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GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

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

GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:57 am

GWR box plates seem to come in three forms eg
Anytown East , Anytown East Box or Anytown East Signal Box.
Is there a criteria for, this, ie Box or Signal Box?
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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby Danny252 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:45 am

The query about "Anytown East Box" vs. "Anytown East Signal Box" came up on the "Signalboxes and Signalling" group on Facebook, link here (if you have access): https://www.facebook.com/groups/1681185 ... 544223187/

The conclusion was that signal box nameplates manufactured between 1891 and 1897 regularly omitted the word "Signal" from the title, especially for geographical names (e.g. East Box, Station Box, Goods Yard Box). Some of these plates were later re-used when boxes were replaced, hence there are odd cases like "Newton Abbot East Box" (built 1926, but inheriting the old name plates) being adjacent to "Newton Abbot West Signal Box" (built 1927, being fitted with two name plates whilst the old box only had one, prompting the decision to cast two new, matching plates).

The change was presumably down to something as fickle as the preference of department heads, or even just differing styles of the clerks filling out the orders.

As for "Anytown East", no examples of nameplates also omitting "Box" were presented in that discussion - did such plates actually exist?
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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby Chris Osment » Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:16 pm

Danny252 wrote:As for "Anytown East", no examples of nameplates also omitting "Box" were presented in that discussion - did such plates actually exist?


Plates manufactured during WWII and afterwards omitted 'Signal Box', hence you had examples such as 'Portland', Hawkeridge', 'Yeovil South Junction' etc
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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby John Hinson » Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:51 pm

. . . and it seems the word "STATION" was sometimes omitted at that time too - see discussion on Bathampton at http://forum.signalbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8053&p=80773 .

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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:11 pm

So that's why the RBL plates such as Carn Brea (renaming) or Wellington (enamel replacement) omitted the box and signal box appendices altogether. Although this also presents another question as to why some boxes such as Drump Lane and Totnes had BR corporate tinplate replacements long before they closed. Or why the Plywood Wonder at Exeter City Basin never received its predecessors plate.
Last edited by Ashley Hill on Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:31 pm

Looking at the Bathampton thread that box had an enamel boxplate mounted bizarrely on the country end of the box (was there one on the London end too?). The foundation of west still exists but that's a different subject.
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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:15 pm

Of course Kidderminster Junction has individually mounted letters at either end. Was this unique to a western box?
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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby John Hinson » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:45 am

Ashley Hill wrote:Of course Kidderminster Junction has individually mounted letters at either end. Was this unique to a western box?


Not on BR (WR) boxes of that type. But I fail to see the relevance - you originally asked about GWR boxes.

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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:30 am

Only that it is devoid of "Signal Box" because of its age.
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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby roy hart » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:00 am

I think that the answer to the whole question is 'local whim'. St Austell carried a choc/cream BR corporate ST AUSTELL, while Liskeard carried same type, but gigantic LISKEARD SIGNAL BOX. Bodmin Road as St Austell. Probus never seems to have carried anything before the little BR black enamel which it had at closure (old cast individual letters perhaps?). The reference to Drump Lane is in error, I think: it certainly carried its GW cast plate in the 1970s.
In Cornwall, certainly all the boxes which carried 'box' alone, dated from the 1890s
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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:10 am

http://www.cornwallrailwaysociety.org.u ... 4_orig.jpg

The Cornish Railway Society shows Drump Lane lost its cast iron boxplate sometime between 1979 and 1983. Pictures of St Austell after closure show evidence of having carried its cast plate. Totnes's disappeared sometime after 1969.
Was there a conscious decision to drop the word Signal from box plates or as Danny252 said was it at the will of the person ordering the plate from presumably Reading?
Last edited by Ashley Hill on Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby Chris Osment » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:22 am

Ashley Hill wrote:.... Or why the Plywood Wonder at Exeter City Basin never received its predecessors plate.


Perhaps because it changed its name from 'City Basin Junction' in the process, having ceased to be a junction for the Teign Valley line (RIP :-) )
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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:32 pm

Indeed so Chris,but it seems an unnecessary change given it still controlled the junction to both the City Basin itself and the remains of the branch through Marsh Barton.£££.
The Bodmin Road brown enamel boxplate appears to be the same type as those used on the station which never had totems. Again looking at the box it does appear to have evidence of carrying a cast plate.
Liskeard is an anomaly being BR(W) and having the Signal Box appendage.
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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby John Hinson » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:58 pm

Drump Lane did have a BR lower-case plate in 1982 when I photographed it. It is clumsily off-centre and there is clear evidence of an earlier plate. Perhaps it was pilfered.

But I think it is fair to say that many signal boxes around the country gained "station-like" signs if they were on a station, which of course Totnes and Bodmin Road were. On the other hand, strictly speaking Liskeard was not.

There is a book on GWR signal box nameplates which makes great bedtime reading:
https://www.waterstones.com/book/great- ... 0953477531
Whilst on-line sources show it as either out of print or at extortionate second-hand prices, a trip to the Kidderminster Railway Museum could be productive - when I was there a couple of months back there were several new copies on sale at the standard price, which wasn't exactly cheap from memory.

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Re: GWR boxplates. Box or Signal Box

Unread postby Chris Osment » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:05 pm

John Hinson wrote:Drump Lane did have a BR lower-case plate in 1982 when I photographed it. It is clumsily off-centre and there is clear evidence of an earlier plate. Perhaps it was pilfered.

But I think it is fair to say that many signal boxes around the country gained "station-like" signs if they were on a station, which of course Totnes and Bodmin Road were. On the other hand, strictly speaking Liskeard was not.

There is a book on GWR signal box nameplates which makes great bedtime reading:
https://www.waterstones.com/book/great- ... 0953477531
Whilst on-line sources show it as either out of print or at extortionate second-hand prices, a trip to the Kidderminster Railway Museum could be productive - when I was there a couple of months back there were several new copies on sale at the standard price, which wasn't exactly cheap from memory.

John


I can thoroughly recommend the Dunn book. Very good not only for much background information, but also useful for checking the dates of orders for new plates which often gives clues to box changes etc.

From what I gathered at the time, somewhere around the 1970s (?1980s), certainly down in the South West, BR went around removing all the remaining GWR cast-iron plates (all too old-fashioned looking for the 'modern image') and replacing them with the 'corporate image' style. Ironic that some now apparently have been replaced by GWR replicas.!
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