It’s the same but Different

Well over the last few weeks I have had a slight change of scene, swapping Bury St. Edmunds (on the line between Ipswich and Ely/Cambridge) for Saxmundham (on the East Suffolk line between Ipswich and Lowestoft) Still signalling under Track Circuit Block regulations but there are some differences. Bury St Edmunds has a lever frame (converted to trigger electric switches to operate points motors and colour lights) with replacement switches on a standalone unit for the auto section to the west of the patch) Saxmundham on the other hand is controlled using an MCS VDU system Bury holds the release for one ground frame (Kennett Roadstone siding) Saxmundham has 2 (one for a small siding known as the Hay Siding, the other for the Sizewell branch (more on that later)) Bury is double line throughout, Saxmundham has 3 single line sections. Bury has no level crossings, Saxmundham has Loads of them. (2 MCB OD, 1 MCB LC, 1 MCB RC, a rather odd AHB and a vast selection of AOCL+B, ABLC, Red/Green & User Worked Telephone Crossings. The Crossings are the busiest part of the job.There is an hourly passenger service in each direction and next to nothing in the way of freight, where as Bury is on one of the busiest freight routes in the region. with regards to Darsham AHB, it has a Drivers white light with a stop board in the Up direction only. this is due to trains in the up direction stopping at the station just before the crossing over the busy A12 road and is basically a safety mitigation.

On to the Sizewell Branch, this is the remains of the mothballed Saxmundham to Aldeburgh line and now ends at Sizewell sidings for the Nuclear Power station there (although it has been a long time since any flask trains have actually been up there, we see the occasional driver refresher run in that direction) as mentioned a ground frame release is needed to access the Sizewell branch and it is a staff worked single line. here is another interesting point, the staff for this branch is (I am informed) one of only 2 divisible train staffs still in use on the network……don’t ask me where the other one is I have tried finding out) this is basically an advancement of Staff and ticket working and means that in theory more than one train can travel along the branch in the same direction, no trains can come back until the whole staff is at the other end. however the likelyhood of more than one train along the branch under the current regs is very slim indeed.thats an update on where I am at the mo. still learning Saxmundham at this time. maybe I will find time/a subject for another diary post sometime before the next ice age.

Feel free to ask if there is anything you would like to know.

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