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Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby Save our signal box » Thu Mar 1, 2012 3:03 pm

Having done some more digging around, looking at a local history source, it turns out that the station (at that time named 'Churchill') was opened in 1853, and that the signal levers were originally in the open air - my understanding is that McKenzie & Holland were mainly responsible for signal gear, and that the boxes were secondary products (just housings, in effect) - so, that would explain why the 1888 box was listed as a replacement.

Also, having spoken to the workmen, they will be removing redundant equipment once the new crossing is commissioned, but that demolition of the box isn't scheduled until August, as Dave already posted further back - thank goodness, that gives us a bit more time. Bad news is that the crossing is changing from 2 full gates to 4 half gates - not sure how that's going to go down with the residents, who are already nervous about the loss of a manned signal box.

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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby John Hinson » Thu Mar 1, 2012 4:13 pm

Save our signal box wrote:Bad news is that the crossing is changing from 2 full gates to 4 half gates - not sure how that's going to go down with the residents, who are already nervous about the loss of a manned signal box.
Don't worry yourselves about that - that is a safer arrangement because it reduces the chance of a vehicle being trapped on the crossing. The two barriers that cars reach first lower first. Then the exit barriers lower afterwards. It is pretty much a standard arrangement these days and the two-barrier system as at Blakedown is more-or-less obsolete now.

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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby Save our signal box » Thu Mar 1, 2012 6:28 pm

Thanks for the reassurance, John!
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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby Numpty17 » Thu Mar 1, 2012 6:32 pm

One of the most important things in preserving a signal box is to have a clear plan of what you intend to use the box for, your chances of having it left in situ without a use are very remote. Find out what the local people think of your ideas and get a petition up and running, get as many signatures as you possibly can. Talk to your local MP and get him well and truly on side, ask him to hand over your petition to Network Rail. Publicise your intentions in the local paper, photos of you handing over the petition to your MP is always a good one. Be prepared to fight and never give up, our campaign took up 2 1/2 years of my life until we finally won the battle.
Andy, Founder Member.
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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby Peter Jordan » Thu Mar 1, 2012 9:18 pm

We haven't heard anything about Barnham for some time. What is the latest news? (New thread cue.)

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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby DaveHarries » Thu Mar 1, 2012 11:54 pm

Peter Jordan wrote:Right, this is what I can tell you.

STOURBRIDGE - opened circa 1901 as 'Stourbridge Junction Middle' with a 'Double Twist' frame of 91 levers. This was relocked and reduced to 60 levers in 1978 and the panel was installed in 1990.

BLAKEDOWN - opened as 'Churchill & Blakedown' in 1888 with a frame of 22 levers. A frame of 30 levers with vertical tappet 5-bar locking was installed in May 1937. The panel was installed on 21 December 1980.

KIDDERMINSTER JUNCTION - opened 25 October 1953. Contains a 66 lever 5-bar frame.

HARTLEBURY - opened June 1876 as 'Hartlebury Station' and is built to a McKenzie & Holland design. Its first frame had 21 levers and this was replaced by a 3-bar frame of 30 levers in August 1910. Took control of the old Severn Valley junction to Stourport when Hartlebury Junction box closed 15 May 1977. The panel was installed 28 November 1982.

KINGSWINFORD JUNCTION - opened 8 February 1916 as 'Kingswinford Junction South.' The original frame size is not known but a 77-lever 3-bar frame was installed 8 December 1924.

Peter Jordan

Very interesting info on Kingswinford Jcn and Blakedown boxes: I intend to go and snap those in the near future provided I can get the funds in time. Are the closing dates for the boxes yet known?

Also, re. Kingswinford Jcn, was this the one previously called Kingswinford Junction South? If so then Phil Deaves' website records that Kingswinford Junction South box (KWD, 144m 33ch) was opened 08-Feb-1916 but closed 14-Nov-2001 following destruction by fire. A replacement building in the same spot opened 08-Dec-2003. Is it therefore an ugly modern box or an old type one?

Also, are there any good spots for photos of Kingswinford Jcn South other than the bridge just southwest of the box or is that it? Or is photographing it impossible, unlike taking snaps of Churchill and Blakedown?

Thanks.
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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby WembYard » Fri Mar 2, 2012 3:31 am

Not sure that you would want to bother with Kingswinford, it now looks like this: http://tillyweb.biz/gallery/kk/kingswinford.htm.
Signal box photos dating from the 1970s here, many more to be added when time permits.
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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby DaveHarries » Fri Mar 2, 2012 7:50 pm

Thanks, WembYard. Won't bother with that one then. Looks like the GF fittings behind and above the levers at Kingswinford South came from the previous box after it had burnt down?

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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby Ex-BR_S&T_Tech » Sun Mar 4, 2012 11:56 am

It is always good news to read about any attempt that will save a signal box from being demolished after it becomes redundant.

signalman wrote:In terms of rarity it is likely that this particular design in the history of GWR signal box design is a lot rarer than the McKenzie & Holland designs that survive so its historic significance should not be overlooked. I do not think many survive.

John


As the signalman states, the GWR Type 4 was a rarer version than the McKenzie & Holland types with only a few built and now only 3 survivors left on the network. The SRS Register lists 108 McKenzie & Holland Type 3 SBs on the GWR.

