RETB Inverness

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Introduction

The lines North and West of Inverness are controlled from two workstations in Inverness Signalling Centre. The RETB workstation was split into RETB West and RETB North from Sunday 2nd December 2018.

  • The Dingwall to Kyle line was the first to use Radio Electronic Token Block Signalling (RETB), being publicly launched on 6 July 1984 and becoming fully operational from 28 October 1984. The Far North Line from Dingwall to Wick and Thurso was converted to RETB in December 1985.
  • These routes were initially controlled from Dingwall, and it was intended that the Inverness re-signalling scheme would include the Inverness - Dingwall section. However RETB was extended to Inverness with control moved to the new Inverness Signalling Centre in August 1988.

  • The original radio System was altered in December 1992, with frequencies changed from VHF Band II to Band III.
  • The 'Next Generation RETB' radio system was brought into full use from 4th December 2016, using radio channels in the 2XX series, with the 1XX numerical channel change boards removed, and Invergordon being the only location where manual radio channel change was required.
    • The main radio base stations for West section are: Mount Eagle (Channel 209), Garve (205), Achnasheen (210), Balnacra (203), Duncraig (208) and Kyle of Lochalsh (213).
    • The main radio base stations for North section are Fearn, Tain (216), Balblair Wood (212), Helmsdale (211), Knockarthur (213) and Ben Dorrey (210).

  • Since April 2023, the two RETB workstations have been auto-reporting arrival and departure times of passenger trains to TRUST when token exchanges take place. For non-passenger trains, reporting to TRUST is still done manually, which may be some time after the event.

Route Signalling Description

This page describes the track layout and RETB signalling on these lines. Stations are shown in bold type.

 

RETB Signalling: Inverness - Invergordon

Controlled by Inverness Signalling Centre (RETB West workstation)

  • Trains can enter the RETB system and obtain a token anywhere in the Inverness TCB area. Authority to proceed towards Clunes will be the clearing of the appropriate signal (I427 or I429) at the entry to the single line. Clachnaharry's Down signal 2 will only clear to green when an appropriate RETB token is issued.
Location
 
Mileage     
 
Radio
 Channel 
Signalling     
 
Remarks
 
Inverness Station 00mi 02ch
209
TCB (Inverness SC) Terminus. Platforms 5, 6 and 7 for the North.
Rose Street Jn 00mi 19ch Connection from 'Rose Street Curve', avoiding station.
00mi 32ch Down Signals I427, I429 Entry to the Single line
Ness Viaduct 00mi 41ch
00mi 47ch Up Signal I430 End of Radio Token Working (Up direction)
 
01mi 12ch Down Signal 2 Start of Radio Token Working (Down direction)
Clachnaharry Canal Bridge 01mi 45ch Clachnaharry Bridge Box, controls Swing bridge and protecting signals
01mi 68ch Up Signal 1
 
(Delmore)
02mi 26ch (Proposed Loop)
 
Bunchrew LC
03mi 58ch AOCL+B
 
Clunes IB
07mi 51ch
209
TEP-i
 
Beauly
10mi 12ch Single platform, Down side.
 
Muir of Ord
13mi 04ch
209
TEP (TPWS) Two platforms. Right-hand crossing loop (466m/1530ft). Down Siding, trailing. Up Siding, facing.
 
Conon Bridge
16mi 21ch Single platform, Up side.
 
Dingwall
18mi 58ch
209
TEP (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (410m/1345ft). Detaching Permitted. Down Siding, trailing.
Junction Points 18mi 76ch Power Operated junction points. Setting: Down Plunger, Up track circuit
Indications: B (Branch: Garve), M (Main: Invergordon)
 
Evanton IB
25mi 00ch
209
TEP-i (TPWS)
 
Alness
28mi 70ch Single platform, Down side.
 
Invergordon
31mi 37ch
201
TEP (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (395m/1305ft). Up Siding, trailing.

  • Invergordon is the change over location between RETB West and RETB North areas. On arrival drivers return the token, change radio channel, and follow the procedure for entering the new RETB area, before obtaining the next token.

