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West Somerset Railway Operations

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. The Man of Kent

    The Man of Kent New Member

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    If the existing flashing red light (or a proper advanced starter) was manually operated from the box once the gates were down and the crossing seen to be clear then perhaps nothing else would need to change? Current rules allow trains to approach the crossing before the barriers are down. You would probably need a pole on which to hang the token hoop for collection by the outgoing crew so that the signalman doesn't have to be in two places at once. This would also allow shunters to return to the loco yard from the main platform and also perhaps from the bay without bringing the crossing into play. However as you can see from the webcam the signalman's view of the crossing is not perfect especially in poor visibility ..... CCTV? Maybe move the webcam to the back of the signal?
    This is pure speculation, interesting to see what actually happens.
     
  2. Dave Stapleton

    Dave Stapleton Member

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    A person opening and closing a set of traditional (Heritage?) crossing gates, as and when needed, seems such a simple and so much cheaper solutuion to all this technical stuff. Why has it all got so complicated?

    I'll get my coat... :rolleyes: :)
     
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  3. Forestpines

    Forestpines Active Member

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    Just build a gate box by the crossing! Until the 1960s there was one place on BR that had two level crossings about 60 yards apart, both with their own signalbox, so people can hardly claim there isn't a precedent! :)
     
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  4. Bayard

    Bayard Active Member

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    But here we are comparing controlled full barriers to gates, and, if "it's all about £££££s", then surely the WSR could erect a set of traditional gates for a lot less than £850,000, even allowing for the geological survey and whatnot.
    It seems that we are the victims of history here: I can remember when this crossing went in and the same questions were asked: why not have a traditional crossing? why can't we have a bridge, it would be so handy for photographers? ISTR that, in the end it came down to £££££s as usual, so we ended up with an AHB crossing. Now that the AHB is to be upgraded to a fully controlled crossing, the original arguments in favour of an AHB no longer hold water, but no-one seems prepared to go back and revisit them. The decision to go down the "modern" route has become set in stone and despite nearly every parameter having changed since then, it is taken as an unchangeable starting point. Added to which the taxpayers of Somerset are having to fork out for a NR-compliant crossing and all the gold-plating that goes with it, in a location that is over twenty miles away from the nearest NR track and on a railway that already has a set of traditional gates and a speed limit of 25 miles an hour.
     
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  5. Greenway

    Greenway Well-Known Member

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    A good read of the link provided by WS Wizard would explain why it is going to be this way.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  6. Matt78

    Matt78 Active Member

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    AIUI the responsibility for approving requirements at level crossings still rests with ORR/HMRI. Presumably it’s up to the operator to put forward the proposals to be approved. I can’t think of a situation where a new crossing has received gates as opposed to barriers unless anyone else can confirm?

    Regards

    Matt
     
  7. Ploughman

    Ploughman Part of the furniture

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    One consideration that I don't think has been made is that another signal box needs another signaller.
    Can this be feasible for this situation? Thinking of additional permanent staff or volunteer cover?
    Or is it more practical and economic to get the existing signaller to cover the additional crossing by an approved and up to date method?
     
  8. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    The late, great, Bernard Levin used to refer to “the fallacy of the altered perspective”. Given the way that the site has developed, I sense that this is set in concrete.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  9. gwilialan

    gwilialan Active Member

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    Just catching up...

    A couple of interesting comments, giving SCC's viewpoint, in document #2:-

    "The West Somerset Railway is a key attraction in Somerset’s tourism sector and wider economy." and,

    "WSR carries over 200,000 passengers a year making it one of the largest attractions in Somerset and the South West England."

    Seems a shame (and slightly skewed) that others interested in tourism don't agree. ;)
     
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  10. Bayard

    Bayard Active Member

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    Sadly, Google is unable to find any reference to this. A pity, as it sounds an interesting concept.
     
  11. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    I’d need to look up his essays. He used it to describe how as one idea becomes acceptable, it makes previously completely unacceptable ideas appear reasonable and a natural progression.


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  12. aldfort

    aldfort Well-Known Member

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    I have heard stories of steam locomotives crashing through manually controlled crossing gates, some from recent history . Perhaps those with a better knowledge of the history of the line can give exact examples as they relate to the WSR.
    Sadly I don't think it's always possible to prevent the 21st century intruding on heritage rail, in particular where it comes into contact with modern road infrastructure.
     
  13. West Somerset Wizard

    West Somerset Wizard Part of the furniture

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    Some of this discussion begs the question "what do we mean by 'heritage'"? The existing Seaward Way crossing was built for a brand new road in the early 1990s and clearly suits that era. There was no crossing at that location and therefore nothing to 'preserve'. The upgrade will not significantly change the 1990s look and feel of it, at least not to the average guy. So maybe we should embrace the 20th century heritage that is evident at Seaward Way?

    Steve
    (one of those who believe in a wider definition of 'heritage')
     
  14. West Somerset Wizard

    West Somerset Wizard Part of the furniture

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    The MRLG state that their plan must not affect the heritage operation. Trouble is they don't say how that would be achieved.

    I'm more concerned that one part of SCC seems to agree with MRLG's aims whilst another part of SCC can write fine and very valid words as quoted above. Time SCC was quied on this, methinks. Transparency and all that.

    Steve
     
  15. The Man of Kent

    The Man of Kent New Member

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    I see this as part of the trouble. The reason that we are having to respond to "their plan" is because we have no plan of our own. It would seem to me to be relatively simple to run the service without affecting the heritage operation.
    Taking the 2018 yellow timetable, the most intensive outside galas, you run an additional dmu service from Minehead before the 10.15 to run through to Taunton. The existing dmu paths are extended from and to Taunton and an additional down service runs after the 16.15 from Bishops Lydeard.
    Obviously it would require additional units that could run on the main line and longer shifts for signalmen but in the realm of preservation and heritage lines and the wonders that are regularly being achieved throughout our great movement is this really a problem, especially if those organisations that are pushing for it are invited to assist with the provision?
     
  16. Robin White

    Robin White Resident of Nat Pres

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    Nowhere near that simple. Best to read the Railnews assessment.

    Robin
     
  17. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    I suggest you read this nthread from start to finish to understand why the proposals are ludicrous.

    https://www.national-preservation.c...ability-of-extending-to-taunton.541153/page-1
     
  18. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    Deleted
     
  19. The Man of Kent

    The Man of Kent New Member

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    do you have a link?
     
  20. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

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    As stated in the SCC reports increased levels of traffic in Seaward Way have contributed to safety concerns at this location. Converting from AHB to a controlled crossing will improve safety but increase the road closure time and add to traffic queues at busy times. Traditional gates would delay traffic even more; and would require a crossing keeper (unless there is ORR approved technology for remote control of newly installed traditional gates - which I doubt). Since SCC are paying, and they’re the highway authority .......
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018

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