Would appreciate help with signal placement....

arbomambo Dec 19, 2011

  1. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    Hello all....
    track has arrived for the Santa Fe room layout..will be able to start laying it right after Christmas!
    However, I do want to add scale signals to the layout...I'm a little at a loss as to, exactly, where I'd need to put the signals...
    It is an ATSF layout; circa 1957...and I'd like to use a couple of ATSF-style cantilever signal bridges, as well as pole-mounted...

    I've done some research (online) of signal aspects and their meanings..here are some links which are pretty comprehensive as they pertain to meanings

    http://www.lundsten.dk/us_signaling/aspects_atsf1995/index.html

    http://trn.trains.com/en/Railroad Reference/ABCs of Railroading/2006/05/Railroad signals.aspx

    They're very helpful, especially as they pertain to the ATSF, but I'd appreciate input on 'where' the ATSF would have used a signal, roughly, where they'd be positioned (which side of track, etc), and how inclusive they would be...


    I drew a diagram of the arrangement at Dalies, NM, where the Glorieta sub meets up with the Belen cutoff, the last time I railfanned that location...the amount of signalling there was amazing....a double crossover is in place west of the junction to allow trains to access both tracks...I'll have a feature similar to this as well...
    I'm posting a rough drawing of the actual trackplan, and would love input on where one would install signals and how many targets, and what they would control....

    [​IMG]

    as one can see, I actually have two junctions, to allow expansion and staging to either 'wing'...
    as an aside, in addition to the signals needed to regulate/protect the junctions and crossovers, I'd like to put a signal along the curving track between the arroyo and the mesa, as a 'scenic' aid...would/could a signal be prototypical there?...a block signal, perhaps?

    Thanks in advance,
    Bruce
     
  2. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    Once you get through this, you'll understand more than you'll ever want to! This explains WHY you see cantilevers and signal bridges on ATSF - the left-hand running issues that were there and why.
    http://www.rrsignals.net/Atsf/Albuquerque/2ndDistrict/Lefthanded.htm

    I'm doing the Winslow area, so I had to learn...

    You're probably looking at two 'home' signal bridges on either side of the crossovers on the top (protecting east and west), likely either set for left-hand running or bidirectional (depending on the year modelled). Then think about where the various approach signals would be, if left-hand running on double track then you get to play with cantilevers....

    On a layout this small you can probably do the same thing I do... I set a simple set of directional DPDT's for track direction; that direction gets 'green' and the reverse direction gets 'red'. If you start throwing facing point switches you get a yellow in your face; trailing point switches get you a red as they should.

    From a practical standpoint you're still a little stuck with the lack of a really-good tiny true tricolor target LED out there. BLMA keeps promising....they certainly have the right ATSF signal bridge. Traincat is promising a second one and has the proper cantilever now in brass.
    Meanwhile, I set up the HOME and APPROACH targets simply with different-colored LED's, if the technology catches up I'll fix them....
    http://www.blmamodels.com/cgi-bin/w...l.models.htm&t=main.red.htm&itemid=Gustafson1
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2011
  3. mr1967

    mr1967 TrainBoard Member

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    here's how the crossovers and junctions should be protected and controlled... the D is a dwarf keeping the siding from fouling the main.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Jerry M. LaBoda

    Jerry M. LaBoda TrainBoard Supporter

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    You'll need two headed signals at the crossovers on both tracks (and in both directions if these lines are bi-directional) and other two headed signals at your expansion junctions on the points side of the switch, with a single head signal* on both the expansion track and the mainline. (* Technically speaking a standard head signal with a small red or lunar [white] light below it to indicate an absolute stop signal, but you can get away with what some roads did by applying a round disc painted yellow with "A" on the disc, which was also applied to absolute stop signals on some roads.)

    You already have a bit of understanding on how the two-headed signals would be set up (top for the straight route through a switch, the lower head for the diverging route)... these will also need to be marked with the "A" disc or you could go with a three head signal with the bottom one being a constant red or lunar signal.
     
  5. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    GREAT link to the signals...
    and...WHY...with all the visites to BLMA's site...have I not seen this tutorial?
    I've built the NJ international cantilevers a number of years ago...(IMO...they were pretty darned good)...but the BLMA bridges look great (I downloaded the instructions a number of months ago)

    here is a nice telephoto shot showing Dalies...with all three cantilever bridges compressed in the shot...the farmost signal bridge to the left is, actually, on the single track line that veers off north to Albuquerque and the glorieta sub...the two signal bridges in the foreground are, obviously, for the crossovers...
    This trackplan (as far as mainlines) best represent the area on my little layout that include the crossovers...

    [​IMG]


    This area CERTAINLY was run 'left-hand'...and confirmed by your link...but I have no clue what was 'in place' back in the 50's (other than the cantilever bridges)

    Here is a quick diagram of where I'd put the bridges, based on your link and advice....

