull in fairness, there's certainly quite a lot on the LNW area that are "one train" rather than "one pull". Not sure if it was a thing on other regions.

"Passengers for New Lane, should be seated in the rear coach of the train " - Opinions are my own and not those of my employer
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Scottish region tokenless block 06/01/2022 at 20:09 #143385
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headshot119 in post 143384 said:
Not all section signals on AB are one pull in fairness, there's certainly quite a lot on the LNW area that are "one train" rather than "one pull". Not sure if it was a thing on other regions.
That's very interesting; I've certainly never come across it in Scotland. Just goes to show your mind tends to perceive whatever you 'grew up' with as being how things are everywhere.

Last edited: 06/01/2022 at 21:08 by Ron_J
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Scottish region tokenless block 07/01/2022 at 09:49 #143396
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Ron_J in post 143385 said:
headshot119 in post 143384 said:
Not all section signals on AB are one pull in fairness, there's certainly quite a lot on the LNW area that are "one train" rather than "one pull". Not sure if it was a thing on other regions.
That's very interesting; I've certainly never come across it in Scotland. Just goes to show your mind tends to perceive whatever you 'grew up' with as being how things are everywhere.
I've an idea 'one train' was the norm where there's a track circuit in advance of the starter, which makes better sense especially if there's a wire adjuster on the starter.

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