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Horsted Keynes Re-Signalling

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HK Box

After a long gestation period plans were finally agreed for renewal of the track layout at Horsted Keynes, obviously impinging on the Signalbox.
 
Left: Horsted Keynes Signalbox in the days before the work began. Photograph: Richard Salmon

The old arrangement had the former number three road up starter and the point leading to numbers two and three roads controlled by a ground frame which in turn was under the overall control of the signalman in the box. This point did not have a lock for movements into the former number three road, resulting in all down passenger trains having to use the then number two road. Although the old numbers one and two roads do join north of the station, at "Leamland Junction", this had not been an operational route and trains could only enter or leave number one road from the south. We now have bi-directional running on all roads, so the new changes included making "Leamland Junction" operational and installing locking for movements south into what was number three road. When all of this trackwork was completed the points involved were then worked directly from the box.

Better signalling of the approach from the north (and at the same time a move further up the line for the advanced starter) created a demand for additional capacity on the signal box's frame. When considering as well the plans for the change to the layout south of the station, forty levers on their own appeared to be insufficient for our needs. Several ideas were put forward to cope with this problem, only two of which were really practical. The first was to build a replica, but bigger, box to replace the existing one (whose structure was in sore need of repair), and the second to enlarge the existing box whilst at the same time repairing it. Horsted Keynes Signal Box Neither of these options was, however, available as early in 1997 someone applied for, and obtained, a grade two listing for the whole Horsted Keynes station area, especially mentioning the signal box. We could knock it down in the interests of safety, but we could not modify its fabric in the slightest way!

So, where to go next? It was decided to have some functions operating remotely, as for the down distant signal at Sheffield Park. This means quite a few power-worked points and signals, a move which was not very popular but is, however, the best course of action and the one that is being instigated.


Work Progress

By clicking on the images you will be taken to a larger version, which may have more content than the smaller version on this page.

First Quarter 2014

At last! On Saturday, 11th January, the last signals (Nº26 Down Yard exit and Nº24A from Nº4 road to down-yard) were transferred back to the frame which means all the panel switches in the 'box have now disappeared.

The first movement to be signalled using this dummy was for a trolley that needed to go to the Down Yard.

Last three Horsted Switches Horsted Down Levers

Nº24A in the off position.

Trolley signalled into the Down Yard.

Text and photographs: Jon Bowers


Third Quarter 2013

Nearly all functions originally controlled using temporary switches, have been transferred to the lever frame. There are only three switches still in use and these will be transfered to levers in the near future. There are additional functions that have not previously been under the control of the signal box that also need to be connected to levers. The Long Section Working (Sheffield Park - Kingscote) is also yet to be commissioned.

The signal box is presently undergoing remedial repairs to replace rotten timbers and window frames. The pictures indicate the extent of the work.

Last three Horsted Switches Horsted Down Levers Horsted Up Levers

The last three switches.

Signal levers pulled for a down train from Kingscote.

Signal levers pulled for an up train from Sheffield Park.

Horsted 'box under repair

Horsted 'box under repair

Text and photographs: Chris Majer


Second Quarter 2013

All the signals have now been mechanically rehearsed to ensure correct adjustment and ease of operation, in some cases the electric signal motors were temporary disconnected but have now been reconnected until the appropriate electrical stages have been completed. The relay room work has also progressed well with stage 14 now commissioned out of the 18 stages required for final completion. The Sykes Treadle Instruments have been brought (back) into use at Horsted Keynes, applicable to the Up First Advance and Second Advance Starting Signals. They were last in action before the resignalling work started and at that time applied to the Down Starting Signals.

The photos are of the two instruments showing 'Free' for Up direction routes towards Kingscote and the second picture shows the complex mechanical arrangement on the underside of the lever frame.

Sykes Instruments Sykes Mechanism

The two Sykes Instruments.

The complex mechanical arrangement on the underside of the lever frame.

