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Twickenham East

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

Twickenham East

Unread postby John Hinson » Wed Mar 1, 2017 3:36 pm

The old LSWR box at Twickenham East was abolished (according to the SRS) on 29/6/38 and replaced by a "temporary" wooden structure with sash windows which resembled nothing in particular. It was fitted with a second-hand 32-lever Saxby & Farmer Duplex frame. The problem I have is that I have heard from more than one source that this came about following enemy action but the date puts that very much into question.

Looking at the broader picture a new box was planned (and possibly already built) before the outbreak of war in 1939 at Twickenham West but this did not open until 1947. The presence of sufficient spare levers with shortened handles and a name on the box of "Twickenham" points to plans to take over the East box's layout but it never happened and both boxes survived until the Feltham MAS scheme of 1974.

Does anybody know exactly why the East was renewed in 1938?

John
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Re: Twickenham East

Unread postby JRB » Wed Mar 1, 2017 3:53 pm

Just possible it was enemy action - IRA rather than Luftwaffe, unlikely though.
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Re: Twickenham East

Unread postby Harsig » Wed Mar 1, 2017 4:27 pm

The book 'London Main Line War Damage' has the following entry for 23rd August 1944: 'Twickenham 04.45: Blast damage to East Box, goods offices, shed and stables.' There are no other details on how extensive the damage was, but conceivably (hasty?) repair work to an existing (1938?) structure might have resulted in a non standard appearance.
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Re: Twickenham East

Unread postby John Hinson » Wed Mar 1, 2017 4:58 pm

Thanks. From that I think it is actually more likely that the SRS have the date wrong but that's a good start.

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Re: Twickenham East

Unread postby Fast Line Floyd » Wed Mar 1, 2017 8:51 pm

Something that I can add is that the station was severely damaged by bomb blasts which is why there was the plywood 'modern' station in its place in the 1960's, now the East box stood at the London end of the Station just the Richmond side of the Bay Siding connections on the Up side and would certainly have suffered as a result of these blasts.

That said the SRS research note 37 does show the East Box being newly commissioned on 26th June 1938 which begs a number of questions, the first is why did they build the new 'Twickenham box' at the West end and provide it with a large frame of 84 levers many of then manufactured as short levers if there was no intention of closing the East Box unless of course the New East Box was meant as a temporary box. But the entry for the work in Signal Instruction No 29 does not mention that the new box was temporary.

By the 26th June 1938 the new 'Twickenham Box' would have been on the drawing board and would have followed Richmond in it's being built (they were both meant to be part of the same scheme).
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Re: Twickenham East

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Wed Mar 1, 2017 9:19 pm

Twickenham railway station was in the course of being resited during the late-1930s. The original station was west of the old road bridge and the new one east of it. The skeleton of the new platforms and much of the associated track work was already in place when the scheme was halted by the outbreak of WWII. After the war, some work was done on the platforms to enable them to be used, hand-signalled, for rugby event traffic, but the completion of the new station was slowed by the post-war shortages of materials and money. It eventually came into use in March 1954, the old station being quickly demolished, finally the road bridge was rebuilt shortly after the demise of the trolleybuses crossing it in May 1962 - it was held together by the tram tracks surviving in the road surface!

The new East box of 1938 was almost certainly commissioned as part of the stage works for this scheme, but circumstances demanded that it remained in use far longer than had been originally intended. The signalling in this area had been, and remained, "interesting" because of the special arrangements to cope with rugby traffic.

Blast damage in August 1944 would almost certainly have been from an exploding V1 "doodlebug", around 100 a day were being targetted on London at this period and obviously a fair proportion of these caused some damage to railway property.
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Re: Twickenham East

Unread postby JRB » Wed Mar 1, 2017 10:55 pm

Yes, slightly early for a V2 (von Braun, not Gresley). The IWM has charts of all incidents which used to be easily accessible. If anyone has time, they could have a look.
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Re: Twickenham East

Unread postby John Hinson » Thu Mar 2, 2017 12:56 pm

davidwoodcock wrote:The original station was west of the old road bridge and the new one east of it.

Do you knwo I didn't spot that but can now see so by comparing the 1914 and 1960 1:2500 OS Maps. The locations of the old and new boxes can be seen on them and the difference is so significant that this must indeed be the reason for the new "temporary" box.

The enemy damage stories must be accurate but combining the two events into one is where the truth has wandered.

Thanks very much,

John
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Re: Twickenham East

Unread postby Fast Line Floyd » Thu Mar 2, 2017 4:02 pm

Ah indeed the truth must have wondered but never the less it all now makes sense.
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