The night I got my master key

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The night I got my master key

Post  Provincial on Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:59 am

This is a tale from the last night of my passing out exams to become a fully fledged train driver.

It was a cold February night a few years ago, I had been completing my night driving hours and passing out on practical handling of the DMUs I was to sign. I had worked 142s, 150s, and a 156 all that remained was the 153 we were currently working with. We arrived back at 22:43 (4mins early) and the unit was booked to layover until 01:05 so my traction inspector had the idea of taking it back on its own so we could cover some rare goods lines we sometimes have to operate over when running ECS. He got permission from control and the signal box, so at 22:55 5T03 roared off into the night! We were building up speed nicely, got to about 65mph when we had to shut off as we were to be checked down for the connection into the goods line, the next signal was sure enough at danger, as I passed over the magnet it cleared to a yellow with the appropritate indication. Very gingerly picking our way along a line that hadnt seen a train for a while, we wobbled along at 10mph clipping trees as we passed. The signal that protects the exit was at danger, the signalbox just opposite controlling our movement. As I drew up to the signal it changed to green, I opened up - as soon as the wheels moved the signal went back to danger! I threw the brake back on, and the signal changed back to green!! Im not one to trust a signal that does that so I got down to use the SPT. The signalman explained that when we turned into the loop we vanished off his panel, but knew we were ok as he had been watching our progress out the window. He then said a passenger train had caught up with us, so could we wait for the signal please. No problem, it was a pleasant night so we stood on the embankment chatting, then 2x156s stormed past us, soon after the signal cleared. We climbed back onboard and, I opened up, released the brake - the singal went back to danger again!! I stopped again and the signal changed to green. I duly got down again and was informed that he had lost point detection (an interlock that proves the route is set and locked) I saw the points move back and forth a couple of times, and was then informed another train had caught up - could we wait please. about 10mins later a 150 running ECS passed us by - the guard waved! The points moved and the signal changed to green, I opened up and released the brake. As soon as the train moved the signal went back to danger, then changed back to green!!! I got down for a third time, and by now we were all laughing, the signalman couldnt explain why the signal kept failing, he pulled the signal off again, and said "The route is set, its green now, if it reverts again pass it at danger" We climbed back up and sure enough as the train moved off the singal went back to danger, as we passed it we watched it flicking between Red & Green. We stopped outside the box as the signalman was stood on his steps to ask us to fill a 3185 form in when we got back to the depot. All that took place over the space of about 40mins. We carried on towards the depot, getting stopped another couple of times due to a stopping passenger train in front of us.

On arrival on shed (00:45) we handed the unit over to the shunting staff for fuel & a wash while we went for a brew in the cabin. After a warm brew and a sandwich it was off into the yard to carry on with my traction exam consisting of preparation, disposal, coupling, uncoupling, identification of equipment, and fault finding procedures. After all that was taken care of we disappeared to the training room to start off the rules and regulations part of the exam process.
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Re: The night I got my master key

Post  Admin on Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:05 am

Thats a good story... Must be scary when signals do that. Arrow
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Re: The night I got my master key

Post  loonies125 on Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:58 am

that's good :> at least you had a laugh while you were at it and also nothin beats a brew at the end of it all!
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