Point Levers

To assist modellers plan and build a Caledonian Railway layout with the appropriate stock. A list/catalogue of supplies and components is available to members in the Association Resources section of the Forum below.
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lindsay_g
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:43 pm

Point Levers

Post by lindsay_g »

For those of you who are aware that I'm pulling together an updated Modelling the Caledonian list of resources, you may be pleased to know that it is nearing completion (I think), and currently running to over 17 pages.

One item that was a no-show on the list was point levers, and I was starting to think that I'd need to get a etch prepared for personal needs (some time in the distant future!). However, whilst idly browsing the Southwark Bridge website recently, I happened across their MacNee pattern point levers - which unless I'm mistaken look a dead-ringer for levers in some old Caley images. The levers can be found in page 6 of both the 4 and 7mm sections. An image of them is available, see what you think :

http://www.sbmodels.org/D03_pointlever(4Mac).html

Lindsay
Dave Lochrie
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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:38 pm

Re: Point Levers

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Hi Lindsay,

100% correct, the Macnee patent was the main hand point lever (or "lever box" as they were known in the trade), in use on the Caledonian from 1880-1914, the other less common being that of Thomas Summerson, though not the L&SWR pattern sold by SB.

Although holding the patent Macnee sold his manufacturing plant to Anderson Foundry, who presumably continued to supply the levers to the Caledonian, to whom they themselves were always the main supplier of rail chairs. Victorian patent, business relationships and tendering processes were fairly murky, but it is probable Daniel Macnee would have received his commision per unit (he was still working as a London based agent for Andersons) till his death in 1893 and afterwards to his heirs. He had business connexions with Dugald Drummond and Sons, the Caledonian Railway and the L&SWR, and although I have can find no evidence of it there must have been a Stevens connection somewhere.

Daniel Macnee is not to be confused with his eponymous father who was a prominent protrait painter and Fellow of the RSA.

The levers were replaced by the flat bar version, either straight or cranked during WW1, but the Nacnee Pattern is the one needed for most Caledonian pre-group layouts. They were initially, at least, painted white. They could be positioned on either side as safety dictated, and the lever position would sit towards the V for the "main" line and pulled "back" for the diverging road.
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David

Lindsay, If you like I can look over the 4mm Listing, having been part responsible for not keeping the original version up-to-date
jim mac
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Re: Point Levers

Post by jim mac »

Lindsay
The specification for the L&A extension, which is in the Archive as item CRA3/7/1/8, includes the attached illustration, which seems to imply that the CR modified the McNee's Pattern.
jim mac
Attachments
Lever boxes.pdf
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lindsay_g
Posts: 404
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Re: Point Levers

Post by lindsay_g »

Those 2 replies have certainly encouraged me. I'm also encouraged by Southwark Bridge Models - my cheque went off for their etches just a few days ago and they arrived this morning - great service! And lovely looking and designed etches too.

Dave's explanation on the positioning of the lever arm threw (no pun!) me a wee bit to begin with but I realise now that the direction of the lever arm being co-ordinated to the direction of travel was achieved by the crank (between the lever box and the link to the tie bar) being positioned to the left or right as required.

This now leaves me with another question - how did the link from the point lever join the tie bar or switch blade? I've browsed through the same old images again but I can't see a clear view of how it all linked up at the track end.

Whilst I'm throwing questions into the pot, would anyone like to start a thread on Caley point rodding and in particular their stools? I'm definitely going to have to get an etch commissioned (*)as I reckon I need around 200 stools just for a wee terminus like Barnton. However, what did Caley's rodding stools look like? Anyone got good close ups?

Lindsay

* I'm aware of the Brassmaster and Southwark Bridge stool etches, but number of etches for 200 stools = Pricey. And they may not look like Caley stools.
dumb buffer
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Re: Point Levers

Post by dumb buffer »

Some pictures to muddy Lindsay's water. I don't really know anything about them, but the point rodding is at Larbert in early LMS days. The one with the two point levers I don't know where it is, and it may not even be on CR metals. The third one is more confirmatory (I kept it to demonstrate the shape of the point blade).

Allan F
Point rodding Larbert 1.jpg
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CR 212-2.jpg
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Dave Lochrie
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Re: Point Levers

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Alan's third shot does give a very view of the shape of the point blades as well as one side of the fixing of the stretcher rod, the lever box is the Nacnee product as supplied to the Caledonian as well as the L&SWR.

The second shot of "New Jubilee" or "Grangemouth Pug" No212 is taken in the timber sidings to the west of the Grangemouth Branch itself, and is unusually for this duty not fitted with a spark arrester. Jim Summers will be able to pinpoint the exact spot due to having (mis)spent some of his youth in the vicinity (long after this picture was taken, I hasten to add). The lever boxes are an early Thomas Summerson design, similar to the NBR design, but with a simpler arm.

