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Horsted Keynes Re-Signalling
Archive of Progress 2 (2001/3)

Horsted Keynes Resignalling: 2008-14 - 2006-7 - 2004-5 - 2001-3 - 1997-2000 - Track layout at Horsted Keynes

First Quarter 2001

Another "busy behind the scenes" quarter. Work continues towards re-connecting all funtions to the Signalbox with temporary panel switch boxes being installed.

Second Quarter 2001

No 4 road down starter At the beginning of April the non-working starting signal at the south end of Nº4 road was powered-up and commissioned on 12 April. This is a great improvement as far as all the signalmen are concerned as they will no longer have to stand beside the signal in pouring rain with a flag or lamp held out ready for the departure of the train that may, in the case of the Pullman, be some ten or more minutes later leaving! (This signal, pictured right, presently has a non-working dummy protecting movements into the down yard. A temporary position light signal, worked from the 'box, will soon be commissioned and is behind the black plastic sheeting that can be seen a little below the main arm.)

The Signalbox itself has received some more paint and has now gained an authentic notice on the front warning staff not to touch the conductor rails. Eventually it is planned to lay some dummy third rail on the Ardingly siding, thus adding some slight credibility to the notice!
The Signalmen's foot crossing has been re-built and re-positioned, having been partly removed to allow the re-alignment of Nº1 road.

HK 'Box The re-built foot crossing. Conductor Rail Sign
The Signalbox, the re-built foot crossing (photograph: Chris Majer) and a close-up view of the notice.

By the 21st June further new work was commissioned. The new trap points in the Down Sidings came into use with the result that 'A' Road points revert to being just hand points, the Ground Position Light shunt signal controlling the exit from the Down Sidings has moved to 3 yards south of the new trap points and the above mentioned Position Light Subsidiary signal was brought into use to control movements into the Down Sidings. The trap points in the Ardingly Siding were brought into use, together with a fixed ground signal controlling the exit from the Siding. For the present movements past this signal into either Nº1 Road or Nº2 Road will be authorised by the signalman. Finally, a new Position Light Subsidiary signal has been provided, together with a stencil route indicator, below the arm of Nº2 Road Down Starting signal. The route indicator displays 'M' for main or 'S' for the Ardingly Siding.

7 to Single Line 24A to Down Yard 8 to Single Line
From left to right: Nº7 signal cleared from Nº4 road to the single line, Nº24A shunt signal cleared from Nº4 road to the Down Yard and Nº8 signal cleared from Nº3 road to the single line.

92240 standing by No.8

The 9F waits for the "Right Away" by signal Nº8 with the line clear from Nº3 road to the advanced
starting signal on the single line. Photograph: Chris Majer

Third Quarter 2001

Panel Switches The S&T have been busy installing the track circuits from the single line up through the station as far as the north end whilst the work on the installation of the temporary panel switches and track circuit indicators has been progressing all year and as can be seen from the picture, (photograph: Chris Majer) on the right, is now almost complete. Once the lever frame is re-connected these switches will, of course, be dismantled with the track circuit indications being moved to the Signalbox Diagram, which will be some nine feet long!

In conjunction with the installation of the track circuits the non-working arm has been removed from Nº2 road down platform starter so that this function can now be controlled by the temporary position light signal which is, of course, protected by the route needing to be proved clear before the signal can be pulled off.

Observant visitors to Horsted Keynes may well have seen parts for the new Nº3 and Nº4 Roads' Down Starting Bracket Signals up against the Dock wall. This is yet another fine piece of signal-making by the Alf Brown gang. In the meantime, preparations are being made for replacing the Route Indicator that works in conjunction with the Inner Home Signal.

New Starting Signal No.2 Road Down Starting Signal Route Indicator

From left to right: 1.The parts for the new bracket signal; 2. the present Nº2 Road Down Starting Signal and 3. work under way in preparation for installing the new Route Indicator. Photographs: Chris Majer.
New Starting Signal

The new 3/4 road down starter bracket erected.
Photograph: Richard Salmon.