Photo: Chris Majer Photo: Brian Hymas

Text: Chris Majer and Brian Hymas

Brian Hymas has written a few notes about the recent work and the Sykes Instruments. This may be accessed here.


First Quarter 2013

This site has been rather quiet for the past year due to the emphasis of S&T work being on the push to East Grinstead, though attention has now turned back to Horsted Keynes.

Further signalling functions at Horsted Keynes have been converted from electrical to mechanical operation. The photo of the switches illustrates what is left to be transferred to the lever frame and the screw holes in the wall are a measure of progress so far.

A side effect of this piecemeal conversion is the interesting ergonomic impact of setting routes, with a combination of switches and levers. For example the photo of the lever frame has the route cleared for the Up Golden Arrow through Platform 2. This involves alternating from switch to lever several times i.e. 40 Outer Home (switch); 22 points & 37 Inner Home (levers); 31 Platform Starter (switch); 5 points and 29 1st Advance (lever); 28 2nd Advance (switch). The Signalling diagram should help to explain the sequence.

Horsted Switches Horsted Levers Horsted Diagram

The remaining switches.

The frame with many of the levers now in use.

The Signalling diagram.

Text and photographs: Chris Majer


Last Quarter 2011

Work is progressing with the transfer of signals back to the lever frame. The stumps, pulleys and wheels are in place from the box right up to the Up Second Advance Starter, a distance of about half a mile. Two shunt signals at the north end of the station have just been added to the frame (13 and 18) allowing two of the position light shunt signals to be removed. Approximately half of the levers are now in use with much of the preparation work track-side ready for the next batch of conversions. The most tricky part of the process is the stage-works required in the relay room to ensure the transfer of locking from electrical to electro-mechanical is carried out safely.

Horsted Levers Kingscote Panel Nº13 lever just after its function was transferred to the frame

The stumps in place northwards with the wires for 13 and 18 shunts.

The lead-away at the signal box with the wires ready for extending to the individual signals.

Nº13 lever just after its function was transferred to the frame.

Text and photographs: Chris Majer


Second Quarter 2011

All points are now operated from the lever frame and the signals are being transferred. So far numbers 39 (Up Calling-on) and 37 (Up Inner Home) have been transferred. The signal wire stumps and trackside pulleys and selectors are being installed and the Down Yard Shunting Gong has been reinstated, operated from a separate lever positioned by the South end windows. Some of the electrically operated semaphore signals are being converted to mechanical operation to restore the traditional method of operation and to release signal machines for the Kingscote resignalling project.

Horsted Levers Kingscote Panel East Grinstead Ground Frames

Levers in the Horsted frame. The black and blue one 'out' of the frame is for points 17 and the lock and the red one for Signal 37.

Newly installed Signal Wires leading away from the 'box.

The lever for the Shunting Gong at the south end of the 'box now reconnected to the Gong.

Text and photographs: Chris Majer


First Quarter 2010

The main change at Horsted Keynes is the ongoing transfer of point operating functions from the switch panel to the lever frame. By the end of March points 20, 22, 23 and 25 had been transferred. There have also been changes to some interlocking controls to tighten up the requirements for the signalling system. These include approach release of the Up Outer Home, where reduced overlaps apply beyond the Up Inner Home, and changes to the Down Inner Home when signalled into Platform 2 with an overlap set beyond the Down Platform Starter towards the Ardingly Branch.
The main S&T activity is presently not for Horsted but is concentrating on resignalling the north end of Kingscote Station with a new control panel installed in the presently operational temporary Kingscote Signal Box, awaiting the installation of track circuits, point machines and signal operating equipment. This work is required for the operation of the Kingscote - East Grinstead section.
The other main activity is the preparation of equipment ready for installation at East Grinstead. Two Ground Frames are required to work the run-round facilities and the access to the Network Rail infrastructure.

Horsted Levers Kingscote Panel East Grinstead Ground Frames

Levers in the Horsted frame. The two black and blue ones 'out' of the frame are for points 20 and 25 and their locks.

