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New signalling book

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

New signalling book

Unread postby Martin Shaw » Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:57 am

Hi all.

Yesterday I was able to purchase a book, rather regrettably titled "Southern Infrastructure, 1922 -1934, Stations/Signalling/Trackwork, photographs from the E.Wallis Collection". It consists mainly of pictures of boxes and signals across what was the SR, with a strong leaning to the Brighton line although the LSW gets a good look in and the SEC rather less so. E.Wallis was a signal lineman who had an interest in photography and as such was able to access locations that others could not. There has been the odd picture published in the past but this is I think the first major foray into the collection and wholly wondrous it is too. Indeed at a glance its 120 pages show not one upper quadrant signal and some very interesting constructions. Highly recommended if you have any interest south of the river or not, at £14.95 reasonably inexpensive, and published by Noodle Books.

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Re: New signalling book

Unread postby John Hinson » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:51 pm

I've had this book a little while and to be honest whilst the pictures are wonderful I feel they are let down by badly researched captions. There is a wonderful view of the second Hole-in-the-Wall box which, by the rodding visible, must have contained between 75 and 100 levers but the caption just plagiarises the SRS records referring to it having 23 levers (that was the original box). And further on there are some lovely views of the wagon turntable link across the running lines at Headcorn, an arrangement so commonly found on the SER when shunting horses were used, claiming it is out of use as there are no breaks in the running lines (the wagons passed over the running lines).

Such lack of research or knowledge I find disappointing but a fine selection of photographs indeed. I want to see the rest now!

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Re: New signalling book

Unread postby Darroll » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:33 am

I agree. This is a lovely book, worth the money for the photographs alone. I do hope Noodle produce the second volume which is hinted at.

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Re: New signalling book

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:25 pm

I have just purchased it as well and, although I agree with the signalman, I think its still a very good book to have.
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Re: New signalling book

Unread postby David Holden » Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:33 pm

Excellent pictures, well worth the money.
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Re: New signalling book

Unread postby Stuart Johnson » Sun Dec 7, 2014 4:56 pm

A second selection has now appeared, also published by Noodle Books. The pictures are again of great interest, although (understandably) not of such uniformly high quality as the first book.

Has anyone else seen it? The captions are again of variable accuracy, and I wonder if anyone can tell where the lower picture on page 73 was taken. It certainly isn't Waddon Marsh, but could well be St Helier when new.
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Re: New signalling book

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Sun Dec 7, 2014 8:59 pm

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Re: New signalling book

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Sun Dec 7, 2014 11:28 pm

John Hinson wrote:And further on there are some lovely views of the wagon turntable link across the running lines at Headcorn, an arrangement so commonly found on the SER when shunting horses were used, claiming it is out of use as there are no breaks in the running lines (the wagons passed over the running lines).


I see this thread has been here for a while, but I've only just seen it and was intrigued by the comment above. I have seen quite a lot of diagrams of this nature but had assumed they had flangeway gaps, rather like a wagon turntable. Were these at exactly the same level, so that the wagon axles would have to bump over the running rails on their flanges, or did they have a sort of ramp to bring the flanges up gently?

I recall many years ago seeing at Barry Island, a standard gauge railway onto the pier which ran at right angles to the main line crossing by removable (and missing) rails which would apparently be laid on top of the running rails when required, presumably after obtaining the signalman's permission. There was an unsprung 4-wheel van on the pier railway which resembled an ice cream or hot dog stall. I was given to understand it was an umpire's office for some sort of sailing competitions, but the need for such a hut to be mobile was unclear.
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Re: New signalling book

Unread postby John Hinson » Mon Dec 8, 2014 6:20 am

If you look at the photograph (or others elsewhere) you can see how it works. The rails for the wagon crossing are slightly higher than the main lines, only by the thickness of the flange and not enough for there to be an obvious ramp.

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Re: New signalling book

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Mon Dec 8, 2014 9:40 am

The photograph of St. Helier (which was the only intermediate signal box* on the new Wimbledon-Sutton line opened on 05.01.1930) is useful in confirming that "semaphore arm" red shunt signals were still being used on new works, and that UQ signals on rail-built posts had started to be used, at that date.

* Subsequently, of course, there was also the infamous "Express Daisy Sidings" (sic) GF serving the dairy at Morden South.
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Re: New signalling book

Unread postby Chris Osment » Mon Dec 8, 2014 7:45 pm

I have both the SR volumes and the GWR one as well. As suggested, some of the captions are 'dodgy' and in many cases spoilt by the writer making assumptions which are easily disproved.

I did start to compile an 'errata' list for the GWR volume, but to be honest it got too time-consuming a task - and that's only for those parts of the country with which I am familiar! I doubt anyway that there would be a revised edition, as opposed to a re-print, to make it worth the effort. So I'm concentrating on just enjoying the pictures :-)

I do wonder if he ever visited the S&DJR.......?
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Re: New signalling book

Unread postby Stuart Johnson » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:37 pm

The fourth and final volume of Wallis' photographs has now appeared. It includes a selection of the best of the rest of the pictures he took, in date order so some places appear more than once. This volume covers railways all over England and Wales, including some SR locations that have appeared in the previous books.

The captions are once again of variable quality (which to some extent adds to the enjoyment), but there are some remarkable pictures of places I never expected to see in print. As a Londoner I was delighted to see, for instance, Harlesden (Midland Railway) station, and Bath Road Crossing (Hammersmith) signal box. Other forum members will be interested in the views of Hertford North, Verney Junction and Willesden Junction, among many others. And yes, he did visit the S&DJR...

This volume is published by Crecy and is called "Forgotten Railway Infrastructure 1922-1934". ISBN 978-1-90932-872-3.
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