Train Signalling by Train Staff and Ticket.
The method of working by Train Staff can only be used on single lines of which the traffic flow is of an even pattern, i.e. one train in one direction followed by one in the opposite direction. On our line this method is normally used between Bishops Bridge and Totnes (Littlehempston) when Bishops Bridge Signal Box is switched in (open) and for the whole line when Bishops Bridge signal box is switched out (closed). This method uses what is known as a Train Staff, which is basically a large wooden handled key. We have two such Staffs, one shorter one for the section of line between Bishops Bridge and Totnes (See Fig. TS1) and a larger one for the whole line (when Bishops is switched out)(See Fig. TS2). Each Staff has written on it the name of the section for which it applies i.e. Bishops Bridge to Totnes (Short Section) or Buckfastleigh to Totnes (Long Section).
The basics of this system are that a driver must not leave the station without being in possession of the train staff, as there is only one train staff this guarantees that there can only be one train in the section at any one time. As added security the Section Signal (the signal protecting the single line) can only be set to clear once. When the signal is returned to Danger it can not be released until the staff has been returned to the signal box and put through an instrument. (See Fig. TS3) This instrument resets the lock and enables the signalman to clear the signal once more.

To make Train Staff working more flexible and to allow an uneven flow of traffic through a section Train Staff and Ticket working was introduced. This system worked on the premise that a ticket (See Fig.TS4) was the driverís authority to enter the section. Once in possession of a ticket, issued by the signalman, and after seeing the train staff the driver could continue through the section and the train staff itself would follow on a later train providing the signalman at the other end of the section authority to send trains back. Signalmen still used all bell codes and had to ask permission of the next signalman before a train could be issued a ticket. We use this system of working on our branch on special gala days when more than one train is required to be at Totnes at any one time.
Train Staff Ticket
Fig. TS1. This is the Short Section Staff, we use between Bishops Bridge and Totnes, when the driver has possession of this staff he has the right to enter the section between Staverton and Totnes.
Fig. TS2. This is the Long Section Staff, we use between Buckfastleigh and Totnes when Bishops Bridge is switched out. When the driver has possession of this staff he has the right to enter the section between Buckfastleigh and Totnes.
Fig. TS3 (Above).
This picture shows the two staff instruments at Bishops Bridge Signal Box, the third instrument, the one on the left is used to release the long section staff when the box is switched out. The middle instrument has the Long Section Staff locked in it as the box is switched in (open) and the short section staff is with the train in section. When the train comes out of the section the Short section staff will be returned to the instrument on the right by inserting the key into the key hole and turning the Staff clockwise by approximately 90 degrees. To remove the staff again it must be turned anti-clockwise by about 45 degrees until it makes a clicking noise which will then enable you to turn it the final 45 degrees and remove the Staff. The clicking is the lock release which makes sure the Long Section Staff is in its' instrument and the Section Signal is at Danger before it will release the Short Section Staff.
Fig. TS4 (Below Left) This is a Train Staff Ticket, we use these on Gala days when more than one train at a time is required to be at Totnes Littlehempston Station. After seeing the Train Staff (Fig. TS1) possession of a ticket is the drivers permission to enter the section between Bishops Bridge and Totnes.

Fig. TS5 (Below Right). This is the locker in which the Train Staff Tickets are kept, the tickets are locked inside and can only be removed with the Train Staff which operates the Lock on the box. This is to prevent the signalman from giving out a ticket when he is not in possession of the Train Staff.
Ticket Locker