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Temporary Speed Restrictions

Examples of GWR Temporary Speed Restriction signs

Examples of GWR Temporary Speed Restriction signs

Temporary Speed Restriction Rules

The following are extracts regarding the physical indication of temporary speed restrictions from the Great Western Railway Rules and Regulations (issued 1st January 1923):
Rule 244.

(a) Each Gang of Undermen must be supplied by the Inspector of Permanent way for the district with two Red and two Green Flags, two Hand Signal Lamps, and a proper number of Detonators. Each Ganger will be held responsible for having his Signals constantly in proper order and ready for use. The Flags must be used during daylight, the Lamps after sunset and in foggy weather or during falling snow, and the Detonators whenever necessary to attract the attention of Drivers.

(b) The Red Signal indicates Danger, and except as shown below must be used only when it is necessary to stop a train.

(c) The Green Signal waved slowly from side to side by Undermen indicates that trains must reduce speed to fifteen miles an hour or such other speed as may be prescribed over the portion of Line protected by such Green Signal.

Rule 256.
(a) Where the necessity for trains to travel at reduced speed continues for a lengthened period, the placing of Detonators on the rail, and also the exhibition of the Hand Caution Signal, may (except as provided in clause (c)) be dispensed with ; in substitution thereof a warning board, painted green, of the following shape, must be fixed not less than half a mile from the place to be protected, and in such a position as to be clearly seen by Drivers, but where there is difficulty in maintaining the distance of half a mile it may be slightly lessened under suitable conditions, as on a raising gradient.

During the night and during fog or falling snow, one Green and one White light must be placed side by side on the Warning Board [see diagram above]

Should the point to fix the Warning Board be in the vicinity of a fixed signal applying to the line affected, the Warning Board must be placed as near as practicable to such signal, care being taken that the conditions as to distance referred to above are observed.

Unless instructions to the contrary are issued, the Signalman must not keep his signals at Danger as laid down in Rule 255, clause (c).

(b) Warning Boards must only be brought into use after arrangements have been made between Engineering and Traffic Departments, and after due notice has been given in the Weekly or other Notices, indicating the positions of the Boards and the places and speed restrictions to which they refer.

(c) In foggy weather or falling snow, a Flagman must be stationed near the Warning Board. He must keep a Detonator on the Line affected and exhibit a Caution Signal by waving a Green Hand Signal slowly from side to side to the men in charge of an approaching train.

Should the Warning Board be placed in the vicinity of a fixed signal applying to the line affected, the Flagman for the Warning Bard must also act as Fogsignalman for the fixed signal. Until the fixed signal is lowered he must act in accordance with Rule 81. When the fixed signal is lowered for the passage of a train, he must act in accordance with the previous paragraph of this clause.

(d) The precise position of the work or place for which the Warning Board is intended will be marked either by a ‘commencement of speed restriction’ Indicator (see diagram ‘C’) of distinctive character or by a Flagman stationed on the ground, and when a ‘C’ indicator is provided a ‘termination of speed restriction’ Indicator (see diagram ‘T’) will also be fixed at the point where normal speed may be resumed. [see diagrams above].

Comments on Temporary Speed Restrictions

Temporary speed restrictions did not go without comment in the contemporary railway press. In the Railway Club Journal of June 1904 the following example was noted from Mr H Jefferies: The rebuilding of Bordesley Station is practically at a standstill, and the same may be said of the new station being erected near Acock’s Green at the junction of the new Stratford line with the main line, as although the earthworks are being rapidly pushed forward nothing has been done to the stations themselves for the last three months. The vexatious slow to 13 miles per hour under the new road bridge being built over the GWR near Small Heath is now removed, and the express can now whirl through the station at the old 60 to 65 mph, which means a saving of at least two minutes.

A less critical note was published in the same publication in March 1911: Finally I must conclude by referring briefly to my first journey over the new Great Western route to Birmingham. The engine was a 4-6-0 No 2907 Lady Disdain, on the 2.35 pm from Paddington with four vehicles for Birmingham and beyond, two for the Leamington slip, and one for Banbury, but all were of the largest classes. It was not possible to exceed 35 mph until about Greenford, for in addition to the usual easy running necessary to Old Oak, there were delays past Park Royal, owing to the wet weather causing landslips. Then at High Wycombe and West Wycombe the running was necessarily easy, and the speed over the new line was kept down to about 50 mph or only slightly over. Approaching Leamington there is a long slack at present and the station has to be taken quite slowly. Yet we reached Snow Hill just a minute under the two hours, and that without any specially fast running – just a steady 65 mph with an occasional mile or two at about 70.

Notices for speed restrictions including lines in Warwickshire for the period 2nd 8th July 1910

Cover of Speed Restriction Notices for period 2nd to 8th July 1910

Page 5 showing Speed Restriction Notices for Warwickshire during the period 2nd to 8th July 1910

Notices for lines in Warwickshire for the period 2nd 8th July 1910

Leamington – Cutting in connections and sluing line. This was associated with work in the station's northern approaches. At this time the old engine yard area was being converted in to siding space and the position of the up goods line facing junction was repositioned (10 mph). On the down side the main platform was being extended (25 mph). The new Leamington North Signal Box came into use later that year.

Hatton North Junction – Track relaying (All directions 10 mph). The bidirectional single track north curve and Hatton North Junction first came into use in July 1897. Although the north curve was doubled in June 1901, it is possible that this was done without any alterations to the switch trackwork at the junction.

Small Heath – Diverting Main Line and removing crossover from down line, this work was associated with extending the quadrupling of the track from south of Small Heath through to Bordesley Yard (Up line 30 mph, Down line 15 mph).

Wilmcote and Bearley West – Track relaying on up line (15 mph). When the North Warwickshire line was built, the existing single track Stratford Branch section between Bearley to Wilmcote was doubled in April 1907, by the laying of a new down line alongside the original track (The formation having been built to carry a broad gauge track).