NSWGR tail discs

 
  The railway dog Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
I hope someone can help.
To complete some models of NSWGR guards vans in the late steam era I need to fit some "tail discs".
Looking at photos, some of these were triangular & some circular. Does the shape difference indicate anything or do they all just show the end of the train?

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  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
I hope somebody with real knowledge chimes in, but the shape means things like "Following train is carrying the staff" (circular with black cross?)  and so on, for working back in the days of manned signalboxes. It's probably all in the General Appendix of years ago.
  a6et Minister for Railways

I hope somebody with real knowledge chimes in, but the shape means things like "Following train is carrying the staff" (circular with black cross?)  and so on, for working back in the days of manned signalboxes. It's probably all in the General Appendix of years ago.
apw5910
The round discs were the most seen, and I am looking totally from memory and could be wrong and the way the GA is formulated its a long search.

Round discs painted white were for locomotives running light engine. Many had or were supposed to have a black cross on the other side, IIRC that cross was to define a special train following.  In the main the same disc was used on the rear of goods trains as well.

Engines ex workshops, had the round discs painted with the word Trial across the middle of it.

Passenger trains had discs with a Triangle shape.

I am not aware of a disc that was meant to depict that a following train had the staff.  The norm was that if two trains were to head on single line in the one direction, it would be either Staff & Ticket Working, or Divisible electric staff. The loco crew, namely the fireman was the one who had to fill out the ticket and the train register book in the staff huts/station, the would have been advised by Train Control for the line regarding a following train, in that case the guard would have to turn the disc for the cross, but not many had the cross, so not much point really.  What was required though was to notify and per way workers of the following train, approximate time and the like.

Under normal circumstances the guard however would have been advised of the following train movement prior to departing from the originating station/yard etc. At the same time the enginemen would or should have been advised of the train behind them and time of that trains running.
  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
Yeah, you're right, it was "special train following" not the staff. I was trying to remember the instructions from an etched sheet of discs I bought 1990 or so.

My GA says refer to Rules and Regulations (specifically rule 150, 151...), which I don't have.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Yeah, you're right, it was "special train following" not the staff. I was trying to remember the instructions from an etched sheet of discs I bought 1990 or so.

My GA says refer to Rules and Regulations (specifically rule 150, 151...), which I don't have.
apw5910
Will have a look as I think I have one.  When I was medically retired I was told to hand all my books in, yeah right. a few years later the DS office and at Loco started pilling stuff out to the tip and burnt them.  I understand there was a lot of history, records and other items that were priceless, they could not care one bit.
  M636C Minister for Railways

I remember that on the 1964 Vintage Train to Cobar, we crossed a freight train, possibly at Hermidale, and that train was carrying a circular tail disc with a black cross and I was told that was correct since our train was a special not in the timetable.

I seem to recall being told that the triangular tail "disc" was for use on double track and a circular disc was used on single track.

That would suggest a lot of disc changing at locations like Junee and Cootamundra, for example. Of course trains for and from the branch lines reversed there anyway.

Peter
  a6et Minister for Railways

Yeah, you're right, it was "special train following" not the staff. I was trying to remember the instructions from an etched sheet of discs I bought 1990 or so.

My GA says refer to Rules and Regulations (specifically rule 150, 151...), which I don't have.
apw5910
Rule 150 (a), only refers to a white tail tail disc on the rear of complete trains, or tail lights on the rear of a train in daylight. In darkness & foggy weather tail lights are to be on.
(b) refers to lights on the rear in night time operations
(c)  When a train is banked in the rear a tail disc, or lights must be displayed on both Bank Engine and on rear of the last vehicle on the train.
(d) (i) Light engines on any running must carry tail disc in the rear during daylight. & lights in darkness or foggy weather except shunting engines.  
(ii) when two or more engines run coupled tail disc must only be in rear of the last engine or lights in darkness and foggy weather, on the rear engine only.  
(iii) An engine hauling vehicles must not carry disc or tail lights on rear of engine

These instructions are in the 1959 book of rules and regulations.

Rule 151 is pretty much a repetition of rule 150 except it applies more to the guard who must ensure the discs and lights are on his vehicle at the rear.

