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"Signal Boxes for the Modeller" by Michael Vanns

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"Signal Boxes for the Modeller" by Michael Vanns

Unread postby John Webb » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:10 pm

This is a brief look at a book published by Ian Allan (ISBN 978 0 7110 3501 0) at the end of July this year. It is similar in format to their "Aspects of Modelling" series but not actually part of that series. 'Perfect' bound and slightly smaller than A4. The book is a soft cover one with 80 pages, 135 pictures (both colour and black and white) and 8 diagrams.

The photos cover a wide range of railways and years and both boxes in service and those now preserved. The diagrams are associated with photos of block shelves to help describe what is what on the shelf - a neat way of giving things labels without obscuring things on the photograph, although in one case (Syston North Junction) the photograph is rather on the small side compared to the diagram. Many comments are aimed at the modeller rather than the historian, although the latter should certainly find the pictures of interest. The whole of Chapter 4 is devoted to the signal box interior and includes a comprehensive table of the dimensions of many common block instruments. The final short chapter on "The Finishing Touches" points out not only the weathering caused by the frequency and nearness of passing trains but the way signalmen often emptied a teapot from the same wimdow - illustrated by a picture of Newton Abbot East box.

Regretably the book is short in two respects. Firstly there is no index, so to look up a particular railway or location is impossible - you have to look through the book, not that that is a particular hardship! Secondly a list of preserved boxes which modellers could visit to supplement the book's information would have been useful. (Yes, I know my box would have been mentioned.... :wink:)
John Webb
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