Unofficial visits to signal boxes
Unofficial visits to signal boxes are not permitted by Network Rail. The Railway Rule Book expressly prohibits this because it could cause signallers to be distracted from their work and the safety of trains (and their passengers) is in their hands. It goes without saying that it could also put a signaller's employment in jeopardy.
We all know this has gone on in the past, and it is evident from two people's postings on this forum that it still does on occasion. Unfortunately, those postings caused problems and worries for the signallers concerned, their fellow signallers, the posters (in one case) and myself (as the manager of this forum).
Please remember that the internet is a public place, anybody can view this forum and that includes railway managers who have a responsibility to maintain a safe railway.
We cannot deny the past but please do not make postings making reference to recent unofficial visits.
Generally speaking, the correct way to obtain permission to visit a signal box is to apply to the Signalling Manager for the area concerned beforehand. However, it must be remembered that the railways are a working industry and have limited resources which make it difficult for them to provide the escort for a visit.
The above has been re-written 14/10/11 owing to misunderstandings over my briefer writing.
Trespass on railway property is strongly disapproved of and you should not put yourself in danger for that "perfect picture" as you are endangering train running as well as your personal safety. The railways give training and certification of safety and protection principles and local knowledge for the safety of their own staff which you will not have. There is no excuse for stepping inside the boundary without official approval which, realistically, is unlikely to be given unless there is an extremely good reason for your needs.
Camera technology has come a long way in recent years and good quality photographs are often possible from public places - investment in good equipment to take more distant shots is a substantially better option than endangering yourself.