    [​IMG]

    other than the cantilever signal bridges, would you advise other signals in this area?...how do I signal for the 'set out' track?

    also, here is another pic of the other end of the layout...at the junction, considering that there's no crossover here, how and where do I place a signal for something running 'right-handed' to take or not take the diverging route....or, for left-handed runners, to 'watch out' for something coming off the diverging route?

    [​IMG]

    Bruce
     
  6. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    ooops...thanks guys...was posting as you both replied...
    Bruce
     
  7. mr1967

    mr1967 TrainBoard Member

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    the signal heads depend on the signal aspects displayed - refer to the Book of Rules and lineside photos for your prototype
     
  8. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    MR1967 has it right; bridges (bidirectional) on the top, RH home signal coming in from the branch. Just like Williams Jct, AZ - look at railpictures.net if you want to see what I mean. On the bottom, the bridge could be a cantilever for LH running on the trailing side of the switch. That would give you 2 bridges, an cantilever, a couple standard RH running home signals, and a dwarf if you want to protect the siding. Pretty nice for a small layout. You could certainly put signals on that lower curve as 'approach' signals to a distant block, no problem.
     
  9. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, all of you!
    Randall, mr1967..., I think I understand why you advise 'bi-directional' signals (I'm understanding that means signalling over both parrarellel tracks- like the pics of your signal bridge, Randall, and the one's at Williams Junction)...
    The situation at Dalies, with a 'stacked' double target signal facing only one line (the left of the two), seems to indicate that left handed running was the rule here...you can even see only one 'stacked' double target on the only 'double track' cantilever signal bridge for the traffic coming 'up' out of Belen...
    At this location, it appears the signal bridge targets were valid for left handed running only...it appears that ATSF also had pole mounted signals here facing and signalling traffic that was running 'right-handed' for whatever reason (routed around slower traffic, track maintanence, etc...).
    makes this junction, ands the signalling installed kind of confusing....
    the neat, tidy overhead signal bridges, at Williams Junction, over both tracks seems, like I said, 'tidy' and straightforward...kind of 'textbook'...
    All this gives me a little something to consider...

    protect the crossovers in the 'textbook' double track style, with the double track bridge with bi-directional signalling?

    or use the series of cantilever bridges, facing only the left hand side, and pole mount signals,facing the right hand side, like at Dalies, to do the same thing?

    the trackwork at Dalies obviously changes over the years, I don't have a clue as to how it looked in 1957, but that double track cantilever bridge is there for a reason (I can't imagine ATSF just using one because they had it 'on hand')
    Here is a track plan from the 'junctions' section on the SF Historical site

    [​IMG]

    this is probably dated earlier than my era, but shows the Belen cutoff track as a double track...

    Thanks again,
    Bruce
     
  10. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    Remember all the cantilevers accomplish is that they put the signal aspect over the RH rail side on left-hand running track - in steam days, required for visibility. The other thing they can accomplish is 'reaching over' a siding to put the main line display on the RH side in odd situations. Both of those situations exist at Belen and on the photos, but they don't necessarily exist on your model, so the choice becomes whether you are trying to model Belen or model Santa Fe practice. You can certainly do what you want, just remember why the cantilevers exist and look for situations. You have at least one for sure.

    The cantilevers date way back to LH running, and once they are there, they tend to leave them in place. But today, you're seeing them get ripped everywhere and get replaced with standard signals on the RH and LH side. Remember it is legal now to put a signal on the LEFT HAND side of the main for the left track facing, it didn't use to be. And it's almost standard practice now to 'bump out' a track to leave room for a signal in the middle rather than hang the aspect over from the outside on a cantilever structure.

    In Winslow, during a certain time period starting about the 70's, the entire mess was present - bi-directional CTC accomplished through addition of new signals PLUS the existing LH cantilevers, additional displays on the bridges, and new signals where necessary. East Winslow was a monument to the signal mess just like Belen is in your above shot, because they went from LH to RH running, and from two to three main tracks. The LH running east of Winslow toward Belen was cleaner until you hit messes like that junction.

    This is the 'modern view' of West Winslow, and it's painfully obvious that you don't need cantilevers anymore when you can simply put the block signal on the LH side of the track in a bi-directional CTC world:
    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=144899&nseq=49
    Note the signal on the RH side on the LH side of the main, facing opposite. That would have been a cantilever before.

    That's why the signal bridges got ripped too, no need to hand the display for the LH track running over top of the RH rail. Sigh. I miss them! That's one of the reasons I love modeling Northern Arizona - those double-track signal bridges everywhere. My own "East Winslow" has a signal bridge, a standard new mast, and an cantilever all together, just to memorialize that mess of an era.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2011
  11. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    LOL...Randall, you said it!...I only REALLY started railfanning from the early 90's on, with friends while living in central Texas...were still so many cantilever bridges there as well...just like coal towers on the SP west of El Paso...
    It would be 'easier' to install the Williams'-style double track bridges...
    but I agree with you, I really like the look of the cantilevers and the 'jumble' of this junction...they've even removed the large black water tank that stood here...
    Thanks again for the help...now, at least I've got a good idea how I can do it...
    Thanks again,
    Bruce
     

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