 

RETB Signalling: Dingwall - Kyle of Lochalsh

Controlled by Inverness Signalling Centre (RETB West workstation)

Location
 
Mileage    
 
Radio
 Channel 
Signalling     
 
Remarks
 
 
Dingwall
00mi 00ch
209
TEP (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (410m/1345ft). Detaching Permitted. Down Siding, trailing.
Junction Points 00mi 19ch Power Operated junction points. Setting: Down Plunger, Up track circuit.
Indications: B (Branch: Kyle), M (Main: North Line)
Dingwall No.1 LC 00mi 57ch AFBCL
Dingwall Middle LC 00mi 67ch AFBCL
Dingwall No.2 LC 01mi 05ch AOCL+B
 
Fodderty IB
02mi 31ch
205
TEP-i (TPWS)
 
Achterneed LC
04mi 55ch AOCL+B
 
Garve
11mi 65ch
205
TEP (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (240m/800ft). Up Siding, facing.
Garve LC 11mi 72ch ABCL Driver's plunger on Garve Down platform, and plunger for Up direction Shunt.
 
Lochluichart
17mi 20ch Single platform, Up side.
 
Achanult
21mi 37ch Single platform, Up side.
 
Achansheen
27mi 72ch
210
TEP-i (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (305m/1010ft). Up Siding, trailing.
 
Achnashellach
40mi 34ch Single platform, Down side.
 
Balnacra LC
42mi 12ch AOCL+B
 
Blackwood No.2 LC
44mi 67ch ABCL
 
Strathcarron
45mi 74ch
203
TEP (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (235m/780ft). Up Siding, trailing.
Strathcarron LC 45mi 75ch AOCL+B Driver's plungers on Strathcarron platforms, and plunger for Up direction Shunt.
 
Attadale
48mi 22ch Single platform, Down side.
 
Stromeferry
53mi 15ch
208
TEP-i Single platform, Up side.
 
Duncraig
57mi 09ch Single platform, Down side.
 
Plockton
58mi 22ch Single platform, Up side.
 
Duirinish LC
59mi 56ch ABCL
Duirinish 59mi 58ch Single platform, Down side.
 
Kyle of Lochalsh   
63mi 64ch
213
TEP (TPWS) Two Terminal platforms. Loop and Platform 2 access by Ground frames. Platform sharing permitted. East (Down) siding. West (Up) siding.

  • Trains at Kyle normally arrive and depart from Platform 1 ('Up Platform' in the RETB system).
  • Stromeferry TEP and permissive working at Kyle introduced from 24 April 2022.

 

RETB Signalling: Invergordon - Wick

Controlled by Inverness Signalling Centre (RETB North workstation)
  • Invergordon is the change over location between RETB West and RETB North areas. On arrival drivers return the token, change radio channel, and follow the procedure for entering the new RETB area, before obtaining the next token.
  • To the north of Invergordon there were originally five Intermediate Siding Ground Frames, all have now been plain-lined although they remain within the signalling data (Distillery No.1, Distillery No.2, BAC sidings, MK Shand No.1 and MK Shand No.2).
Location
 
Mileage     
 
Radio
 Channel 
Signalling     
 
Remarks
 
 
Invergordon
31mi 37ch
214
TEP (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (395m/1305ft). Up Siding, trailing.
Distillery No.1 GF 31mi 76ch Sdg-i Ground frame. Up Sidings, facing.
Distillery No.2 GF 32mi 07ch Sdg-i Ground frame. Down Sidings, trailing.
 
Delny LC
34mi 79ch ABCL
 
Nigg LC
39mi 25ch AHBC
 
Fearn
40mi 60ch
216
TEP-i Single platform, Up side. Up Siding, trailing.
 
Tain
44mi 23ch
216
TEP (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (255m/840ft). Detaching Permitted. (Down Siding, trailing OOU).
 
Ardgay
57mi 70ch
212
TEP-i (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (435m/1430ft). Detaching Permitted. Down Siding, facing.
 
Culrain
61mi 00ch Single platform, Down side. Request Stop Kiosk.
 
Invershin
61mi 34ch Single platform, Down side. Request Stop Kiosk.
 
Lairg
66mi 78ch
206
TEP (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (302m/990ft). Up Sidings, trailing.
Lairg LC 67mi 07ch AOCL+B Driver's plunger on Lairg Down platform. (Also plungers for Shunting movements)
 
Acheilidh No.2 LC
72mi 63ch ABCL
 
Rovie LC
76mi 35ch AOCL+B
 
Rogart
77mi 01ch
213
TEP-i (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (330m/1095ft). Request Stop Kiosks.
Rogart LC 77mi 08ch Open Level Crossing. (All Down trains must stop)
 
Kirkton LC
82mi 44ch AOCL+B
 
Golspie
84mi 30ch Single platform, Up side.
 
Dunrobin Castle
86mi 15ch Single platform, Up side. Request Stop Kiosk.
 
