Cambridge Power Box panel

4 of 4: Ely area


The final photograph in this series covers the lines around Ely station.

The first thing to note is that this section of the panel was built using a different technique. Instead of a large number of small tiles, it is constructed from much larger sections that would each have to be custom-drilled and painted. There are also some notational changes, notably in the way that stations and level crossings are shown.

Ely station platforms are represented by the two horizontal yellow bars just left of centre. The main line to Cambridge runs leftwards off the photograph, then jumps back to the top centre of the panel and runs leftwards a second time. The line at bottom left that turns around and then heads rightwards is the route to Bury St.Edmunds and Ipswich. As can be seen, it has a long single-line section and the directional arrows are visible in the middle.

The main feature of the right hand half of the panel is the complex of junctions at Ely North, including the loop line allowing through trains from March and Peterborough to avoid Ely. This line is bidirectional and does, indeed, only connect to the Up line at the southern (left hand) end. The three routes extending to the right head for Peterborough (top), King's Lynn (middle), and Norwich (bottom).

The monitor controls the level crossing at the north end of Ely station, which passes across four tracks. Also visible on the panel are no less than 12 AHB crossings, with the monitoring lamps below each one (while the signaller cannot work these crossings, he receives failure and status reports and is responsible for keeping trains away from an obstructed or failed crossing).

Something that may not be immediately obvious is that the lines between Ely station and Ely North are bidirectional. The arrows can be seen just to the left of the AHB, and each line carries separate buttons for northbound and southbound signals.

A button is visible on the top edge of the upper platform at Ely, just to the left of the panel boundary. This is an unusual case - a track circuit override button. A route can be set from a shunting signal on the Up line (a yellow button just to the right of the bottom of three vertically aligned train describer berths on the left side of the photo) into this platform. This normally requires the line to be clear but, if this button is pulled between the other two button presses, trains can be signalled in even though the line is occupied.

The controls to the right of the monitor are for the remote interlocking. The three describer berths at the bottom below Ely station are not part of the signalling, but are used for setting up new descriptions to be inserted into the system and for interrogating the location of trains. The extra berth below the line from Bury is probably a "second approaching train" indication.

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