Apologies Lindsay, my attempt to describe the positioning was a bit clumsy, but the guiding rule being, as in signal boxes the lever is "pulled" to set the diverging road.
The accompanying drawing from a Summerson Catalogue shows the linkage from one of their later lever boxes, identical in operation to the standard Caledonian design,
to the stretcher rod.
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But the good news for Caledonian modellers was the extent to which pretty much every mechanical linkage was completely boxed in with red pine. This has to have been for protection in the damp Scottish climate as no one took H&S that seriously in Edwardian times. So the money and time you save on these can be spent on the roller frames, which leads on to the next question about roller frames.

The standard 1890's on roller frame was a plain design compared with those on use on other railways, and for strength I use the MSE cast version, as most etched products are too fancy. Photo enlargements are always a challenge, but here are 2 to illustrate the style, An additional point is that (for economy) a pair of full-height roller frames could contain more than one point rod (ie not a full-height frame separating the individual rods as on the SB Models, Brassmasters or indeed Colin Waite etchings). The run at Wemyss Bay has 6 rods plus one single run behind, whilst the run at Perth has at least 3, the end castings are plain, with no "A" frame detailing.
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Dave
Last edited by Dave Lochrie on Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
Dave Lochrie
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Re: Point Levers

Post by Dave Lochrie »

The rodding itself was 1.25" dia nominally gas piping (which is what Stevens original business was) supplied in 16ft lengths. On the Wemyss Bay close-up you can see the cotter method of joining pipe lengths -to the right of the first rollers from the right. The accompanying description and sketch from the 1912 "Railway Signal Engineering" by Leonard P Lewis "of the Caledonian Railway" should explain the process, though I had to read it 3 times before actually it did!
Joining Rods.jpg
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The roller frames and timber supports were spaced 7'6" - 8'0" apart.
Timbering for Roller Frames.jpg
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Some of the best descritions of actual infrastucture come at the very end of BoT Inspectors Accident reports.
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Dave
jim mac
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Re: Point Levers

Post by jim mac »

Another image showing the point rodding at Brechin (date of photograph not known).
jim mac
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Brechin, point rodding.jpg
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Dave Lochrie
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Re: Point Levers & Point Rodding

Post by Dave Lochrie »

A strange co-incidence that Jim should post a close-up of rodding at Brechin because, my starting point for any modelling questions about point rodding, runs and detailing as well as point timbering, trap points, locking bars, timber boxing of rodding and so much more is always this trainless view from the bridge taken not too long after the rebuilding in connection with the opening of the Forfar & Brechin and the Brechin & Edzell District Railways in 1894.
BRECHIN TRACKWORK.jpg
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Dave
Jim Summers
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Re: Point Levers

Post by Jim Summers »

Chaps,
While I have been struggling with a computer failure and the vagaries of a new and allegedly improved computer, you have all pretty well completed for me the chapter I was preparing for the book on "Signalling the Caledonian".

Some wonderful stuff there, and some photos I have not seen before. All the other ones I have certainly bear out Dave's view that much of the rodding was covered.

I've had some Southwark Models etches for a few years, and not really got round to examining them, but I can agree with Lindsay that Ivan of Southwark Models does some very fine detailed ancillary equipment.

Dave quotes from the omniscient Leonard Lewis, and he was figuring heavily in the book as an authority. I have been trying to find out something about him, because I would like to confirm my own theory that he was more or less sponsored by his bosses at the Caley as a lecturer at the College, as a bit of enlightened management. His book went through several updated editions, and even now is available by print-on-demand, from India, where presumably there is still enough mechanical signalling to make the book still indispensable.

Jim S
John Lindsay
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:28 am

Re: Point Levers

Post by John Lindsay »

The appearance of the Wills point rodding on the market has motivated me to consider how to model this aspect of Biggar station in 4mm scale.

Having looked through my collection photographs, I have found the picture below.

It seems that the style used when the station was resignalled (with the installation of a passing loop in 1906) is similar to that used at Brechin (see photos earlier in this series of messages) rather than the other styles pictured.

I have eliminated the Wills product, as the stools seem to be moulded as one piece with the square section rodding (although the facing point locks etc might be useful). Looking at pictures on the internet of both the Brassmasters and the Southwark Bridge Models etchings, it seems that the stool style is quite different from that used a Biggar.

This leaves the MSE product - does anyone have a picture of what it looks like? - I can't find one out there on the web.

Thanks

John
Attachments
Biggar Point Rodding.jpg
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lindsay_g
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Re: Point Levers

Post by lindsay_g »

Unfortunately I can't provide a description of the MSE stools but having looked at them a few months ago, I decided to give them a miss.

I've talked with a fellow member of our local group about providing an etch for Caley style stools but have not pursued this as I'm nowhere near needing them and will have to do some maths on how many I'd need. However, it may raise the impetus if there is a demand out there. Might others be interested in pursuing this?