Special trains Rule 153  (C)  Special discs & additional lights must be provided to indicate the running of special trains on the the sections and during the hours prescribed by the CTM,
i)  A red disc or red flag in daylight or additional red tail lights during dark or in foggy weather carried on the centre bracket of the the last vehicle of a train or engine indicates a special train is to follow,
(ii) On single lines a white disc with black cross in daylight or foggy weather a red light must be displayed on the rear of the train or engine is due to run in the opposite direction.

This rule goes on to direct the duties of the station staff in regards to ensuring the special train is known and conveyed to those who basically need to ensure its running.

No mention of the Triangle tail discs though, but from what I can remember they were mostly found on passenger trains, I also saw red ones.

In going through these regulations, the aspect regarding marker lights in darkness and foggy weather for engines the rules applied that in daylight hours once fog had lifted the lights/dynamo had to be turned off, reasoning was to save steam and water, some inspectors were savage on that rule, and would report the crews who did not follow them.
  The railway dog Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
Thanks for all this. I can't find any reference to the subject in my Regulations or General Appendix books, just mentions that the Guard must make sure his van has them. So it's looking at photos now. Typical, the subject you're looking for isn't as well covered by photography as you'd like.
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

I hope someone can help.
To complete some models of NSWGR guards vans in the late steam era I need to fit some "tail discs".
Looking at photos, some of these were triangular & some circular. Does the shape difference indicate anything or do they all just show the end of the train?
The railway dog
Remember the little booklet published by the Department called "Railway Quiz"? This is what it has to say:
"What does the round or triangular shaped white disc at the rear of trains indicate?
The tail disc informs the signalman that the train is complete and has not parted. Round discs are used on single lines and triangular discs on double lines. White discs are used on ordinary trains, a red disc indicates a special train is following, and a white disc with a black cross denotes a special train travelling in the opposite direction."
  a6et Minister for Railways

I hope someone can help.
To complete some models of NSWGR guards vans in the late steam era I need to fit some "tail discs".
Looking at photos, some of these were triangular & some circular. Does the shape difference indicate anything or do they all just show the end of the train?
Remember the little booklet published by the Department called "Railway Quiz"? This is what it has to say:
"What does the round or triangular shaped white disc at the rear of trains indicate?
The tail disc informs the signalman that the train is complete and has not parted. Round discs are used on single lines and triangular discs on double lines. White discs are used on ordinary trains, a red disc indicates a special train is following, and a white disc with a black cross denotes a special train travelling in the opposite direction."
NSWRcars
I can remember that quiz book but it was also pretty basic and not all of it was quite correct, and lets not forget that it was put out for the general public at the time.  When was the publication date of it?

At Enfield in steam days, we occasionally would get a triangle disc in the kit bucket but that was usually only when round ones where not available.  On diesels the kit bucket was in the nose and never saw any other than round discs, and not all discs had the black cross on one side either.

The reference in the rule book re the extra red light when special train was following at night meant that a kerosene lamp had to be put on the rear of the vans, so 3 reds could be seen, Loco tenders had lamp brackets on the tenders that made it possible for the 3 red lamps to be displayed but again the kero one was put on the rear, as there were brackets on the underframe extension.

With the end of steam as regular working the introduction of split round discs being put on each end of the loco, and they were permanently set with a stop plate on the top to prevent them coming off.  Does the regulations these days cover the extra red light on the rear of trains when a special train is behind?  I doubt it as only one bog is on the last vehicle with a flashing red light and reflector behind it.

