Sos Signals - Help Needed

Discussion in 'PC Discussion' started by Monder, Jun 1, 2022.

  1. Monder

    Monder Well-Known Member

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    While there is a tutorial regarding the signals in Spirit of Steam L-C, as an absolute rookie in British signals I still feel like I have missed some information. From the tutorial, I get the idea of distant and home signals. That's similar to many other railroads, but...
    [​IMG]
    ...can someone please tell me what signal is mine? 4 tracks and 8 signals. When I passed this on a train, supposedly mine was the one on the left side. Sometimes the signals are on the left side of the track, sometimes on the right and as I play without aspects of the signals on the HUD, it becomes a guessing work if the green light is mine or someone else's. Can somebody give me a hint or something on how to identify the signal I am supposed to look at?
     
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  2. Clumsy Pacer

    Clumsy Pacer Well-Known Member

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    I think it may break down like this, without seeing a trackplan of the area though, I'm not sure.
    upload_2022-6-1_16-10-44.png
     
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  3. paulc

    paulc Well-Known Member

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    Monder I feel your pain! I'm just busy learning how to drive & not run out of steam, it's not obvious at all which signal is meant for you, I'm just using the HUD for now, I suppose route knowledge will be key here to knowing what's what.
     
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  4. gazz292

    gazz292 Well-Known Member

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    The uk used/uses route based signalling (Europe uses speed based signalling, in the UK it's upto the driver to know the all speed limits on the route for all possible tracks he may go down)

    so depending on which route you are to take depends which set of signals applies to you, the signals on the highest post are usually the straight on (high speed) route, and the lower ones are for the diverging routes.

    And the round disc signals at track level are shunting signals (called 'Dummies' by railway men), here i imagine they would be to signal trains reversing into the sidings from the main line.

    This site is pretty in depth : http://igg.org.uk/rail/3-sigs/sigs-1.htm
    it's actually a model railway site, but some people operate their model railways exactly as the real thing is operated, so it covers almost everything about semaphore signals :

    A picture from that site below might help with the kind of junction in question.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2022
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  5. Monder

    Monder Well-Known Member

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    So I also need knowledge on what tracks are used in a specific direction as their signals might be basically wherever, but still relate to them (shown as the Up Fast line has all signals above different tracks)?
     
  6. chieflongshin

    chieflongshin Well-Known Member

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    edit
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2022
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  7. gazz292

    gazz292 Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much.

    There is a logic to the signals... but it's learning that logic.

    a british train driver had to sign a legally binding piece of paper to say he knew the route before he was allowed to drive it... by that he knew the location of every signal along it, every set of points, every permanent speed limit, every signal box, every route he could be sent down, every platform he could be routed into and so on.

    He'd also know the points along the route where he'd have to be at a certain cut off / regulator position and speed to know he'd make it over the gradient, where to begin braking for the various restrictions,
    When stopping at a station he'd have a landmark he used to stop along side to be sure all the coaches were in the platforms,

    same with getting water, he'd have something like a bench, lamp post, broken brick on the platform edge that he'd line up a certain part of the loco up with, so the water crane would swing round correctly and the bag would fit down the tender filler hole perfectly.

    As he got more experienced he'd know exactly where he was along the route in the dark, every over bridge makes a slightly different sound and duration, every set of points clatters slightly differently, and the engine lurches in a particular way over the track in different locations.



    When diesels came in, the driver also had to sign for the various loco's he was passed out to drive, yet he could be given any steam engine, even one from out of the area he'd never seen before with say a steam operated reverser, and be expected to just get on it and drive... and be on time of course.

    any lateness was questioned with another official bit of paper asking why he was late... as if he did it on purpose.
     
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  8. jolojonasgames

    jolojonasgames Well-Known Member

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    Train driving still requires tonnes of route knowledge, and I don't mean any discredit to modern train drivers, but back then it was more of an art then a skill. Drivers were just so in tune with their locomotives and their routes, it's just amazing.
     
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  9. gazz292

    gazz292 Well-Known Member

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    i think this is from the book 'saltley firing days'

    2 steam loco's went in for a major overhaul at the same time,

    When they came back their drivers complained that despite the loco numbers being correct, they definitely did not get their original loco's back,
    They knew their loco's that well that they could tell so many things were different about how the loco responded, noises it made, how the controls felt and so on.
    The loco's numbers would have been taken off both when they were stripped down, so they must have accidentally had the numbers swapped when they were put back on.



