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The levers at Edgware Road box on their last night in use before CBTC comes into use.

Many will know the Four Lines Modernisation (4LM) is currently underway despite delays. The next stage is currently being implemented this weekend. It was a very difficult subject to cover but here’s my report on what is happening, the last trains that ran under normal manual control – and the many various types of signals the ATO scheme will replace. The earlier date was pushed away from the 10th/11th August due to issues but also perhaps due to the fact someone may have thought it better introduced after Notting Hill Carnival. In retrospect it was a good move – because the system was almost on the verge of collapsing – and required a lot of human intervention Bank Holiday Monday simply to keep the trains running on one of the year’s busiest weekends.

Some had wondered whether TfL would really go ahead with their second stage of ATO after so many probems. They most definitely are as this poster released by TfL late Friday night shows. Thanks to TfL for giving me an advance copy of this.

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Notice of possible service disruption in first week of ATO (also applies to the Metropolitan Line.)

As was expected the Circle, Hammersmith, District and Met Lines will likely have teething issues that could create delays. The junctions are the most critical and also the fact Praed Street to Edgware Road station is to be a mix of CBTC and manually driven trains. TfL clearly expects a little more teething issues than were experienced with the initial Latimer Road stage.

The onset of ATO could be seen from the numerous wrapped up signs and also the new speed indicators, as well as the bailises and wi fi masts. But for stage1/2 they have also added some new touches and these are wheel detectors, according to the makers, these are really primarily for use at level crossings. But TfL has no level crossings!

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Frauscher wheel detector RSR123 in use for TfL’s new CBTC system. See You Tube.

However TfL have employed these new detectors all around the Baker Street and Edgware Road junctions and some distance beyond towards Finchley Road and Paddington. In the tunnels around Praed Street junction too they’ve installed many more bailieses than normal, so it seems the extra bailieses, along with the wheel detectors, are an extra safety measurement for the CBTC system. These were originally for the variable speed limit indicators thus the extra bailises around these locations may still be for the purposes of assessing train speeds though I am at a loss to know exactly what if its going to become ATO and the speed limiters become redundant.

Frauscher’s site says these new detectors are ‘highly resistant to electromagnetic interferences caused by eddy current brakes or rail currents.’ However they can in fact be used in other rail based environments.

It seems perhaps the standard CBTC system (wi fi masts, bailises) wasn’t quite up to scratch for the junction areas and that’s why there’s been this other substantial delay to the scheme. No doubt the original look of the CBTC scheme has changed enormously because of this extra work – it has in fact become more complex in order to retain the critical safety factor TfL has sought especially in regards of automated trains approaching junctions and some sort of extra fail safe system needed.

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Markings on Edgware Road’s eastbound platform for ATO tests.

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Similarly for the eastbound at Euston Square.

The following tweet is a picture of the platform starter at Paddington (Hammersmith branch.) Wry words indeed!

The signallers at Edgware Road were no doubt marking the end of an era too. The movements on the signal box’s illuminated panel of the last trains in and out of the station and into the sidings were recorded on video. A momentous occasion for this signal box that had actually been built by the original Metropolitan Railway company as part of its whole station rebuild at Edgware Road. The idea at the time was to provide more platforms in readiness for an express tube scheme that never came to fruition.

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Charley the regular signaller on his last night of duty in the 1924 built signal box.

I had asked the earlier shift staff at Edgware Road station for permission to do some photo work and things sort of fell together from there and the night shift staff accommodated me. I hope I wasn’t being a nuisance! I have to thank the TfL staff for putting up with me 🙂

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Tim fascinated by how Charley manages to keep all these train running!

It was a nice surprise to see Tm Dunn. The last time I saw of him was at the HST Finale – actually had captured a photograph of him in the rear cab of Sir Keith Grange as it passed Royal Oak tube station. I have seen him at other events too the most memorable being the Woolwich Ferry finale.

Update: Something of the former plans for the Kilburn express tube line…!

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Michael Horne says the blue crosses mark the alignment of the planned express tube to Kilburn. He says the signal cabin had provision & levers number 24/25 were intended for operating the junction to this. Source: Twitter (Note: Mike Horne’s Twitter account was deleted thus an archived image is used here.)

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Despite having known Edgware Road station much longer than any of the people working here (thats nearly sixty years) I’ve never seen it from this perspective!

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The last train to Ealing Broadway at 00.19am.