It is also very rare when compared with the much more numerous GWR SBs built - Type 5 (236 examples), Type 7 (401), Type 27 (233) & Type 28 (144).

A perusal of the SRS GWR Register shows that there were only 24 Type 4 SBs built broken down into 4 (2), 4A (3), 4B (13) & 4C (6).

I wonder what the thinking was all those years ago. There was the Railways Act 1889 and resulting from that was a massive increase in the demand for new signal boxes and lever frames.

The Double Twist frame made its appearance around this time. Perhaps Reading thought that a new design of SB would be appropriate for all this new work and so the Type 4 was replaced by the Type 5 design which is maybe why it never reached great numbers.

The GWR signalling student looking for Type 4 SBs would find that they were a design that was to be found in/on 4 areas or lines. These were the Oxford - Worcester line (4Bs)(13), Hereford - Pontypool (4As)(3), Market Drayton - Nantwich (4s)(2) and loosely the ‘West Midlands’ area (4Cs)(6).

Survivors are of course Blakedown (4C) and also Ascott-under-Wychwood and Moreton-in-Marsh on the Cotswold Line, both 4B and well known as a result of recent engineering works on that line.

According to the SRS Register the 4B was different as it had unique locking room windows. The 4C had a coal store under the porch.

Blakedown is only 4C survivor apart from the aforementioned Cradley Heath & Cradley East SB now down on the South Devon Railway. Other 4Cs were built at Lye, Stourbridge Engine Shed Sidings, Hagley (as mentioned above) and Albrighton. So I would certainly concur that it is a rare survivor and from that point of view well worth promoting that aspect in any attempt to secure its future.

From the Register again, Blakedown would appear to have had 3 lever frames in its existence. An unidentified frame (possibly a Single Twist?) in 1888, then a 22 lever frame in 1901 and finally a 36 lever 5 bar VT frame in 1937.

Some where in my travels, I have seen the Locking Table for this SB for the 36 lever frame but I cannot remember where, when or who it was. I am sure that other drawings will exist somewhere for this SB as well in someone’s collection.
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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby Save our signal box » Mon Mar 5, 2012 8:11 pm

That's fantastic information, thank you so much!
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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby DaveHarries » Tue Mar 6, 2012 2:26 am

Was glad to see Churchill and Blakedown SB looking in good condition (IMO) when I went to get some photos of it on Monday 05th March. Also covered the boxes at Lichfield TVJ and Rugeley Town (aka. Brereton Sidings). I would like to have done the fourth box on my agenda, which was Hednesford, but alas it was starting to get towards dusk and poor light prevented my alighting from the Rugeley - Birmingham NS train at Hednesford.

As a side thought, while I was standing on the path on the Birmingham-bound side at Lichfield TVJ, where the box looked in excellent shape, the signalman set the route for a train movement from the direction of Burton-upon-Trent. Not long afterwards a cat came up along the path behind me and crawled under the fence. It then stopped, turned around and crawled back under the fence before making its way along the path towards the footpath crossing. It then crawled under the gate and, upon reaching the crossing, stopped and looked both ways before crossing the line. Do some animals have a concept of rail safety?! :)

For anyone wondering, the train movement turned out to be what looked like a failed freight working which headed down the slope to Lichfield TV Low-level station and headed on towards Rugeley. I will try and find out what the train was: I know what was pulling it.

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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby Tulyar15 » Tue Mar 6, 2012 6:07 am

DaveHarries wrote:For anyone wondering, the train movement turned out to be what looked like a failed freight working which headed down the slope to Lichfield TV Low-level station and headed on towards Rugeley. I will try and find out what the train was: I know what was pulling it.

Dave


Was it a container train by any chance? According to Todays Railways: UK there's a daily Teesport - Merseyside containter train which has to run via the Lichfield cord because that's the shortest route that's cleared for 9' 6" containers.
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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby RDNA » Tue Mar 6, 2012 6:31 am

Please forgive this digression from the topic.

For anyone wondering, the train movement turned out to be what looked like a failed freight working which headed down the slope to Lichfield TV Low-level station and headed on towards Rugeley. I will try and find out what the train was: I know what was pulling it.

Dave



It was either 6C64 1344 Mountsorrel - Carlisle (passed 1506) or 6K50 1513 Toton - Basford Hall (passed 1631).

4M51 1610 Tees Dock - Ditton passed at 2240hrs.

Sorry again Signalman, if this offends please move (or delete!) it.
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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby Save our signal box » Fri May 11, 2012 7:35 am

Just to update on the Blakedown Box - we've been told (fingers crossed - but we're pretty sure the person has the right authority level in Network Rail) that we can have the box, provided we move it! So, a new project to get to grips with - but the support from the village has been fantastic, so we're ploughing ahead to get the formalities moving in time.

Need to contact Severn Valley railway - it seems the original windows went there - so it could end up nearer to its original state than it is now.

Full steam ahead (sorry) !!
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Re: Stourbridge - Hartlebury Signalbox History

Unread postby Peter Jordan » Fri May 11, 2012 7:42 am

So how far are you suggesting that you will have to move it? If not very far you might also want to contact the people in charge of the railways on the Isle of Man who, some years ago. moved the signal box at Douglas without dismantling it. It's the only case I know of of a brick-based signal box being moved in one piece.

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