Lindsay

P.S. The same source has recently provided me with etches of Caley balance levers and blinders for my signals. He is incorporating them into an etch with other Caley signalling parts (pulleys, arms, etc.) which will be available in the not too distant future. I'll let the Forum know when it is available.
Alan K
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Re: Point Levers

Post by Alan K »

Sorry, but I missed this thread at the time.
I have used the MSE Point Rodding stools. They may not be exactly accurate, but I found them to be fairly unobtrusive, especially when half buried in your chosen ballast. Being white metal, they can be easily cut to match the number of rods required. The instructions recommend a short length of wire to be added to represent the top roller for each stool, but I decided that that was a step too far!
They can also be made to allow a rod to slide by opening up the base of each slot, and I have been able to get my ground signals to operate by using rodding attached to point blades with suitable cranks.
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Alan
MIKEWILLIAMS
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Re: Point Levers

Post by MIKEWILLIAMS »

In the Brechin trackwork picture, why is the turnout facing us at the right of the picture set for neither road?

Best

Mike
jimwatt2mm
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Re: Point Levers

Post by jimwatt2mm »

MIKEWILLIAMS wrote:In the Brechin trackwork picture, why is the turnout facing us at the right of the picture set for neither road?Mike
As the turnout in question is a 'Y' splitting the centre, loco release road, to either of the two platform roads, I suspect that the two switches are independent and linked to the appropriate platform road turnout. That way they work as a crossover, but act as catch points if neither platform road turnout is reversed.

Jim W
John Lindsay
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:28 am

Re: Point Levers

Post by John Lindsay »

Thanks Alan for posting the photos of the MSE stools - you have made them look impressive, even though they are comparatively simple. I have now stumbled across the Ambiss Engineering etches for stools, rodding, facing point locks etc, which complicates the decision making!
cheers
John
Jim Summers
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Re: Point Levers

Post by Jim Summers »

I think Jim Watt's explanation is right. The arrangement gives flank protection to the platform lines, by creating wide-to-gauge trap points. These have the merit of not encouraging an errant vehicle to veer into one or other of the adjacent roads.

There is still an example of wide-to-gauge at the south end of Carlisle , and rather think I recall the centre road of the Dundee platforms at Perth having a set as well. A nice modelling challenge when making the blades move.

Jim S
JimG
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Re: Point Levers

Post by JimG »

Can I raise another question from the Brechin station picture? The starter signal for the right-most platform would appear to be situated on the loading bank some way down from the platform end. I'm trying to work out why this might be since there seems to be enough room at the end of the platform to place the signal post there - certainly when compared with the bracket starter at the end of the other platform. I note that there are some structures at the end of the loading bank which could be some form of gantry and I wondered if the operation of such, close to a signal post at the platform end, may have been problematic, causing the relocation.

Jim.
Graham R
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Re: Point Levers

Post by Graham R »

Is it not simply a case of positioning the signal where a driver would see it if his train occupied the platform fully and the loco was past the platform end? Not all the trains were two coaches: there's a photo in Simms' "The Railways of Brechin" showing a New Year's Day football special to Brechin at Montrose, with two 0-4-4Ts and at least six coaches...
JimG
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Re: Point Levers

Post by JimG »

Graham R wrote:Is it not simply a case of positioning the signal where a driver would see it if his train occupied the platform fully and the loco was past the platform end? Not all the trains were two coaches: there's a photo in Simms' "The Railways of Brechin" showing a New Year's Day football special to Brechin at Montrose, with two 0-4-4Ts and at least six coaches...
Graham,

I just checked the length of the north platform on the 25" OS map on the NLS site and it looks to be around 430ft long, which would just accommodate eight 45ft coaches and one tank loco, or seven 48ft coaches and one tank loco. So any specials requiring a longer length of coaching stock and an additional locomotive would be well past the end of the platform and any starter located there.

Jim.
dumb buffer
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Re: Point Levers

Post by dumb buffer »

A loco could be well off the end of the platform without interfering with any other line. The starting signal needn't be a platform starter.

Allan F
John Duffy
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Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: Point Levers

Post by John Duffy »

I am trying to understand the operating practices of the CR and how that influenced signalling etc and I have a flurry of questions.

Looking over the photograph of Brechin - above - it seems as if all of the turnouts in the scene are operated from the signalbox, including the choice of the two coal roads. Would this be the normal practice for goods yards, or - unlike the situation in Brechin - would the use of hand levers be more likely?

In the Brechin situation how would the crew communicate with the signalman?

In a position where the signalman could see the yard, would it be more likely to have the points controlled from the box?

Thanks

John
Jim Summers
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Re: Point Levers

Post by Jim Summers »

John,
It certainly looks as if the set of points for the coal roads was controlled by the box. I would say that this would be unusual.

In this case it might be because of the rather short sidings with little headroom for shunting independently of the main lines. You'll see the disc signal controlling the exit from the yard is pretty close, even allowing for some foreshortening in the photograph. It is possible too that the signalman could see them from the box, if I recall its situation rightly. The signals at the platform were at a different angle and could not be seen by the signalman, so they had arm and light repeaters with electric wires back to the box.

Fascinating place, Brechin.

Jim
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