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Welcome to signalling down-under! Commissioned in stages during 1982/83, Strathfield Signal Box consolidated 7 busy boxes in Sydney’s inner west into a single Westinghouse split style entrance-exit system, watching over the area until its closure on July 8, 2017.
This sim attempts to recreate the operation of Strathfield as closely as we can get it. Locals may note that some artistic license has been used in order to make the sim as enjoyable as possible.
The sim contains 6 workstations and is a fast-paced environment. Molding SimSig to work with NSW signalling principles has been a fascinating and engaging challenge. We do it a little different than UK players will be used to, but you’ll pick it up quickly.
TORR off/ARS off: No automation is provided. Only Olympic Park panel was equipped with train operated route-release. Signallers must manually cancel all other routes once the train has passed the signal. The signal stem will flash to indicate a ‘spent’ route that you can safely cancel. Make good use of auto working on controlled signals, explained later in this document.
TORR on/ARS off: Routes will automatically cancel after trains, but there is still no automatic route setting at your junctions.
TORR on/ARS on: Full ARS is provided for all trains on every signal except those associated with Flemington Car Sidings. This is recommended for solo play.
Note the ‘ARS Junctions’ as per the real box are not yet available. This will be considered for a future update.
2013 era: The full Ashfield junction is available, and freight trains from the north (Epping) all must cross to the Down Relief line at Concord West.
2017 era: The new Up Relief and the dive at North Strathfield simplifies freight working. Most crossovers at Ashfield have been removed.
The default timetable is designed for use with the 2017 era.
Since the beginnings of colour light signalling in the 1920s, Sydney has developed its own unique form of route signalling, known as Double Light Colour Light. It is quite different to the UK multiple aspect signalling setup.
Automatic signals are denoted by the upper aspect being vertically offset from the lower aspect.
For a comparison of the aspects used in NSW DLCL vs UK signalling click click here
See the Links section at the end of this document for more information.
Signal spacing is very close throughout the area. Some signals between Ashfield and Sydney are less than 250 metres apart. Players will note that most routes lock converging junctions beyond the next signal, or even 2 signals away.
The ‘Low Speed’ aspect, two reds over a smaller green, may allow trains to close up at restricted speed when the line is clear to the next signal but the full overlap is still occupied.
All main line ‘straight’ routes can be placed into auto working mode, as well as selected turnout routes. Automatic operation is grouped on a per line, per panel basis.
Adjacent to each line is a white button, numbered corresponding to a signal in that group. Pressing the button (left-click) engages auto working for all signals in that group which currently have a valid route set. Next to each signal is a white light which becomes lit when that signal is in auto.
If a route is not valid for auto working, such as a turnout onto a goods line, that signal will ignore your auto working request.
You can engage auto working on any combination of signals in a group.
Cancelling an individual route will disengage auto working for that signal only, not the whole group.
Disengage auto working for the entire group at once by 'pulling' (right-clicking) the group auto button.
All ‘new’ work, done after the original commissioning of the box (such as Olympic Park panel and the Homebush Bay lines), come provided with individual A buttons next to the signal.
Unlike some UK simulations, NSW interlockings never automatically select a ‘shunt’ or ‘calling-on’ route to allow a train onto occupied track.
If you wish to set a shunt route from one main running signal to another main running signal, you must click the desired entrance signal, then use the ‘Shunt/CO’ button in the menu/clock window, then click the exit signal.
Selected shunt signals will clear immediately, others require the first track circuit beyond the entrance signal unoccupied.
Most junctions set points in a sequence to ensure safe overlaps are maintained in event of a SPAD. You should be mindful of the order in which you set your signals at flat junctions, as you can easily lock yourself up and be forced to wait for a time release on the points.
Some home signals are not equipped with time releases for the points ahead, these traps are listed in the panel notes.
Ashfield panel consists of a six-track fringe with Sydney Signal Box to the east, and looks after all traffic between Newtown and Burwood stations. See the links section for a network map.
Note the available platforms on each line. All-stations traffic must use the Local lines.
You can telephone Sydney Box and ask them to block lines. They will divert to the adjacent line if they can.
- Despite the presence of a catch point, signalling a train into Ashfield P4 will drive 522 points reverse in overlap.