Edgware Road does see trains to all destinations on the District Line – including Richmond, Upminster (the latter via King’s Cross.) This going to Ealing Broadway would have no doubt worked back to Ealing Common depot after. Several trains from Ealing/Acton Town in the early am head to Edgware Road in order to take up duties on the Wimbledon branch.

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The final manually signalled train for King’s Cross at 00.41am.

In the above picture can be seen one of the many new rail mounted treadles (and its control box mounted underneath the platform edge) introduced as part of ATO stage 1/2.

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The last manually signalled (also regular manually driven) train for Hammersmith arriving at Edgware Road 00.53am.

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The station has shut down for the night and this is the final train to leave Edgware Road station under the manual signalling system. Its the empty stock departing at 00.58am for Hammersmith stabling depot

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Thales staff waiting to begin work at Edgware Road in the early hours of Saturday it being about 1.20am. They’re waiting for TfL engineers to declare the lines safe (meaning the current is switched off and track possessions permited) before Thales can begin their weekend’s work to switch the lines to CBTC.

Round up of some of the signals that have worked their last day on London’s underground:

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Royal Oak’s westbound platform starter up for wraps! These signals which are very numerous on the tube, were manufactured by the Westinghouse Brake & Saxby Signal Co. Ltd from 1926-28.

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Royal Oak’s unusual BR style two aspect starter will no doubt join the ‘hood!’

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Three aspect on the Hammersmith branch just before Westbourne Park. Another early Westinghouse Brake & Saxby model from the late 1920s or early 1930s – with about five and half hours of work left. No doubt it’ll be wrapped in plastic like all the previous ones.

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Five different colour light signals in this view at the western end of Edgware Road’s station – all to be wrapped up – and the CBTC signs unwapped in return! Almost all are Westinghouse Brake & Saxby signals and most likely installed as new in the late 1920s along with the signal cabin.

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Signal OP30 in its last hours as a crew change takes place at Edgware Road station.

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The rarely used eastbound starter on the westbound platform probably hasnt seen use for a while so its last day of use was probably a good while back.

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This very unusual ‘cabinet’ signal will go the way of the others. This is the eastbound repeater at Baker Street.

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In the dark tunnel at the far end of the same eastbound platform is Baker Street’s platform starter and co-acting signal. Due for retirement.

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The platform repeater on the northbound Metropolitan at Baker Street.

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The four aspect and the two aspect signals controlling the eastbound exit from the Met platforms at Baker Street.

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Close up of the four aspect signal. Note also the trip cocks. These will be taken out of use too as they are not required under CBTC.

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Great Portland Street’s eastbound starter (out of sight but its reflection can be seen) has only about five more hours of operation.

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Great Portland Street’s westbound starter. Wont be alright after this particular night.

The biggest victims of the 4LM/CBTC modernisation? London Underground’s centenarian signals – some of which have been working more than a hundred years! They’re the few remaining coffee pot signals and the first batch of four should be wrapped up this weekend.

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Great Portland Street’s eastbound coffee pot signal in its last hour and about to end its long years of service.

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Baker Street’s well off platform westbound starter – moved to accommodate the longer S stock – shortly to be disconnected from control further up the tunnel at Edgware Road.

And finally those variable speed indicators (except they are not variable in any case…) introduced a few years ago will likely be retired. There is no need for these if the trains’ speeds are to be maintained by computers. Its under the wraps too!

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Edgware Road’s ‘variable’ speed indicators which actually show either 20mph or 10mph! The other side shows 15 or 10mph.

Other observations re the second stage of the 4LM:

This will be the first time the Metropolitan Railway has been brought in as part of the 4LM automation. Its a unique situation however because – compared to the Hammersmith and Circle Lines – its not the end of a journey where the train simply remains in ATO mode, but rather one where the driver has to switch into around Kilburn/West Hamsptead (the wi fi masts extend only a short distance beyond Kilburn station and presently there are none whatsoever northwards from there.) The driver must be ready to utilise CBTC fully by Finchley Road. By the time their train reaches Euston Square they have to switch out of CBTC and once again use manual driving to reach their destination (being either Moorgate or Aldgate.)

Conversely both the Circle and District Lines from the High Street Kensington direction use manual through the short CBTC controlled section into Edgware Road from the High Street Kensington direction. This situation will remain until the High Street Kensington lines are fully up and ready to go to ATO.