Fourth Quarter 2001/First Quarter 2002

Route IndicatorWork continued throughout the winter on the replacement route indicator for the Up Inner Home Signal
Left: the new, halogen lamp, Route Indicator set for Nº3 Road. Photograph: Chris Majer
and towards returning the operation of Horsted to "normal", i.e. when two or more trains running - Up trains through Nº4 Road, Down trains through Nº3 Road, and when only one train running - both Up and Down trains through Nº3 Road. For this to happen the track circuits had to be in place throughout the Platform Roads, the Nº3 Road Up Starting Signal, previously fixed at danger, had to be motorised and connected to the Signalbox and the Nº4 Road Up Starting Signal, previously worked from the ground frame, had to have it's "slotting" replaced (i.e. operated by the ground frame and the Signalbox.) Either the Signalman or the ground frame attendant may pull his lever first, the signal will not come "off" until both levers are pulled (or switch, as is the temporary situation in the Signalbox). In accordance with the principles of sequential signalling it is also necessary for the Advanced Starting Signal to be proved "on" before the Signalbox lever (switch) can be operated.

This work was finished during the S&T working week in March and the new arrangements were commissioned on Wednesday, 20th March 2002.
The Up Outer Distant and Up Outer Home/Inner Distant signals have had electric lamps installed, replacing the oil lamps previously used.

3 Road36 Signal
Above left: Nº3 Road set for the single line north and right: close-up of Nº3 Road Starter
Photographs: Chris Majer

From now on we will revert to using Nº3 road only for Table 3 (unless an extra train is running) which makes life a little dull in the Signalbox with no points to operate but is better for the Station Staff midweek when staffing is low as there is no need to man the ground frame and only one porter is required to see a train away. It will also be more convenient on Saturday evenings when the last Pullman will leave from Platform 3, giving the Guard just one side of the train to check at a time when there are no Station Staff. Previously, with the two platform faces of Nº4 Road, he had to rely on the assistance of the Signalman to ensure all doors on both sides of the train were safely closed.

Inside 'box The picture on right is of the temporary panel switches inside Horsted Keynes Signalbox which are controlling the points and signals until such time as the lever frame is re-commissioned. The route is set for, and all signals are off for, an Up through Train using Nº3 Road.
Photograph: Chris Majer

The lever back drives, which drive the electric lever locks, have been fitted on the frame and will be carefully measured and marked to obtain the exact amount of movement required. They will then be removed and drilled prior to being finally reunited in the frame. Well out of sight work is progressing in the relay room where hundreds of yards of cable have already been used, with a similar amount still required.

Second Quarter 2002

Stop signal The latest signal to be commissioned is the temporary Stop Board controlling the exit from Platform Nº1 towards the Ardingly siding. This signal will, of course, be replaced by a semaphore arm in due course.
Photograph: Chris Majer


Third Quarter 2002

Work continues to be mainly "behind the scenes" although one or two indications of further progress are to be seen by the keen observer. The Alf Brown gang is making good progress with the new signals, work not always visible until finished, but due to movement of stock in the siding behind the Signalbox they were performing in public recently should anyone have looked in the correct direction as their train arrived or departed the station.

New repeater Yet another signal has been re-commissioned. On 3 August the up outer distant (just "the up distant" on the old layout) was brought into use. This is one of the signals that is not lever controlled but works automatically when the outer home signal is pulled off, provided a train has not already passed the site of the outer distant. With the sharp grade by the outer home signal this advance warning that the signal may well be "on" will allow a driver to slow his approach in the hope that he won't have to stop and re-start his train on the 1 in 75 grade. The left-most repeater in the photograph shows green to indicate the outer distant is off.

Photograph: Chris Majer

No Staffs One of the operational problems of single lines is the unequal use of the single line tokens. On the Bluebell it is often the case that two engines will use two train staffs to travel from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes as light engines in the morning, but only bring one back in the evening, either through one making a double-headed train or by the two light engines travelling together. In this instance two staffs will have gone up to Horsted Keynes, but only one will have returned. It is not difficult to see that this imbalance can quickly build up, so when it does there is a procedure for removing some staffs from one instrument and replacing them in the other, thereby evening out the distribution. On Friday, 2 August, the traffic was such that every staff in the Sheffield Park instrument was in use at one point during the day. This most unusual occurrence is reflected in the photograph on the left which shows the instrument with no staff in it. The staffs quickly came back again, and more were transferred from Horsted Keynes, so that anyone looking in the Signalbox on the Saturday would have seen a good number in situ.