- The up and down main lines at Ashfield are equipped with the full six-aspect sequence. Be mindful if you need to change a route.
- As of late 2017 , the remaining crossovers between the Main and Suburban lines shown on the panel have been booked out of use and clipped/locked as well.
- Contrary to how it appears on the panel, the Down Suburban platform at Lewisham is no longer in use, so trains diverted from the Down Local will not call there.
This is the major station of the simulation, and the layout is unchanged since the North Suburban flyovers were built in 1927. All trains on all lines will call at Strathfield, with the exception of a small number of express services during peak.
You will work closely with the Homebush signaller to keep trains moving at the west end of the station. Especially note down main signal 137, which belongs to Homebush, but up main signals 230 and 236, which belong to you.
This panel has limited scope for rerouting or diverting trains. You depend on other signallers putting trains on the correct lines. Be aware of any northbound traffic diverted to the Down Local line, as you cannot go north from platform 8.
Platforms 1 and 2 are signalled for departures from both ends and can be used to turn up trains back in the down direction. If you are turning trains back, remember that advancing your next train too close to the platform may create a ‘mexican standoff’ situation.
- Trains cannot be routed from 138 (up north main) to 128 (up main) and then back to Platform 1 - the interlocking will reject your request for this route. Similarly, you cannot go from the Down Suburban, over to the Down Local and then back via signal 115.
- Signal 128 is located on a gantry directly above 537 crossover. Both routes from 128 require 537 points normal.
- 535 points at the Homebush end of Platform 6 self-normalise once a train has been sent north, due to the steep grade of the flyover. The true method, where only 535A self-normalise causing the points to appear ‘in transit’ until the train is clear of 139, is not currently simulated and may be included in a future update.
Homebush is the busiest panel in the box. You are responsible for the main western corridor as it converges from six to four tracks, and also the northbound route through North Strathfield and Concord West stations.
You are additionally responsible for the bidirectional Homebush Loop goods line, through which all freight to and from the north must pass.
This is a fast and busy panel which requires constant situational awareness. Check each timetable as the train approaches, plan your moves and have your signals set in advance wherever possible to avoid delays.
- No time release is provided for 606 points at Homebush if a train is signalled into P4. After 60 seconds occupancy of the platform track it releases 600/601/602 but you will not get 606.
- There is no route from Homebush P5 to the Up Local.
- From signal 262 on the Up Suburban, there are no main routes to platforms 3 and 5. Use shunt signals. However, main routes are available into platforms 6 and 7. Shunting to platform 3 requires you to stand the train at signal 262 until a time release is gained.
- A limited time release is available when a train is standing at signal 239 on the down suburban. The interlocking will release 606 points back to you, but require 601 reverse before a train can be signalled from 244 to the Up Local.
- No time release is provided for 600/601 points if a train is standing at down main signal 237.
- 603A and 604 points near Homebush P6 are separate point blades on an 'independently moving switch' arrangement. When both 603 and 604 are in the normal position, it forms a wide of gauge trap to derail any train that passes signal 248 without authority.
- Signal 174 on the Up Relief at North Strathfield will not clear until next signal 166 is showing any proceed aspect (2017 era).
- Signal RS 8 at Rhodes has a ‘dual control’ function for the route towards 194 on the Up Main. You must grant the slot before Epping Panel can send a train to you on the Up Main. The slot does not prevent Epping putting a train on the Up Relief.
- You may telephone Epping Panel if you need to block the Up Relief. This may become necessary when you are managing busy or delayed freight traffic.
- North Strathfield down sidings are not wired for electric traction.
Flemington Car Sidings is a large depot which handles both suburban and intercity sets.
The shunter will ring each departing train out to you, and you are required to ask the shunter where they would like inbound trains.
There is no train describer provided inside the shed area. Arriving trains will lose their descriptions as soon as they step off the main line. 20-year veterans keep a pen and paper handy when operating the car sidings, so a scratch pad is provided for you.
Departing trains may have their descriptions interposed at signal 329 towards Lidcombe, and signal 308 towards Strathfield. Note that in order for a TD at 308 to step out to the main line, signal 328 must also be showing a proceed indication before the train passes 308.