At Broadmeadow, the old South signal box, there was a couple of signalmen there that would not allow an engine out of loco if the saw a tail disc on the front of the engine. It was common practice that when light engines were running to Gosford for return working that we would put the disc on the rear end prior to leaving loco, as it meant a faster turn round, but regulations wise was wrong.  It also took longer at the station, as the starting signal was right at the end of the platform, so we had to get off and walk to the rear, and with a Garratt more time before departing and that upset the signalmen as well. In many ways it was sort of dangerous anyway as we had to jump down on the track from the platform to reach the disc holder, then to get back onto the platform, you would not walk on other than the station as we sat on the up main with the down main next to us, and often a down train came in as we were putting the disc on.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Thanks for all this. I can't find any reference to the subject in my Regulations or General Appendix books, just mentions that the Guard must make sure his van has them. So it's looking at photos now. Typical, the subject you're looking for isn't as well covered by photography as you'd like.
RD, problem is that those two books especially the GA 1 & 2 unless someone had all the amendments it was pretty much very hard to find. We had one pedantic driver who got his GA's and made sure he put all the amendments and glued them into his copy, he started doing so from the time he recieved his in the early 50's by the late 60's it was impossible to close the cover and carry it in his gladston bag, he had a metal barracks back and made it too heavy to carry it as well. With amendments to the GA's along with the local appendix's for the lines he worked over, likewise amendments for the WTT's between reprints it was a big task to keep up to date let alone carry them.

My little book of Rules & Regulations that I quoted from is a 1958 print, and no amendments are found in it, nor in any of the GA's that I still have.

Not sure of the exact year but it was in the SRA  era we were issued with new WTT's on the diesel side, rather than the old thick cardboard types that had removeable and replacement abilities with brass male/female screw in securing plugs, drivers were issued with new Large sized ring bind covers for our respective WTT's.  The Illawara one was hard covered with plastic coating with Blue face and white edging, the Western, & Northern had soft plastic covers in their respective district colours, Yellow for West and Orange for the North.  Each of these were of 25x35cmx3.5cm thick.  I never got a Southern line copy but I also do not remember seeing them either, maybe after the call for their replacement by drivers and the union owing to their impossible size and weight, there was a return to the previous type, with the plug.

In 1982, when I went back to WCK, I was issued a new copy of the Northern WTT. that was of the plug type binder, the actualy TT's in it were of 1974, with a 1984 issue of a replacement NCLE area trains extra with it, which I still have.

How many steps forward and back?
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

Remember the little booklet published by the Department called "Railway Quiz"? This is what it has to say:
"What does the round or triangular shaped white disc at the rear of trains indicate?
The tail disc informs the signalman that the train is complete and has not parted. Round discs are used on single lines and triangular discs on double lines. White discs are used on ordinary trains, a red disc indicates a special train is following, and a white disc with a black cross denotes a special train travelling in the opposite direction."
I can remember that quiz book but it was also pretty basic and not all of it was quite correct, and lets not forget that it was put out for the general public at the time.  When was the publication date of it?
a6et
Quoted from the Revised Edition of June 1972. First published October 1946.
  NSW3802 Junior Train Controller

Remember the little booklet published by the Department called "Railway Quiz"? This is what it has to say:
"What does the round or triangular shaped white disc at the rear of trains indicate?
The tail disc informs the signalman that the train is complete and has not parted. Round discs are used on single lines and triangular discs on double lines. White discs are used on ordinary trains, a red disc indicates a special train is following, and a white disc with a black cross denotes a special train travelling in the opposite direction."
I can remember that quiz book but it was also pretty basic and not all of it was quite correct, and lets not forget that it was put out for the general public at the time.  When was the publication date of it?
Quoted from the Revised Edition of June 1972. First published October 1946.
NSWRcars
Tail disks on the NSWGR


After reading a few entries in Railpage Forum I decided to add tail disks to vans, railmotors and other stock on my small layout. What I thought was a simple thing turned out to be rather more involved than I anticipated.

Casula Hobbies stock a brass etch which has 4 triangles and 4 round disks. The included instructions mentions the round disks were used on single lines, while the triangular disks were used on double or multiple tracks.

In the golden years of the NSWGR we were more interested in what was at the front of the train than what was on the end of the train. Searching through a number of Train Hobby books the whole picture became more complicated than anticipated.

From the list below illustrating quite a wide time span it appears that the triangular disks were more widely used all over the system and on many branch lines. As can be seen both types of tail disks were used on single lines. Unfortunately there were no photos on double line that I could find showing the last vehicle.

Trains with Round Disks.

