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Abbreviation of 'Signalbox'

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Abbreviation of 'Signalbox'

Unread postby John Webb » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:54 am

I recall that about the time I joined this forum, a discussion was taking place, or had just taken place, about the way to abbreviate 'signalbox'. The outcome was, I think, that one could just use box rather than 'box. I've tried searching the Forum but have not been able to find the appropriate topic. Can anyone either direct me to the topic or tell me I was mistaken? If the latter then can one use just box without the apostrophe?
(The query arises because one of my model railway magazines has had several articles in recent issues where signalbox has been abbreviated to 'box but the auto quotes system on their computer inserts the apostrophe as a right-facing rather than a left-facing one as it should be and I find it visually irksome!)
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Re: Abbreviation of 'Signalbox'

Unread postby Stuart Johnson » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:19 pm

Well, on the GWR, and in the name of this forum, it's two words, so no apostrophe is required. I'm not sure I have ever come across any professional publication where 'box appeared.
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Re: Abbreviation of 'Signalbox'

Unread postby John Hinson » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:01 pm

Every on-line dictionary I have looked at uses two words, some even bounce you to the two words if you put it in as one word.Google will automatically search for two words, too. So the implication is that two words is the correct spelling. Stuarts comments above refer.

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Re: Abbreviation of 'Signalbox'

Unread postby John Webb » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:26 pm

Thank you, gentlemen, for your replies.
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Re: Abbreviation of 'Signalbox'

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:41 am

Stuart Johnson wrote:Well, on the GWR, and in the name of this forum, it's two words, so no apostrophe is required. I'm not sure I have ever come across any professional publication where 'box appeared.



The OP evidently prefers to treat it as one word, which I also prefer though I'm not sure why. I think two words would have been the original term, contracted in later usage but perpetuated by the sort of companies who continued to say "Tickets must be shown". But it may have been regional practice, just as some of the earlier companies talked about "Break Vans". I suspect that prior to the BBC, the only standards for the language were the King James bible and Shakespeare, neither of which would cover more modern technology.
The GWR tended to put "Signal Box" on box boards. That always seems a bit superfluous, like adding "Station" to the running in boards (they did usually say Halt though). They may have been drawing a distinction between block posts and gate boxes?

SB is the abbreviation I have generally seen used in paperwork, which I suppose implies two words..

I question how widely the term box or 'box was understood. The general public called them signalboxes, and would not recognise niceties of block or non-block status. It meant that building with lots of windows - a lever frame on the platform wouldn't count. If you look at pencilled distribution lists on old circulars they often included the words "Signal Box" in full - it seems the word Signal was also needed by those whose jobs didn't involve signalling and the box abbreviation was perhaps used only by the sort of people who ferequent this forum, ie signalmen and S&T. After all, to a porter a box meant a heavy object he had to hump about in the goods shed.
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Re: Abbreviation of 'Signalbox'

Unread postby John Webb » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:10 pm

Mike Hodgson wrote:The OP evidently prefers to treat it as one word, which I also prefer though I'm not sure why. I think two words would have been the original term, contracted in later usage but perpetuated by the sort of companies who continued to say "Tickets must be shown". But it may have been regional practice, just as some of the earlier companies talked about "Break Vans". I suspect that prior to the BBC, the only standards for the language were the King James bible and Shakespeare, neither of which would cover more modern technology........

I have no strong preference for the single word - in fact since becoming involved with St Albans South I've become accustomed to using the two-word version, which perhaps explains why I found the articles in the modelling magazine slightly grating when they used the abbreviation.
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Re: Abbreviation of 'Signalbox'

Unread postby JRB » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:46 pm

The Irish abbreviate it it to 'Cabin'.
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Re: Abbreviation of 'Signalbox'

Unread postby Pete2320 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:30 am

JRB wrote:The Irish abbreviate it it to 'Cabin'.


As often did the L&Y. And sometimes the UndergrounD.

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Re: Abbreviation of 'Signalbox'

Unread postby John Hinson » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:24 am

Maybe, but this has absolutely nothing to do with whether you spell "signal box" as one or two words and is therefore not relevant to this discussion - which was satisfactorily concluded a year ago.

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