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Hitchin

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  #1  
Old 7th April 2020, 20:47
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graham9qh graham9qh is online now  
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Hitchin

Does anyone have or know the location of any photos of Hitchin, Hertfordshire shed, sidings/yard & station at the height of it's usage. I would have passed thro' it on a trip behind Scotsman once but didn't know I would later be living here, so am interested in seeing anything now. Shed has gone & extensive sidings now a housing estate. I understand it was home to several different classes of loco.
Regards
Graham


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  #2  
Old 8th April 2020, 19:24
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Beeyar Wunby Beeyar Wunby is offline  
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Hi Graham, I'm at work at the moment but I'm pretty sure that my copy if GN Sheds (south) has something. I'll have a look tomorrow when I'm off.
Cheers BW
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Old 9th April 2020, 11:10
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Beeyar Wunby Beeyar Wunby is offline  
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Right. There's quite a bit in there, including a rather nice schematic. I'd love to post it up on here, but I suspect that's not allowed due to copyright law. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Graham - If you PM with an email address, I'l scan and send the info to you.

Cheers, BW.
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Old 14th April 2020, 12:12
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Beeyar Wunby Beeyar Wunby is offline  
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I've just remembered a little Moral Dilemna that happened to me at Hitchin.

Some time ago after the Thameslink railway amalgamated with the Great Northern railway as a precursor to the Thameslink 'empire spreading to Peterborough and Cambridge, the opportunity arose for me to transfer away from the 'Suvvern' to a depot on the GN.

I leapt at this, and after about 7 months of traction and route learning I was 'passed' as a GN driver. It's always a bit scary (well I think so) when you start a new region, because there are always traps that you haven't picked up on in training. A misunderstanding can easily lead to a SPAD, or worse still a collision.

Anyhoo I'd only been passed out a few weeks and was driving an 8-car 365, fast from Cambridge to Kings Cross. As I ran through Letchworth station the signaller rang me on the CSR radio to tell me that the ECML (East Coast Main Line) was broken again, and that he would 'put me away' in Hitchin Up Sidings.

I knew where it was, but as the sidings were only for use in emergencies there were no booked movements in there - so it hadn't been possible to travel over the route during training. The only thing I could remember was some driver I'd been on a cab-ride with saying "For goodness sake never let them route you into 2 Road - there's no overheads" (catenary).

So I terminated at Hitchin Platform 1 and chucked the passengers out (which they just loved ), then changed ends and tootled into the sidings, All good so far. Once in the sidings I went to the 5th stanchion (because a 4-car takes up roughly 2 stanchions) and changed ends again - ready to come out. After setting up the radio so that the signaller could call call me when it was time to come out, I dug my book out and settled down for the duration.

After about an hour I thought it might be prudent to go for a walk and make sure I knew which signals would apply to me on the route out of the sidings. The exit signal back to Platform 1 was a GPLS (colour light shunt signal), but before the King Points there was a STOP Board. Strangely though it had no instructions on it. Usually they have writing under the red blob; like 'Contact signaller' or 'Obtain Shunter's Permission'. But this just said 'STOP'.

Whenever you're not sure about a movement that you have to make, it's wise to call up the signaller and get a full explanation of what you are expected to do. All Safety Critical calls on the railway are recorded, so you've covered your back as well.

So, when the signaller eventually called me to let me know that the ECML was moving again, I asked him for permission to pass the STOP board. His reply was that his responsibility ended at the GPLS, and so he could not comment. He suggested I spoke to my control. Which I did, and they said that they don't authorise movements and I should speak to the signaller.

At this point the GPLS came off. So I'm sitting there, unable to move until I receive authority so pass the STOP board (doing so without authority is classed as a SPAD), and nobody knows who it is who has the authority.

All the time that GPLS is OFF for me to come out, I'm blocking all commuter trains on the the Up side of the ECML - both the Up Slow from Peterborough AND everything coming from Cambridge, so I needed to do something.

Then I remembered a little local railway joke. Round here whenever you can't remember someone's name or you don't want to drop someone in it, you just say 'Bert'.

So I decided that I had to move the train, and if I was taken to task over this I'd have to say that some bloke called Bert who I'd never seen before had wandered over and given me authority.

So I slunk out of the sidings and never mentioned it to anybody for months, and nothing came of it.

To this day though, I have NEVER managed to find out from any Network Rail staff exactly who IS responsible for that STOP board. Maybe it's just a hangover from the days when the sidings were more busy and there was a Shunter on site to control movements?

I've pinned a pic of a Stop board below - though this is not the Hitchin one.

Cheers, BW
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 337px-Stop_Board.jpg (75.1 KB, 8 views)
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Last edited by Beeyar Wunby; 15th April 2020 at 10:12.
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  #5  
Old 14th April 2020, 14:42
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That's interesting & confusing, sounds like management needs to sort out signage!
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Old 15th April 2020, 09:38
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Beeyar Wunby Beeyar Wunby is offline  
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Originally Posted by graham9qh View Post
That's interesting & confusing, sounds like management needs to sort out signage!
Yes, signs & signals that don't apply should be either bagged up or removed. I don't suppose this rates very highly on NR's 'To Do' list though.

Cheers, BW
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Old 16th April 2020, 07:30
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That's a great account BW, many thanks, and illustrates how important knowledge and experience is when carrying out your work safely.
My eldest daughter, as part of her job in the rail industry, has to complete mainline route cab hours with drivers and often tells me of the fast responses required when even familiar runs have unforeseen changes.
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Old 16th April 2020, 11:59
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Beeyar Wunby Beeyar Wunby is offline  
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That's a great account BW, many thanks, and illustrates how important knowledge and experience is when carrying out your work safely.
Yes this is exactly so. It literally takes about about 10 minutes to learn how to move a train. But learning how to drive a train takes a hell of a lot longer, because you need to know everything about the route. You can't just chug along admiring the scenery, because something will bite you on the bum eventually.

Cheers, BW.
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