New bracketThe bracket for the new signals Nº6 and Nº7 is progressing well and can be seen on the right. These signals should be commissioned before the end of September, at which time the temporary Nº7 signal and Nº24A position light signal will be removed, thereby freeing up the trackbed for the completion of the new dock road.

Photograph: Chris Majer

Old 6 and 7On the left is the present post carrying signal Nº7 and position light signal Nº24A, as viewed from the gantry of the new signal!

Photograph: Chris Majer

No Staffs Another of the sights you won't normally see on the Bluebell is the out-of-use signal arm, denoted by a white "X", as it is not the Railway's policy to use such things. If a signal is not in use then the arm should be removed. However, on 8 September the arms for the new numbers 6 and 7 signals were temporarily placed in position for sighting purposes, and as they were not in use they had to carry the white "X". Once the sighting had been checked the arms were removed again, but not until a couple of trains had passed this most unusual of Bluebell sights! (The two signals to the left of the new bracket are the present Nº6 and Nº7).

Photograph: Chris Majer

Fourth Quarter 2002

New Signal New Signal The final quarter of the year got off to a very good start with the commissioning of the two new down platform starters, Nº6 and Nº7, during the afternoon of Saturday, 5 October.
The left-hand picture shows the two arms at danger, with the temporary position light signal at the base of the left-hand post showing clear for a shunt move from Nº4 road towards the down yard. In the right-hand picture signal Nº6 indicates the road is clear from Nº3 road to the advanced starter.

Photographs: Chris Majer

The finials, which are reproductions, were painted white instead of grey and have been sent for a repaint.

Bye bye!
As always, when it's in with the new, it's out with the old! The picture on the right shows the old Nº7 signal being dismantled just after the new one was commissioned. The signal arm is being handed down, no lightweight job as they are very heavy, partly due to the weight of the spectacle plate casting!

Photograph: Adrian Lee

New 6and7 New 8 This left-hand picture shows the new signals from halfway along platform Nº5 whilst in the right-hand picture beside Nº1 road is the structure for the new Nº8 signal which is planned to go up later this month at the south end of platform Nº2.

Photographs: Chris Majer

On 9 November a banner signal on platform four and an "OFF" indicator for platform five were commissioned. These are needed as either the canopy and/or a train in Nº4 road can obscure sighting of the down starters, a problem resolved by these. When the down starter for Nº4 road is off, the banner repeater will rotate to imitate a semaphore arm and the "OFF" indicator will illuminate. The banner signal will only be used in conjunction with the down starter, but it is possible that sometime in the future by use of additional "UP" and "DOWN" indicators the platform five "OFF" indicator could be used for up trains as well as down ones.

OFF Banner On the left is the "OFF" indicator and on the right the banner signal.

Photographs: Chris Majer


OFF On the left can be seen both the "OFF" indicator illuminated and the banner off in conjunction with the starting signal at the end of the platform being off. If you look closely you will see that the finials for 6/7 signals are now in place.

Photograph: Chris Majer


Bracket On the right can be seen the bracket signal post for platform 1 & 2 down starters is in position. The left doll will be a full arm for 8A signal. The short doll will be a ringed short arm for shunting to the Ardingly branch as will the signal on the right doll applying to platform 1 (until such time as the branch is reopened).
In the short term the 8A and the position light signal will go on the gantry so that the temporary post can be removed.

Photograph: Chris Majer


Dock The Dock siding is almost complete and 26B route (from Down yard to the Dock siding) will be commissioned soon. The exit signal from the dock will be a non-commissioned mechanical shunt requiring authority to pass until the lever frame is commissioned, at which time the position light signal will be replaced with a proper Southern disk shunt signal.

Photograph: Chris Majer

Dock Signal

And here is that non-commissioned mechanical shunt signal,
photographed by Jon Bowers on 1 December.

First Quarter 2003

This is a bit of a cheat really as the work was done in December! However, January 1st saw the new Nº8 signal moved onto the main post of the new bracket signal at the end of platforms 1 & 2 and the Dock Road both in use.