    There are stories of drivers letting the fireman drive the train on a late night run (nowt wrong with that, it's how the firemen learn to become drivers)
    But one night the driver went to sleep... and woke up at the sighting point of every main signal, looked out to check what aspect it was showing, and upon seeing green then went back to sleep.
     
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  10. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    All right, already ran into a problem: in the signaling tutorial, I'm happily steaming along, getting the beast up to nearly 40 mph, when I pass a Clear and the HUD tells me (yes, I'm a baby) that the next signal is a Danger, only 300 yards away! NO distant at Caution; no warning. Full brakes, pouring sand, still SPADded.

    Was two-aspect signaling merely optional in the 50s?
     
  11. DTG Jamie

    DTG Jamie Staff Member

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    Will see if we can do a semaphore signalling stream on what it all means and what signal gantry's mean for each track, if people would like that?
     
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  12. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    Yes, definitely.

    But I still suspect that there is a missing distant signal between Ditton Junction and Speke.
     
  13. jayarrbee36

    jayarrbee36 Member

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    Sounds good to me.
     
  14. terry english

    terry english Member

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    Wonderful idea.
     
  15. paul.pavlinovich

    paul.pavlinovich Well-Known Member

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    Even on our single track railway with a selection of passing points the signalling is a nightmare until you've learnt it. Just for added challenge the signalling on this route realistically covers several different types and we get the fun of learning them all. I've started driving HUD free between Runcorn and Liverpool but am still learning most of the rest of the line. It takes a long time.

    Paul
     
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  16. Winzarten

    Winzarten Well-Known Member

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    This is the exact same reason I play SOS with signal aspect on, as it happened to me several times that I was chugging along, and without any distant signal, a junction signal was at danger.

    And yes, I know that distant signals can cover multiple signals, but this is for signals within a station. You have a distant signal before you enter station region, and a distant at danger means that any signal between ther and the station exit signal can be at danger...

    But this is different, it is on the main line, before you come to a distant signal.. and I feel this is becasue how DTG does routing for slow freights, which is not protopical for the era. Basically you have a waypoint mid way between stations "Go via Slow Line" and only once you reach this waypoint the dispatcher tries to reserver the next part of track for you. But if there is already a train reserved for some junction , that doesn't have distant signal, ahead, you get red signal at that junction.

    I doubt that IRL a dispatcher would clear you from a station, if he knew you will get a red a signal at a junction without distant signals (and he knows, becasue he knows how far the route is built). Like that is a disaster waiting to happend. If he would dispatch you then you would atleasat give you a verbal warning that you will be stopped at such distance marker....

    This is the same way how they do it for more modern track aswell, but there you have either 3 or 4 state signals (UK, US routes), or a distant signal at significant distance (Germany routes).
     
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  17. bescot

    bescot Well-Known Member

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    From what I've seen the Speke distant is a semaphore on the right hand side of the track if it's the one before the big gantry signal prior to Speke Jn?

    However it's been mentioned elsewhere that the signals (2 aspect distant and 3 aspect colour light) between Runcorn and Ditton Jn station are green when the first home signal (3 way junction signal) is at danger or set to a diverting (20mph) route - this is definitely a bug.

    I also notice that the distant signals on the 90mph Crewe-Weaver Jn section are 0.8mile or less from the home signals. You'd never stop from 75mph let alone from 90mph even with a full brake application, so something is off here.
     
  18. ARuscoe

    ARuscoe Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    OK, this is "from what I understand" watching and reading a few documents on it.

    As always "horizontal" means danger so currently everything on that signal gantry is at danger (or stop).
    If one of the red ones moves to 45 degrees (can be pointing up or down) then this is a proceed aspect for that line onto the applicable route (see text further down)
    For the warning signals (the yellow ones) these would indicate what the next signal is doing. Out in the sticks (ie out in the country) the "home signal" would cover multiple upcoming signals, any of which could be at danger whether it's the next signal or the last signal in that control area (this could be several signals long). As others above have said drivers would be expected to know what signal applies to what length of track...

    Anyway to this specific instance.
    The blocks as separated above are correct.

