Brambleton's method of operation is completely different from that of most model railways. In our case every station is fitted with one or more block instruments. These instruments are used by the station operator to communicate with the adjoining stations. Station operators use these instruments to agree when an operator is safely allowed to send a train to the next station. When this has been agreed, the station operator switches on the battery powered train, which thens runs on to the next station with, hopefully, a clear path. This is a much simplified version of the system that was used for many years on British Rail and its predecessors, and in fact some of the block instruments used at Brambleton were bought second-hand from British Rail.
Most stations are fitted with two block instruments, since there are two adjoining stations. Junction stations (Stockton, Nine Elms and Minford) are fitted with three, and Brambleton one. At Stockton, Nine Elms, Minford and Brambleton sheds are used to house the block instruments (and much else). At the other stations brick built enclosures (known as coffins) are used.
Lympsham Station, again in the mid 1980's. A block instrument can be seen on the right of the picture.
Since this picture was taken major changes have taken place at this station. The brick supports for the track base were replaced by concrete blocks. The O gauge branch line on the left of the picture has been replaced by a 16mm line. The track layout has also been altered.
A guide on how to operate block instruments can be found here .