Throwover point levers & passenger traffic

 
  The railway dog Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
A few NSW stations had all or mainly throwover point levers instead of ground frames. Warren was one & looking at photos & diagrams several others in the Northwest & probably elsewhere were similar. Can anyone tell me if there was a locking mechanism in these levers to secure them for passenger traffic i.e. a FPL, or were they clipped when required?

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  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
A few NSW stations had all or mainly throwover point levers instead of ground frames. Warren was one & looking at photos & diagrams several others in the Northwest & probably elsewhere were similar. Can anyone tell me if there was a locking mechanism in these levers to secure them for passenger traffic i.e. a FPL, or were they clipped when required?
The railway dog

Semi-interlocked facing points had a 2-lever ground frame, blue lever 1 being the FPL, and black lever 2 being the points.

More primitive than this is a "Lever and Bracket Lock", which perhaps does not seem to have an FPL.

Early mentions of interlockings and signalboxes in Australian newspapers start about 1880, such as ones at Brisbane (Roma St?) and Ipswich.

A 1890 crossing loop at Chatswood was fully interlocked, with the goods siding operated by a 2 lever Frame B. The level crossing does not appear to be interlocked at all. See diagram at interchange near ticket barriers.
  The railway dog Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
awsgc24
Thanks for that.
I got my enquiry a bit wrong in that Warren had ball levers, not throwover, so my question applies to both types. Was there a securing mechanism in the levers themselves or did they need to be clipped for passenger traffic?
  Throughwestmail Train Controller

A few NSW stations had all or mainly throwover point levers instead of ground frames. Warren was one & looking at photos & diagrams several others in the Northwest & probably elsewhere were similar. Can anyone tell me if there was a locking mechanism in these levers to secure them for passenger traffic i.e. a FPL, or were they clipped when required?
The railway dog
Locations that do not have interlocked frames for points had 1 of 3 different types of point control mechanisms, all of which are trailable for non facing movements.
1:Spring, in which a spring holds them in the set position and if a trailing movement is made through them they stay in the position of the trailing movement.
2:Throw-over,in which the handle(lever)sets the position for facing movements, but they return to the position they were set after a trailing movement.
3:Ball,in which the weight of the ball on the end of the lever held the points in the normal position, but they had to be held(normally by sitting on the ball) in the reverse position and if they are trailed through they return to the normal position.

I do think you will find that in days of passenger train operations at these locations, any movements for passenger trains were controlled by interlocked points, either from a ground frame or normally from the signal box. You would not normally have non interlocked points on main lines or even loops, most were in yards or sidings.
  dudley Junior Train Controller

Location: sydney
awsgc24
Thanks for that.
I got my enquiry a bit wrong in that Warren had ball levers, not throwover, so my question applies to both types. Was there a securing mechanism in the levers themselves or did they need to be clipped for passenger traffic?
The railway dog
The rule was if it carried passengers, the points had to be clipped if they were non interlocking. This did not matter what type of non interlocked points they were, Ball Leaver, Throw over Thompson or any of the others. I am pretty sure this rule still stands out side of passenger car depots I.E Flemo,AMF or others.  
  MILW Junior Train Controller

Location: Earth
There was even the odd set of non-interlocked points on metropolitan passenger lines, albeit mainly used for trailing movements, and mostly gone decades ago.

If I recall correctly, the trailing points on the departure side of platforms 4 and 5 at Strathfield (Up Suburban) were initially like this when the current track layout was built, but I can't remember which type of mechanism was used.

The signals in rear of the points, on the Up Suburban and Up North Suburban lines were interlocked with each other, but not with the points themselves. I think the present EP operation with trap points off the end of platform 5 was commissioned around 1952.

Since there is no requirement to lock trailing points, even for passenger trains, it's not a problem.

