Signals

THE SIGNAL BOX


Railway signalling discussion

Staines (SR)

British signalling of the past (UK, excepting Northern Ireland)

Staines (SR)

Unread postby Pramviewer » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:58 am

My interest in railway signalling was awakened quite literally "from the pram". I know I am eccentric because I remember watching The Battle of Britain from my Grannie's doorstep before I was three years old in the following November. Until the age of seven I was brought up at Staines in Middlesex. The main signal box was at the UP end of the station where the down home was a junction bracket. The DOWN platform starter was, of course, also a junction balanced bracket with equal height dolls. This was immediately followed by the junction where the Reading Line threw off to the left and the Windsor Line continued in a gentle curve to the right. From this point on both lines were atop an embankment.

I don't remember the UP homes but believe that they would have been up on the embankment also.

In those days there was a tightly curving third "leg" to the junction making it fully double track tri-angular. So the homes may have been a junction bracket sighted by UP trains as they approached the green bridge over the High Street.

The UP Platform Starter was a three-doll bracket of successively diminishing heights to the left. The taller right hand doll was the true platform UP starter and, indeed it was the misreading of this signal by the motorman of an up Windsor Line electric that caused a most regrettable accident. This was on the 9th of August 1957. The UP train set off against the signal and collided head-on with Class 700 no.688 as it was leaving the UP Yard and attempting to regain the Down Line.

The unfortunate motorman paid for his mistake with his life. I have often thought since that had there been a system in place similar to the London Transport trip, then the accident would not have taken place.

Beyond the UP Yard was an advanced starter with distant signal for Ashford (Middx).

When I viewed all of this signalling installation, the above mentioned accident was eighteen years into the future. I thus saw what I regarded as a supremely safe installation and indeed for the first sixteen years of my life went all over Britain by train in complete safety.

I always had a very high regard for railway signalmen and later went to school with the son of a Mr. Lambourne of Donnington Road, Reading who was, so I have been given to understand, one of the training instructors at the Reading (GWR) Signal Factory and Training School for GWR signalmen.
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