CPH 5, Wollongong, Moss Vale service, July 1983
CPH 4, Gilmore, July 1980.
CPH 6, Gundagai, October 1980
CPH 32, Dombarton, April 1983
CPH 36, Scarborough, September 1983
954, Deb Set, Junee, 1960s.
EHO, Lyndhurst, April 1965
CR, Cowra, March 1964
PHG brakevan, Canowindra, March 1967,  Black cross.
HX, Gilmore, March 1957





Trains with Triangular Disks.

CPH1, Boree Creek, January 1970.
CPH 2, Bendick Murrell, September 1983
CPH 3, Tumbarumba, January 1973
CPH 3, Yerong Creek, October 1969
CPH 4, Narromine, May 1972
CPH 16, Rankins Springs, May 1983
CPH 18, Rosewood, December 1961
CPH 24, Tocumwal, Feb 1980
CPH 27, Humula, June 1974
CPH 3, Tumbarumbe, Jan 1973
CPH 16, Gundagai, April 1983
CPH 27, Coolac, December 1980
CPH 27, Woodstock, Carcoar, September 1983
CPH 28, Wagga Wagga, March 1959
CPH 35, Albury, April 1953
CHP 38, Kingsvale, Young, September 1981
600/700 class set, Gilmore, March 1957
603/703, Jerilderie, October 1979
603/703, Berrigan, June 1982
604/704, Wyalong Central, October 1981
604/704, Lake Cargelligo, November 1983
625/725, Newcastle, November 1975
635/735, Harden, June 1966
636/736, Wollongong, December 1980
937, Deb set, Werris Creek, November 1981
ACS, Grenfell Mixed, April 1966
EHO brakevan, Stroud Road, June 1964.
HX, Wybalena, March 1957, September 1958
HCX, Oberon, August 1970
PHG, Ben Bullen, December 1964
NHG, Warren, Feb 1975
Parkes, Passenger brake van, November 1974

Les.
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

both types of tail disks were used on single lines. Unfortunately there were no photos on double line that I could find showing the last vehicle.
NSW3802
Have looked through quite few photos showing taildiscs.
Have found examples of goods trains close to Sydney area on double track, sporting a round taildisc.
Most photos I could find of passenger trains had a triangular disc, regardless of era or location.
The fold up type fitted to diesel locomotives were round.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Taking this discussion a bit further.  As mentioned previously there was nothing of real common use as both triangle and round disks were used on both passenger and goods trains, both on the main & branch lines and that is highlighted in the train hobby books also in many other books as well.

To declare one against another was to have the discs as per the usual rules was often disregarded owing to the wrong discs being available.  The mechanical branch supplied discs to locomotives, as part of the general kit bucket, mostly they were round with the occasional triangle type, if a red backed one or one with the black cross, on the back they were meant to be sent back to the Traffic branch.

Guards vans along terminal cars of trains had discs located in the vans, usually more than one was found on the floor of the van/car for convenience to pick it up and place on the rear of the end vehicle.  Spare discs were meant to be available in the various yard offices and a check was made by traffic branch workers that had the job of cleaning the vans out, that was usually by hosing them out, also bringing buckets of coal into the vans for the small stove/heaters, they were also required to make sure the vans had discs in the guards compartment, it was also not uncommon to find a tail disc on both ends of a guards van, saved them having to change them at terminating stations and just helped ensuring there was a disc on the train..

One of the main reasons for the split/hinged round discs on diesels was that when WB working was introduced, the need for the old discs was removed, mainly with the 2nd edition of the bog as seen these days. The originals were fitted with round discs with a red flashing light of a similar type seen for road warnings, a round (largish) red shade in front to the white tail disc meant to reflect the light as it flashed.  Again these bogs were also supplied as spares to main stations where a terminating or round trip train that had to run round the train, and the battery was low, allowing the spare to be used as safety replacement. Case points were the old Curlewis & Gunnedah collieries.

For modelling purposes,  & depending on how you want to operate, I would suggest having all the passenger trains with Triangle discs, put them on both ends and would still be prototypical.  But unless you have more than a couple of passenger trains, and/or rail motors/DMU's I would not look at getting more than needed in those packs especially for the need of triangle types. Rather I would be using the brass ones as a stamp to simply make up some from white styrene by using a hole punch to make the round types.

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