The panel instruments being installed at Kingscote for the extension to East Grinstead.

The two Ground Frames at Horsted that will be installed for working the East Grinstead run-round loop and access to Network Rail.

Text and photographs: Chris Majer


Third Quarter 2009

All of the locks and controllers are in place and are progressively being wired up to the distribution wiring frame on the wall of the locking room. When the links are inserted the wiring will be through connected to the relay room on the other side of the Up Yard Ardingly Siding.
The photograph of the locks and controllers with the covers removed, reveals the electric lever locks in the vertical plane and the controllers in the horizontal plane. The locks are in addition to the mechanical locking and provide, for example, back locks for the levers as well as point locking when the track circuit shows occupied.
The commissioning of the lever frame will take place in phases with first phase being the transfer of all points from the switches to levers in one session. This will leave a period where the signalman will operate the points on the lever frame but the signals by use of the temporary switches.

The distribution wiring frame Lever Locks and Controllers Overview

The distribution wiring frame.

Electric lever locks in the vertical plane and controllers in the horizontal plane.

Overview.

Text and photographs: Chris Majer


Second Quarter 2009

The Locks and Controllers have now been installed although not mechanically connected yet to allow the Signalmen to operate the levers with just mechanical locking so that they can operate the frame and get familiar with the new arrangement.
The pullies for the signal wires have been installed and despite the apparent random arranagement, have been carefully positioned so that the wires do not interfere with each other and can be routed via the adjusters for the long runs to the furthest signals.

Locking Room Locking Room Locking Room

The latest items installed in the locking room.

Text and photographs: Chris Majer

The mechanical locking is now complete and a walkway has been constructed over the operating floor locking trays. The work has now shifted to downstairs in the locking room where the electrical locking is being applied.

Lever Frame Walkway over locking trays Charles Hudson in downstairs locking room

Bert Bassett, one of the Bluebell's original Signalmen, inspecting the completed frame.

The walkway that has been constructed over the locking trays.

Charles Hudson, S&T leader, in the locking room downstairs where work has started on the electrical locking.

Text and photographs: Chris Majer


First Quarter 2009

The new mechanical locking for Horsted Keynes lever frame has been completed and provisionally tested. The mechanical actuators for the Sykes treadles and the train waiting indicator have been connected up. Work is currently progressing with fitment of pulley wheels for the wire operated signals. Many of the mechanical signals currently electrically operated using signal machines, will revert to mechanical operation and the recovered equipment transferred to Kingscote in readiness for the East Grinstead extension commissioning.

Lever Frame Lever Frame Under Block Shelf

The lever frame inside the 'box with the mechanical locking completed.

The lever frame and block shelf looking almost ready for use!

The mechanical actuators for the Sykes treadles and the train waiting indicator connected up under the Block Shelf.

Text and photographs: Chris Majer


First Half 2008

Most of the components to reassemble the locking are now ready and the next stage will be to refit the interconnecting bars and dogs in the locking trays upstairs (there are more downstairs) and attach the tappets to the levers (see photo of the lever frame). The interconnecting bars and lock dogs are ready and waiting downstairs under the signal box. Some components will need to be customised as the assembly work progresses because of tolerances with a large mechanism such as this. The picture on the right shows two interconnecting locking bars that are so long that they almost go from one end of the frame to the other!

Tappets Ready Locking Pieces Interconnecting Bars

The tappets sitting by the frame.

The locking pieces presently underneath the 'box.

The long interconnecting bars. (Click to see the full image).

Text and photographs: Chris Majer


All photographs are © copyright. Non-accredited pictures are © Peter Richards

The page showing the changes to the track layout at Horsted Keynes over the years may be of interest.

Updates from 1997 to 2000 are in the HK Signalling Work Archive 1,
for 2001 to 2003 in the HK Signalling Work Archive 2
for 2004/2005 in the HK Signalling Work Archive 3,
and for 2006/2007 in the HK Signalling Work Archive 4

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