No doubt members will recall other examples.
  Throughwestmail Train Controller

The rule was if it carried passengers, the points had to be clipped if they were non interlocking. This did not matter what type of non interlocked points they were, Ball Leaver, Throw over Thompson or any of the others. I am pretty sure this rule still stands out side of passenger car depots I.E Flemo,AMF or others.  
dudley
Not quite, that applied to facing movements only and there are still a number of locations where for facing movements for passenger trains interlocked points still have to be clipped AND locked.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
Any time a tour or passenger train goes theough a yard all non interlocked facing points must be clipped and SL locked unless a ground frame has an FPL.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
There was even the odd set of non-interlocked points on metropolitan passenger lines, albeit mainly used for trailing movements, and mostly gone decades ago.
MILW
The points where Platforms 20 & 21 merge at Central are non-interlocked and trains trail through.

There are also "Thornley" lever, named after the firm in Sydenham that made them. Am not quite sure how they worked, but IIRC they had a sprig in them.
  MILW Junior Train Controller

Location: Earth
The points where Platforms 20 & 21 merge at Central are non-interlocked and trains trail through.
awsgc24

Ah yes! That is one of the best examples.


Not quite, that applied to facing movements only and there are still a number of locations where for facing movements for passenger trains interlocked points still have to be clipped AND locked.
Throughwestmail

True, and true. Facing points were generally avoided on main lines wherever possible, which did away with the need for FPLs and even allowed non-interlocked ground levers where control from the box was deemed unnecessary. A clip and lock was required for facing movements by passenger trains over the normally trailing "main crossings" at Victorian-style double line stations like Morisset and Hamilton Junction and formerly many others. These main crossings are interlocked but, as a rule, not equipped with facing point locks and facing movements are often unsignalled. At Hamilton Junction, there is a revolving disc (49) with wire detection for down facing movements via the main crossing (23) reverse but not for the normal position, nor in either position for the up direction. An unlocked trailing crossover was used to set the scene of Britain's worst rail disaster, at Quintinshill.

Main line trailing junction points do not require FPLs (e.g. Hamilton Jctn no. 20). Similarly, points allowing access to refuge sidings etc. that are trailing to the normal direction of travel on the main line do not require FPLs since they are typically used for goods and empty car traffic only. Correct lie of the points can be proved by detection for exit signals, where provided.

Many early power points on metropolitan passenger lines only had FPLs for one direction and/or position. Again, points only intended for trailing movements under normal circumstances were, as a rule, not fitted with FPLs. Some of these in-house mechanisms have been replaced with FPL-equipped switch machines but many survive as of 2013.

Anyone who has been around long enough would know that the clips, and especially the locks, were not always applied in accordance with the regulations.

Where passengers are inadvertently overcarried into car sheds etc there is no need to secure non-interlocked points. In any case, the presence of such passengers often goes unknown until the train is well and truly in the sidings.
  Zodiac Junior Train Controller

Location: The Never Never
Non interlocked points that had loaded passenger movements had to be clipped and locked.

The Zodiac
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
There was even the odd set of non-interlocked points on metropolitan passenger lines, albeit mainly used for trailing movements, and mostly gone decades ago.
MILW

Prior to electrification and resignalling, many trains terminated in Platform 2 at Waterfall (Down Main) and returned to the city via a trailing (now facing) crossover that AFAIK did not have an FPL. However speeds would have been low. Was this even a signalled move?
  a6et Minister for Railways

Any of the older type of points mentioned here that were manually thrown by levers Thompson types, or the ball types did not require to be clipped & locked in the trailing position.

Movements over facing points could be made providing the points were checked & the train over the points at a reduced speed.

When one considers all the aspects of passenger trains, it also includes the suburban trains that went into car sidings & the like, few sheds did not have the various throw over/lever points, once inside the yard precinct away from the primary interlocking.

While I cannot remember the exact locations, but there were at least two different places in the metro area that operated workers trains, & entry into the platforms were done over facing ball points with an SM sitting on the ball point handle, not the ball as someone has said, if you sat on the ball (much more comfortable) it held the points down in normal position.
  MILW Junior Train Controller

Location: Earth
Prior to electrification and resignalling, many trains terminated in Platform 2 at Waterfall (Down Main) and returned to the city via a trailing (now facing) crossover that AFAIK did not have an FPL. However speeds would have been low. Was this even a signalled move?

