In my previous post, I mentioned one of the “bigger” changes for the most recent trial operating session – the commissioning of revised signal/control panels. This change was brought about by a good amount of feedback regarding the needless “separation” of shunt signals from main signals on the previous panels. The revised panels seek to replicate what the actual signal indication looks like on the signal/s on the layout – as these can often be unsighted by operators, so the panels work almost as a “repeater”. Below, the west end panel at Nankiva can be seen, with a low speed indicator lit (red over red over yellow – the “depart” signal), giving access to the headshunt:
So what does this look like on the layout? Below, T335 can be seen in front of the signal that displays the “red/red/yellow” low speed indication. T335 has completed shunting of VR Train Number 102 – the Nankiva to Portland goods and now requires access to the headshunt to be able to run around #102 for departure:
Having completed this move, all signals are returned to their “normal” position … red over red. However, T335 now requires access from the headshunt back into the yard … which is given by a dwarf signal. On the panel, this looks like …
… while on the layout, the view is as seen below – with the dwarf signal (a prototype, with thanks to the talented Bill Dick) giving a green aspect – it can be seen low and to the left of loco T335. In future, this aspect will be a yellow – Bill has already completed a second dwarf signal, which easily gives this aspect – I’m just yet to install the signal on the layout!
Once again, all signals are returned to normal and T335 is safely protected in the yard – now able to couple up to the recently shunted consist for #102 before “doing the brakes”. This gives the driver and guard a chance to check over the ABLO car cards – ensure their order is correct and corresponds to the train, that wagons “blocked” for their destinations to make shunting easier, etc. Once done, the crew will move forward to the departure signal and “phone in” to Train Control to advise of their readiness to depart. Below, it appears Train Control is a little faster than usual, as the “clear medium speed” (red over green) indication on the gantry has come quickly!
On the signal panel (now at the other/east end of Nankiva yard, as the train is heading towards Edehope and then Portland), the following (below) is displayed (T335 and train can be seen above the panel – in exactly the same position as the previous image) – though the red over green “depart” indication is a little hard to make out in the image:
The revised signal panels certainly seemed to be more user friendly than the previous versions – where all low speed and shunt signal switches were clustered to the left of each panel. I’ll admit that the panels are not quite true to prototype – but I’m happy with the compromise, especially given the ability for panels to act as repeaters for hard to see signals. They are also a bargain – a bit of painted MDF and a little time with a “Brother” brand labeller … almost too easy!
Above, T335 and Train Number 102 can be seen rolling out of Nankiva and heading down the grade towards Edenhope – the VR/East Staging location on the layout. The signal next to the ZLP van is the east arrival signal at Nankiva – control of which is given by the switches in the right of the previous image.
And finally (above), T335 brings #102 into Edenhope yard, with the consist of empty four wheelers rattling through the points. Above Edenhope, the “Southern Aggregates” siding at Border Junction can be seen, with three SAR HS stone hoppers loaded and awaiting collection by the next train westbound SAR train. Neither Edenhope nor Kybybolite (the SAR/West Staging location) have any signals … departure from these locations is given by Train Control, while arrival is governed by the departure signals at the previous station – for Edenhope, this is Nankiva (as demonstrated above), while for Kybybolite this is Tatiara Downs.