    The bottom three (white circles, red lines, currently horizontal) are shunt signals. A train would run towards you until the rear has passed these signals then one of them would rotate to 45 degrees indicating clearance to shunt into the yard. The signals are read top to bottom, meaning left to right (so top signal means left most shunt line, middle means next left etc)

    The left block apply to the left hand running line going away from you.
    • The tallest signal applies to the main route from that line so in this left hand blocks case that's "straight on" (not turning right or left basically)
    • The lower signal to the right would mean moving over the the right at the next set of switches (probably onto the fast lines)
    • The lower signal to the left would mean moving over the the left at the next set of switches (probably into the yard reception)
    • The smaller set far left are shunting signals or signalling onto a much more minor route (in this case into a yard). If you look you will see there are two minor aspect signals, and these again read top to bottom, left to right. There IS no danger signal because you're expected to drive very slowly, being able to stop within the distance you can see)
    Similarly for the top right hand block:
    • The tallest signal applies to the main route from that line so in this right hand blocks case that's "straight on" (not turning left basically)
    • The lower signal to the left of the tallest one would mean moving over the the left at the next set of switches (onto the slow line)
    • The lower signal to the left again would mean moving over to the far left at the next set of switches (probably into the yard reception)
    • The smaller set far left are shunting signals or signalling onto a much more minor route (in this case into a yard). If you look you will see there are two minor aspect signals, and these again read top to bottom, left to right. There IS no danger signal because you're expected to drive very slowly, being able to stop within the distance you can see)
    So from this you would expect :
    • The two main lines to go straight on
    • A switch between the slow line (left most) and the fast line (second from right)
    • A switch between the fast line and the slow line
    • A switch between the slow line into the yard reception line
    • Probably a switch soon after that into the minor lines in the yard rather than the reception
    Next question is "What am I supposed to do?!?"
    If the major signal (tallest one for your line) is clear and the danger aspect is also clear, go at line speed.
    If the major signal is blocked but another "major route" is cleared then proceed as indicated (remembering switch speed limits, and danger aspects on that route)
    If the either of the minor signals are cleared proceed at appropriate speed for that minor route (drive very slowly, being able to stop within the distance you can see)

    Obviously if all signals are at danger then stop until advised otherwise, remembering if you're cleared for the next section you may still be at caution unless both red and yellow signals clear

    Hope that's not muddied the waters or hard to understand (and that I've got it right!)
     
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  19. dangerousdave

    dangerousdave Well-Known Member

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    Signals are usually on the left or directly above the track. It looks confusing because there are 4 lines but keep in mind 2 of those lines are heading in the opposite direction so the signals don't apply to them. British semaphore signals are a nightmare. The best way is to learn the basics then drive. The more you spad the more you learn. British semaphores varied depending on what part of the country you was in, they was all different! If dtg release another route else where, you may find yourself learning it all again.
     
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  20. bescot

    bescot Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely, GWR especially just plonked down signals randomly I'm sure and they were fond of putting signals on the right hand side in places too. I used to sign the Worcester area IRL, Shrub Hill is still, even now something to behold!
     
  21. JustWentSouth

    JustWentSouth Well-Known Member

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    So true!
     
  22. Clumsy Pacer

    Clumsy Pacer Well-Known Member

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    Yes, because for some reason the driver was on the right-hand side as well.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart166axe/18488875416
     
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  23. dangerousdave

    dangerousdave Well-Known Member

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    Around that time nothing was standardised. Like early cars, where the position of the controls was dependent on who built it. Not like today where no mater what car you get in the throttle brake and clutch are in the same place.

    I think most signals where placed on the rhs if they was in a blind spot or hard to see from the drivers position. Then some engines I've been on you can't even see what's up ahead!

    And I've been on some where the controls are accessible from both sides of the footplate.

    I can't imagine what it was like for drivers back then or the fireman, even signallers!

    It's all fun riding on the footplate of a steam engine, even taking control for a while. But if it was a job you had to do all day every day, you can count me out.
     
  24. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    In that case one would think they would have used the German system: place a sign on the usual side which means "it's on the other side!"
     
  25. Clumsy Pacer

    Clumsy Pacer Well-Known Member

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    I think some of our shunt signals have an arrow on them to indicate which track it's for.
     

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