Signal Dock Road

Photographs: Chris Majer

The photo on the left shows the route set for the Ardingly road and the photo on the right is of the Dock Road with a Wickham Trolley in situ.

Main activity during January centred around the north end of the station, getting the new location cases and through cables installed. The location cases are being wired up outside the Signalbox and trolleyed to their site. For example loc. HK10 was finished on Sunday and taken to its site at Horsted House farm where it will work the new outer home (and distant) No. 1 signal. Also waiting for the new Inner Home signal No.4 to be erected is the double width theatre type route indicator that can display platforms 1-4 as well as T(hrough) and L(oop) for the main and alternative routes.

Text from Chris Majer

Route indicator Dock roadLeft: The theatre type route indicator outside Horsted Signalbox.
Right: As can be seen, full use is being made of the new Dock Road! Here it is occupied by the Vintage Train Carriages as Normandy passes whilst shunting.

Photographs: Chris Majer

The weekend of 15/16 March saw a lot of activity on the Permanent Way front as they commenced operations to slew the Ardingly siding over and extend the running line up to the missing viaduct. The stock had to be dispersed around the station yard to allow the track to be moved and was put back during the Monday Shunt.

Ardingly siding Ardingly sidingWork in progress slewing the track across to the righthand side of the foundation.

Photographs: Chris Majer

Down Inner Home The S&T continue to install the new location boxes at the London end of Horsted and the new Down Inner Home is being assembled outside the box ready to go to site. This is the signal that has the new double width theatre type route indicator mounted on it.
Photograph: Adrian Lee

Second Quarter 2003

On 1 April "TPWS" was fitted to signal Nº6. The date alone should have been a sufficient give-away that this was a wind-up, but many fell for it!
The S&T are busy installing the new location boxes towards Kingscote and have prepared the track circuits and signal controls ready for the changeover, whilst the new through cables are sitting in a wagon in platform 1 (the cables won't be run out until the new troughing route to Horsted House Farm is complete).
The Ardingly branch has had the siding relaid but the through line is awaiting the preparation of the track bed. The photo of the end of the track bed shows the extent of the problem! Something akin to the edge of a precipice.
A level crossing has been installed for works access to the Ardingly branch site

TPWS Ardingly Trackbed Ardingly Crossing
Camelot approaches the "TPWS" fitted signal. The Ardingly trackbed. The Ardingly level crossing gates.
Text and photographs: Chris Majer
The new double width theatre type route indicator installed on what will be the Down Inner Home Signal. This is already attracting comments such as "Cinemascope"... etc!
The new troughing that is being installed can be clearly seen here.

Photograph: Jon Bowers


7 June saw the end of an era at the Bluebell Railway. On that date Charles Hudson and his team brought in the next phase of the Horsted Keynes re-signalling and the old Fixed Down Distant, the last paraffin lit signal on the Bluebell, was abolished. Adrian Lee, aka Paraffin Pete, is pictured, fag in hand, tending the lamp for the last time. Does anyone have a job for a man with an addiction to paraffin? There is also a picture of the signal - the camera is level but the post is not vertical as it leant to the West and the North (and the ladder was difficult to climb as a result). The post was removed with surprisingly great difficulty on 7 June and all that remains is a hole in the ground (starter homes for the bunnies that plague the area).

Paraffin Pete Left: Unemployed lampman!

Right: The leaning signal post

Leaning Signal

The new Down Distant (Fixed at Caution for the time being) is pictured with a white cross on the arm to show that it is not in use, shortly before 7 June. This signal will become the Down Inner Distant when the final phase of the re-signalling takes place. On the rail built post can also be seen (wrapped in black plastic) the fittings for what is to be the Down Outer Home. These will be co-acting arms, the lower for sighting by Loco Crews at close range, and the upper for sighting against the sky at a greater distance. The post is several hundred yards further North than the existing Down Distant, on the other side of Horsted House Farm Bridge.

New Distant Left: The Down Distant shortly before being commissioned

Right: A more "distant" view!

