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Miscellaneous: Operating Equipment & Practices

Signalling Procedure: misc_equip250

Another extract from the ‘Great Western Railway Regulations for Train Signalling on Double and Single Lines’

An extract from the ‘Great Western Railway Regulations for Train Signalling on Double and Single Lines’ detailing the operation of the Webb and Thompson Single Line Electric Train Staff System and a photograph showing the instrument with a ‘B’ configuration Train Staff inset. The Webb and Thompson Train Staff instrument was invented and patented by LNWR Engineers Francis Webb and Arthur Thompson in 1889. The Train Staffs were similar in appearance to the wooden staffs which had been used previously, but were considerably heavier, weighing approximately three and a half pounds. This made them difficult to transfer when the locomotive was moving and resulted in the development of the lighter tablet and token systems. In Warwickshire, the Henley-in-Arden Branch used the Electric Train Staff between Rowington Junction and Henley-in-Arden and the Halesowen Joint Railway used the Electric Train Staff System between Halesowen and Rubery and between Rubery and Longbridge West Signal Box. The single line from Hatton Branch Junction via Stratford-on-Avon to Honeybourne also used the Electric Train Staff until most of this route was doubled during the construction of the North Warwickshire Line in 1907. The remaining single line section between Hatton West Junction and Bearley East Junction was subsequently converted to the Tyer’s Electric Key Token system.

Each Train staff was an iron tube 1¼inch in diameter and 23 inches long, with five brass rings of 2 inch diameter. It was identified with a brass nameplate fixed to one end of the staff. The configuration was determined by the distance between the centre lines of the fourth and fifth brass rings. The normal train staff colour code was:

Configuration Ring Spacing Staff Colour
A 3½ inches Red
B 3 inches Blue
C 2½ inches Green

Robert Ferris