Brora LC
90mi 31ch AOCL+B (Plunger for shunting movements)
Brora 90mi 48ch
211
TEP (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (370m/1220ft). (Up Siding, trailing OOU).
 
Dalchalm LC
91mi 30ch AOCL+B
 
Helmsdale
101mi 40ch
211
TEP-i (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (255m/840ft). Down Siding, trailing.
 
Marrel LC
102mi 38ch ABCL
 
Kildonan LC
111mi 03ch ABCL
Kildonan 111mi 05ch Single platform, Up side. Request Stop Kiosk.
 
Kinbrace
118mi 20ch Single platform, Up side. Request Stop Kiosk.
Kinbrace LC 118mi 25ch AOCL+B
 
Forsinard LC
125mi 67ch AOCL+B (Plunger for shunting movements)
Forsinard 125mi 69ch
204
TEP (TPWS) Two platforms, left-hand crossing loop (250m/820ft). Up Siding, trailing.
 
Altnabrec GF
133mi 73ch Sdg-i Up Siding, trailing (for Engineer's trolleys only).
Altnabrec 133mi 76ch Single Platform, Up side. (Request Stop Kiosk - TBC).
 
Scotscalder
143mi 02ch Single Platform, Down side. Request Stop Kiosk.
 
Halkirk LC
145mi 59ch ABCL
 
Halkirk IB
146mi 53ch
210
TEP-i Down direction only. Combined with Distant board for Georgemas.
 
Georgemas Junction
147mi 20ch
210
TEP (TPWS) Single platform (down side), Detaching permitted (Platform sharing possible) Up Loop (240m/800ft) ground frame controlled. Up Sidings, trailing.
Power Operated junction points. Setting: Up plunger, Down track circuit.
Indications: B (Branch: Thurso), M (Main: Forsinard)
 
Bower IB
147mi 56ch
210
TEP-i Up direction only. Combined with Distant board for Georgemas.
 
Watten LC
153mi 68ch AOCL+B
 
Wick
161mi 36ch
210
TEP (TPWS) Single platform terminus. Platform sharing permitted. Loop controlled by ground frame. (Down Sidings OOU)

  • The power operated points at Georgemas Junction were installed in February 1999. Prior to this the junction was operated with a ground frame.
  • The Up Loop platform and footbridge at Georgemas Junction were removed by June 2012, and the 'Spent material loading facility' built around the Up through siding was commissioned in July 2012.
  • Request Stop Kiosks were introduced at 8 stations in 2022-2023, following trials at Scotscalder.

RETB Signalling: Georgemas Junction - Thurso

Controlled by Inverness Signalling Centre (RETB North workstation)

Location
 
Mileage    
 
Radio
 Channel 
Signalling     
 
Remarks
 
Georgemas (Junction) 00mi 00ch
210
TEP (TPWS) Power Operated junction points. Setting: Down plunger, Up track circuit.
Indications: B (Branch: Thurso), M (Main: Forsinard)
Georgemas Branch 00mi 04ch
210
TEP-i Branch Stop Boards within Georgemas Station Limits.
 
Hoy LC
00mi 72ch AOCL+B
 
Thurso
06mi 50ch
210
TEP (TPWS) Single platform terminus. Loop controlled by ground frame. Down Sidings, (Up 'Dock line' OOU).




Signalling Notes

  • TCB: Track Circuit Block, controlled from Inverness Signalling Centre (I).
  • TEP: RETB Token Exchange Point with stop boards
  • TEP-i: Intermediate RETB Token Exchange Point. Trains with a 'Long Section' token may pass the stop board.
  • Sdg-i: Intermediate Siding with shut-in facillity.
  • TPWS: TEP equiped with Train Protection and Warning System. Blue light below Stop Board.
  • GF: Ground Frame (controls points).
  • Sidings: Out of Use and points removed.
  • (OOU): Siding Out of Use, but still connected.
  • IB: Intermediate Block Post
  • LC: Level Crossing.
  • AOCL: Automatic Open Level Crossing, locally monitored by train driver (flashing white signal).
  • AOCL+B: Modified AOCL with addition of half barriers.
  • ABCL: Automatic Half Barrier Level Crossing, locally monitored by train driver (flashing white signal).
  • AHBC: Automatic Half Barrier Level Crossing, monitored at Signalling Centre.
  • AFBCL: Automatic Full Barrier Level Crossing, locally monitored by train driver (flashing white signal).

RETB workstation at Inverness Signalling Centre, before modernisation. August 2005 Photo by Aitken


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