New Distant

The Down Home was also abolished and replaced with a new signal, with 'Wide Screen TV' route Indicator. This can only display '3' at present, as this is the only signalled route available. Further programmes will be available later, when the signal will become the Down Inner Home. There is a picture showing the new signal with white crosses alongside the old still in use and later one showing the new signal with route indication illuminated, with the stripped post behind, taken after the change over.

New Home Left: The Down Home with a temporary white cross, before being commissioned

Right: Now open for business with just the old post behind

New Home

Text and photographs: Adrian Lee

It is not just the signals that are progressing, inside the Signalbox the first instruments have been put on the block shelf and the lever frame tappets, which are all new and ready for cutting, have been installed.
The instrument with 2 Tyers galvanometers is in preparation for the long section working which will allow Horsted to close out. When Kingscote and Sheffield Park give a release simultaneously, the Horsted signalman will be able to move the King lever half way thus releasing the opposing locking through Nº3 Road. When the route and signals have been set correctly the Anetts key release next to the Up Outer Distant will be operated to get the long section token section in-phase, thus completing the process. The up and down route indicators on the Home signals will normally be unlit when Horsted is closed out, but will light as a train approaches before the signal is visible to the driver.

The points operated electrically have illuminated indicators showing N or R. This is all very much like a typical Southern signal box which had been partially transferred to power operation.

New Instruments New Instruments New Instruments
The Block Shelf showing the instruments installed so far. The long section switching-out instruments.
New Instruments New Instruments Tappets
The Sykes instruments will be used as indicators. The twin galvanometer instrument. The new tappets attached to the levers.
Text and photographs: Chris Majer

Third Quarter 2003

Progress during August included placing the dolls (upper posts) on the bracket gantry at the south end of platforms 1 and 2, and applying signals 8A, 8B and 10, ready for connection to the lever frame. These will be wire operated. Progress with wiring up of the block shelf for all the instruments continues although the previous Train Arrived Complete instrument, which looked as if it were from the servants' quarters of a stately home, will sadly be replaced by a lamp on the minature illuminated diagram. The TAC will be used so that the station staff can advise the Signalman that a train is complete with tail lamp without having to ring the Signalbox.

Dolls Chris Majer Block Shelf
The dolls on the bracket signal. The photographer photographed! Block shelf instruments.
Text and photographs: Chris Majer
Fourth Quarter 2003

Recent activity has been concentrated on the relay room and around the station yard. The bracket signal at the south end of platforms one and two has had the temporary position light signal moved up to give better visibility and to clear the signalpost of obstructions.

Signals 8a, 8b and 10 Left: The temporary position light signal, showing the proceed aspect, raised up to its new home. Use your mouse to reveal the identity of the signals that will be installed.

Right: The hook selector. Again, use your mouse to ascertain the workings.

Hook selector

The preparation work for connecting the final mechanical arms for 8A and 8B to the lever frame involves the installation of a 'hook selector' on 22 points. This works by a bar from the points moving the hooks, the appropriate one then connects the wire from the lever in the Signalbox to the signal arm

Text and photographs: Chris Majer

On Saturday, 6 December, the arms were attached and the old Stop Board from Nº1 road towards the Ardingly siding was removed. All the arms are fixed at danger with moves from Nº2 road controlled by the position light signal and from Nº1 road towards the Ardingly siding by the Signalman giving specific authority to pass the signal at danger.

Signals 8a, 8b and 10 Two views of the completed bracket signals installed.

Photographs: Jon Bowers

Signals 8a, 8b and 10
New location of temporary position light signal. Doll for signal 8A for the route from 2 road to the single line and Sheffield Park. Doll for signal 8B for the route from 2 road to the Ardingly line. Doll for signal 10 for the route from 1 road to the Ardingly line. Signals 8A, 8B and 10 Connecting bar to points. Connecting bar to points. Hooks, as the bar from the points moves, one or other of these lines up with the apparatus at the end of the signal wire. Bar connected to signal wire from lever. The other ends of the hooks are attached to the wires to the signals. Connectors to signal wires. Hook selector

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Horsted Keynes Resignalling: 2008-14 - 2006-7 - 2004-5 - 2001-3 - 1997-2000 - Track layout at Horsted Keynes
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