I'm unsure of this, but it seems correct for the period, for a number of reasons:

  • standard pre-interlocking double line stations consisted of the two main lines, one station (home) signal for each direction (and originally, no signals at all), a refuge siding for each direction and a trailing crossover, for a total of zero facing points on the main lines; before the advent of centralised control using lever frames, the points were of course worked by local ground levers which were operated by Pointsmen in some locations;
  • this layout remained after interlocking was introduced, albeit with more signals; points facing the normal direction of travel were easier to manage with a lever frame and FPL, but still avoided where practicable, reducing the need for FPL equipment, signals and levers in the box
  • some trailing crossovers survived well into the modern electrified and track-circuited era and even to the present, still without FPLs, even if they came into regular use for the return journeys of terminating passenger trains
  • I wouldn't consider it unsafe given regular maintenance, low speeds etc.
  barryc Chief Train Controller

Location: Waiting for a train to Canungra
The standard centrally key locked crossing loop on single lines usually had the loop points worked by a 2 lever frame which consisted of a blue FPL lever and a black point lever. The FPL lever, which was unlocked by a Key from the main signalbox (Frame A), locked the points by means of a tongue which ensured that there was nothing (eg a bit of ballast or rubbish) holding the points open . Furthermore, the position of the FPL lever was detected by the wire controlling the home signal so that the FPL lever had to be pushed home in the normal position for the home signal to be pulled off.  (The key had to be returned to Frame A as well). This worked well if a passenger train was not taking the loop, as would be the normal situation.

Sometimes it was necessary to put a passenger train in the loop, generally when 2 passenger trains crossed.  In this case, it was necessary to get the key from Frame A, set the points for the loop and hand signal the train into the loop.  Of course, as there was no FPL to ensure that the points were securely set in reverse, they had to be clipped but not locked.  I did this twice a week at Roto 40 years ago, crossing eastbound and westbound Indian Pacifics.  I don't know what they did if either train ran late and crossed at Matakana or Trida where finding a point clip would be major achievement, let alone having the time to use it.
  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
Sidebar: for those of us who were only trained for non-interlocked points, what does FPL stand for?
  The railway dog Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
Sidebar: for those of us who were only trained for non-interlocked points, what does FPL stand for?
GrahamH

FPL stands for Facing Point Lock.
A set of points is said to be "facing" when approached by a train in the direction in which the tracks diverge. There was, & is, a regulation stating that points used by passenger traffic in this manner had to have a lock in addition to the basic throwover mechanism.

Thanks for the input here folks. Having lost the initial skirmishes when trying to install rodding on my HO branchline I'm looking for excuses to just use throwover levers.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
FPL stands for Facing Point Lock.
A set of points is said to be "facing" when approached by a train in the direction in which the tracks diverge. There was, & is, a regulation stating that points used by passenger traffic in this manner had to have a lock in addition to the basic throwover mechanism.

Thanks for the input here folks. Having lost the initial skirmishes when trying to install rodding on my HO branchline I'm looking for excuses to just use throwover levers.
The railway dog

Crookwell is/was a terminus of a quiet branch line. Except for the outermost points operated by Frame B, all the other main line turnouts had throw-over levers, with scotch block or something. They did not appear to have associated catchpoints.

Of course at a terminal, all trains over facing point would be travelling very slowly.

See ARHS Track & Signal Diagrams, Version 3.

Now for a through station with throwover levers. . . . . .
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
The standard centrally key locked crossing loop on single lines usually had the loop points worked by a 2 lever frame which consisted of a blue FPL lever and a black point lever. The FPL lever, which was unlocked by a Key from the main signalbox (Frame A), locked the points by means of a tongue which ensured that there was nothing (eg a bit of ballast or rubbish) holding the points open . Furthermore, the position of the FPL lever was detected by the wire controlling the home signal so that the FPL lever had to be pushed home in the normal position for the home signal to be pulled off.  (The key had to be returned to Frame A as well). This worked well if a passenger train was not taking the loop, as would be the normal situation.

