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Beckton Gas Retort Works signalling.

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

Beckton Gas Retort Works signalling.

Unread postby scarpa » Fri Jun 9, 2017 9:14 pm

What company supplied the signals and lever frames to the East London railway and did they use any kind of block instruments? The signals from a photo available online appear to be of a nautical design.
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Re: Beckton Gas Retort Works signalling.

Unread postby GeoffSmith » Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:51 am

scarpa wrote:What company supplied the signals and lever frames to the East London railway and did they use any kind of block instruments? The signals from a photo available online appear to be of a nautical design.

Possibly of interest, from RM March 1908 :
"The whole system — even where double — is worked on single line principles ; the use of single line tablets, however, is impossible owing to the frequency of the trains and the shortness of the blocks. Thus the signalling is somewhat similar to Tyer's system for double line working. The instruments show two positions : "Train on Line" and "Line clear," but these are not locked with the levers in any way, and so simply serve as a guide. The levers for the signals and switches corresponding are interlocked in the usual way. Every line or siding is signalled, and a complete set of engine whistles is in force, according to the route desired. There are in all 14 signal boxes, of which four are of considerable size. The largest box contains 60 levers, and is at the junction with the Great Eastern Railway. At the box situated at the level crossing of the main road passing through the works and the main line a danger-board is shown against the road ; the signals and gates are all locked with this board, so that they cannot be used unless the danger-board is in position. A man is also stationed here to warn, and, if necessary, to stop road vehicles."
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Re: Beckton Gas Retort Works signalling.

Unread postby John Webb » Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:14 pm

There are 5 pages of text with a plan and 8 photos about the Beckton Gasworks system in the Middleton Press book "Branch Lines around North Woolwich", by J E Conner and Vic Mitchell, published 2001. Most of the photos are attributed to "The London Gas Museum" and several show some of the signal boxes but without interior shots. As I understand it, the Gasworks system was built independently of, but connected to, the North Woolwich branch line, in October 1872. It was leased to the Great Eastern Railway from March 1874.
An update to the RM March 1908 article quoted by GeoffSmith, in "Railway Wonders of the World" (published around 1936), says that colour light signalling, electro-pneumatic signals and electrically operated crossing gates were in place or about to be put in at that time. Still no details of whose equipment was used, however!
By the way, it was not the "East London" that built the line, but the "Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway", that built the line from Stratford to Thames Wharf and who then extended it on to North Woolwich.
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Re: Beckton Gas Retort Works signalling.

Unread postby Chris Osment » Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:57 pm

The box at 'Pinesway Junction' on the Gartell Light Railway (near Templecombe) contains a 30-lever McK&H frame listed as being from "Beckton gas works in London". Whether this provides a clue, I can't say, not being familiar with the gas works area.
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