Trains entering from ‘Z’ road or heading towards the Goods Lines have no associated departure berths and you will need to interpose at the next main signal.
Departing trains towards Lidcombe will need to reverse in the Shunting Neck, Arrival Road, or Departure Road. You may choose which road to use.
There is a wash plant on number 25 road. Only one train at a time should be admitted to the wash road. Some inbound trains will be booked to wash before stabling. Drivers will advise when the wash is complete. At this point they can be routed back out into the Neck/Arrival/Departure roads, and you can ask the shunter for a destination.
The Up and Down Flemington Goods lines are fully bidirectional. Some extremely long freight trains run through the area, up to 1500 metres, which will not fit clear on any line in your area. Check the lengths section later in this document for more information.
In addition, a lot of freight traffic will stop for crew relief between signals 301/307 and 278/280.
It is possible to have two trains facing each other on the single line. Communicate with the Homebush signaller to avoid a costly error.
- If both the Shunting Neck and Arrival Road are occupied, shunt signal 325 on the Arrival Road will not clear until the track circuit immediately in rear of the signal becomes occupied.
- 8 car V sets do not fit in the Neck or Arrival roads. These trains will reverse behind signal 325 automatically, if routed that way. Alternatively you may use the Departure road to reverse them.
- Up main signal 390 belongs to Lidcombe panel, however you need it at stop to use 700 points. In real life, the Flemington signaller could cancel this signal when required under a “you pulled it, you reset it” arrangement.
- There is no time release provided on 657 points when a train is standing on the up main at signal 382. Ensure you do not have to dispatch a train towards Lidcombe before you allow an inbound train to get too close. Especially note that ARS, if enabled, will route an inbound train up to this signal and might lock you up. Be aware of shed trains in your area and apply reminders to keep the ARS under control.
Lidcombe fringes with no less than five adjacent signallers. All freight movements in the area involve Lidcombe panel at some point.
‘Lidcombe Auto Turnback’ cannot be used while ARS is engaged. It only sets signals 412 and 410 into platform 5, then when the platform becomes occupied, will set signal 411 immediately. Auto Turnback is not a full ARS function and will not check whether or not the next train is actually booked into P5.
- No time release of points in the overlap is provided for trains standing at signals 395, 407, 412 and 427. The overlap beyond signal 417 will not release if the train is longer than the platform.
- If 704 points are locked reverse, a train can still be signalled into platform 1, with an approach control applied to up main signal 404.
- Auto working buttons 406 and 417 apply to signals on both the Suburban and Main South lines.
This is a very straightforward panel, controlling the area commissioned in the lead up to the 2000 Olympic Games. Trains are received from Lidcombe and Flemington and merge onto the Down Homebush Bay Loop at Flemington North Junction, proceed onto either the Inner or Outer platform roads at Olympic Park, then return.
Direct services Sydney Terminal to Olympic Park and return operate during special events.
Olympic Park station has platforms on both sides of the train to assist with crowd control during major events.
Occasionally trains are booked for a points clean in the North Junction area, usually at night. 863 points at North Junction are locked normal until an approaching train has been timed to a stand at the signal, and any routes in rear of the train have been cancelled.
|North Strathfield - Concord West||Length|
|Up Relief to Signal 174 (2017 Era)||2138m|
|Down Relief clear of 581pts to 184||881m|
|Down Relief clear of 581pts to 168||1748m|
|Down Relief clear 191 to 168||1650m|
|North Strathfield Down Sidings No.1||194m|
|North Strathfield Down Sidings No.2 & 3||168m|
|Flemington Car Sidings|
|Arrival Road to 319||168m|
|Arrival Road to 323||197m|
|Departure Road 323 to 328||295m|
|Flemington Goods Junction|
|Up Flemington Goods 335 to 278||1338m|
|Up Flemington Goods 307 to 278||823m|
|Down Flemington Goods 280 (clear 635pts) to 301||827m|
|Down Flemington Goods 280 to 331||1342m|
|Down Flemington Goods 280 to Up Enfield East Fork Sig 372||1902m|
Use Ctrl+F to locate individual signal numbers.
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Last edited by Jan on 24/01/2019 at 21:03