Working Masterton When Unattended

With the elimination of tablet working and the reduction in staff numbers it was necessary to provide a flexible method of working Masterton when the station was unattended. The problem was compounded by the fact that the majority of trains terminated at Masterton.

This page documents how it was achieved.

Unattended Stations & Switch-out Stations

Unattended Station Under Tablet operation a train could run when a station was unattended even if the station could not be switched-out. The train ran without tablet, was not signalled and was authorised on a "Safeall" authority. The signals were kept at Stop and the lights extinguished. The Woods keys were locked in the station office, preventing the operation of the signals and points levers by unauthorised persons. The working timetables contain many instructions about specific trains running without tablet and not being signalled. Trains could not shunt at an unattended station.

Switch-Out Station A long tablet section was formed and trains ran with the tablet. Both Home signals at the switched-out station were cleared. This required both Woods keys to be in the platform frame which in turn meant there had to be a way of securing the frame while staff were absent. The solution, dating from at least 1915, required four keys (right). Trains could shunt at a switchout station.

Note that Masterton was not a switch-out station.

Locking Up Masterton When Tablet was replaced by Track Warrants staff were reduced (guessing here!!!) and the station became unattended for part of the day. It was necessary to lock the frame with the Up Home cleared. The problem was that Masterton had never been a switch-out station, so the frame was not fitted for locking. The solution was to build a lockable hut around the frame. Operating staff had keys to the hut.

Operating Masterton In 2004 Masterton is in Track Warrant territory. It is not a switch-out station because Up and Down trains can simaltaneously travel towards Masterton. Up trains, both passenger and freight, are signalled into the station. It is the practice to clear the Up Home before a Down train departs. There is only one through down train a day (a freight, Monday to Friday). The Down Home signal is kept at Stop and the train stops at a Stop board in rear of the signal. It is then authorised by Train Control to pass the signal at Stop. The "B" Woods key, which clears the Down Home is locked in the station office when the station is unattended.

Switch-out Frame. Diagram from the 1965 Tablet Regulations showing how to switch out a station and lock both signal levers reverse. Four keys were required - the two Woods keys, a points padlock key and switchout key.

Locking The Masterton Frame

The Masterton frame is locked. Currently a points key is used to lock the hut door, although originally a Track Warrant key was used.

Masterton frame unlocked. The four lever frame can be seen. The two outer levers are out of use - they once worked the semaphore distants. Although not visible in the photo, the two Woods keys are in the locks.

Last Updated: Saturday, December 31, 2005

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