Sometimes it was necessary to put a passenger train in the loop, generally when 2 passenger trains crossed.  In this case, it was necessary to get the key from Frame A, set the points for the loop and hand signal the train into the loop.  Of course, as there was no FPL to ensure that the points were securely set in reverse, they had to be clipped but not locked.  I did this twice a week at Roto 40 years ago, crossing eastbound and westbound Indian Pacifics.  I don't know what they did if either train ran late and crossed at Matakana or Trida where finding a point clip would be major achievement, let alone having the time to use it.
barryc
Ground Frames for Emergency Crossovers both Facing and Trailing now have 3 Lever Frames.

1 to Release the Points.
1 FPL (locks both ways, Normal and Reverse)
1 Points.

Thus no need to clip points for passenger trains.

One wonders why this high-tech ground frames weren't used for Roto, etc.?

The latest reincarnation is to have power worked "self-restoring" switches, operated by push buttons.

Power worked "ground frames" are also coming into use where heavy 60kg rails makes those point very stiff, such as Singleton.

Perhaps if modellers replace code 70 rail with code 100, they would have a prototype for power operation?
  a6et Minister for Railways

Prior to electrification and resignalling, many trains terminated in Platform 2 at Waterfall (Down Main) and returned to the city via a trailing (now facing) crossover that AFAIK did not have an FPL. However speeds would have been low. Was this even a signalled move?
awsgc24
While I vaguely remember those points I tend to suggest that there was a set of siding type small arm signals on the Sutherland end of the down main platform.  They were from top standard siding to take you across to the up main & a wrong road signal to take you back behind the down home signal.

The points & signals were operated from the signal box.  As it was a regular working for down trains to connect with Illawarra services a similar arrangement but with a main line signal was found at the down end of the up platform for connecting services, also to allow goods trains out of the down yard.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

A slight aside. I was on the ARE/TRMS railmotor tour recently, which ran to Coonamble. On entry to the station we passed a sign saying "Non-Interlocked Area" (or words to that effect) and proceeded to the stop board at the end of the branch, and then reversed into the platform loop. We departed through a crossover (or catch point) and trailed through the main-line point, which was against us. These three turnouts were all controlled by sprung levers - no FPL, no clipping. Of course, all done at a max 10 kph.
  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
FPL stands for Facing Point Lock.
A set of points is said to be "facing" when approached by a train in the direction in which the tracks diverge. There was, & is, a regulation stating that points used by passenger traffic in this manner had to have a lock in addition to the basic throwover mechanism.

Thanks for the input here folks. Having lost the initial skirmishes when trying to install rodding on my HO branchline I'm looking for excuses to just use throwover levers.
The railway dog
Thank you railway dog.
  The railway dog Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
Thank you railway dog.
GrahamH

You're welcome.
  The railway dog Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
A question about NSWGR ground frames.
Does some kind soul know whether there was a stipulation that Facing Point Lock levers (blue) had to be the nearest lever on the 2 lever frame to the track? All the shots I can find show this arrangement, but I'm installing some Uneek lever frames & have a situation where the logical arrangement seems to be to have the FPL lever away from the track.
My knowledge of these things isn't great.
It's a smallish thing but an error will stand out like the proverbial.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
A signal box is only a Grandiose version of a Ground Frame with a roof and walls as some places like Mudgee had no 'Signal Box',only had a Ground Frame on the Platform called Frame A.
This particular frame would have included the UP and Down Home signals, any close points and release keys for other frames at either end.
All Signal box's were called FRAME A but where two signal box's were closely associated like Wallerawang East and West, the letter number ie B,C etc was NOT duplicated to avoid mixups.
Those other Ground frames operated by a Key from Frame A, a Guards Key or Staff Key, the number one lever was usually the one with the Key lock attached and was in the REVERSE position and once unlocked by whatever means, was 'Put Back' to allow the operation of the other levers.
This ground frame was usually placed Parallel to the Running line and the operator stood with their back to the Running line when using the levers.
The frame could be on either the Up or Down side of any running line depending on its needs.

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