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'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Signalling on heritage railways

'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby guard_jamie » Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:45 am

I was wondering the other day how many heritage railways can boast an 'original' signal box.

My definition of 'original' is:

1) Box was serving as the box at the site pre-preservation (not necessarily the first box built at the location)
2) Box building has not been moved post-preservation from another location on-site.
3) Frame installed and worked pre-preservation. (not necessarily the first frame installed at location). Locking alterations and addition of levers permissible.
4) Box is not a reconstruction containing a small amount of original material to the location (e.g. Bridgnorth, Hampton Loade SVR).
5) Box is in use.

My list currently is:

SVR: Highley, Bewdley North, Bewdley South
WSR: Blue Anchor, Williton
L&HR: Lakeside, Haverthwaite
ELR: Ramsbottom, Townsend Fold
YDR: Embsay
Wensleydale: Bedale
SDR: Staverton Crossing
RHDR: Hythe, New Romney
EOR: North Weald
NYMR: Goathland
CVR: Leekbrook Jn.
Mid-Hants: Alresford
Bluebell: Horsted Keynes
IoW: Havenstreet
Nene Valley: Wansford
Bala Lake: Llanuwchllyn (the fact it now works a 2' gauge line is permissible).
Strathspey: Boat of Garten South

Can anybody add any others? Or knock any of the above off the list?
Last edited by guard_jamie on Sun Nov 22, 2015 4:55 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby Chris L » Thu Nov 19, 2015 12:35 pm

ELR: Bury South frame is not pre-preservation (was L&Y, now BR LMR Standard 65 levers)
Llangollen: Llangollen Station now fitted with Duttons' frame (think it was originally GW?). Again, I think I heard that the current frame came from Borth?

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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby John Webb » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:05 pm

According to Michael A Vanns "Signalboxes" (2nd edition, Ian Allan 2013), the NYMR box at Grosmont is a new erection dating from 1996.
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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby Pete2320 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:36 pm

NYMR Grosmont is a new build.
Mid Hants. Medstead is a relocation (from Wilton South) on the original site. See http://www.watercressline.co.uk/article ... signal-box

Add
YDR: Embsay Station (box and frame 1923 on site)

Wensleydale Railway: Bedale

A couple of possibilities:
Isfield on the Lavender Line. Original box and frame but the frame was elsewhere at one stage. I'm not sure that the box is in use though.

Staverton Bridge on the South Devon Railway. Original box and frame but the box was used as a garden shed (off site) for a period.

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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:58 pm

Yes, I was told the original box at Grosmont had been nearer the junction with the national network, and that NYMR had decided that site was too far from the loco shed the other side of the short tunnel.

What about Hythe & Dymchurch? Is that line excluded because it wasn't part of the national network (but neither was Bala Lake) ?
Are the frames on the Speyside's Boat of Garten boxes replacements?

I think the definition it is fairly arbitrary in requiring continued use of a pre-closure frame, since preserved lines have completely different traffic patterns and necessitating extensive track layout and signalling changes often amounting to a resignalling, and it is not unusual to replace the frame in a resignalling (ie BR might well have replaced the frame if they were making the same changes).

Is Horsted Keynes really original, given that the lever frame support timbers had to be replaced, the levers were removed for a major resignalling leaving the layout being worked for several years by switches on the back wall, before being put back onto levers? Would it be less original if they had used a different frame?

The trouble with looking for an "original" box is that woodwork does need to be repaired, moving parts renewed, changes made to meet traffic demands, etc, all of which were also done as required by the original operators - that's why in some cases the box was on its second frame at closure. It's like the broom that has had two new heads and three new handles, but it's still the same old broom.
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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby guard_jamie » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:59 pm

Thank you for all of your contributions so far, I have amended my top post and will continue to do so as corrections come in. Mike, I completely accept that my definition of 'original' is arbitrary and subjective, which is why I have always placed it inside inverted commas. Your strict definition of original i.e. woodwork replacement etc. is correct but not the topic of discussion, as I have set my own definition for the purposes of this query. I do not argue its superiority over other interpretations, but it suits my interest.
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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby Andrew G » Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:23 pm

Mike Hodgson wrote:Are the frames on the Speyside's Boat of Garten boxes replacements?

.


Boat of Garten South on Strathspey Railway has the original frame and therefore meets the requirements - Boat of Garten North doesn't as the frame is from Carr Bridge.
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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby jimsig » Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:40 pm

The lever frame currently in use at Ludborough on the Lincs. Wolds railway was originally at Hainton Street in Grimsby. This was recovered from the box after it was burnt down in 1991. Not original to the box but original to the line.
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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby vic south » Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:02 pm

I'm afraid Loughborough may have to come off the list. Although the structure is original the frame was long gone by the time MLST moved in. The present one came from Ruddington (of all places!).
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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby Mark Lamb » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:10 pm

I'm pretty certain the following don't meet your criteria (especially for intact frames / working at closure), but as signalboxes that remained extant in situ until preservation, how about Llangollen Station (Llangollen Railway) and Oswestry South (Cambrian Railways Society)? Other boxes on the Llangollen have been 'imported', but I'm fairly certain the station SB at Llangollen is original. I'm sure others more knowledgeable may comment!
Definitely not meeting your criteria, but as an odd survivor, Castle Caereinion on the Welshpool, though this lost it's levers years ago.
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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby Pete2320 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:46 pm

On reflection, Levisham and New Bridge (NYMR) may not count as they have both been reframed in preservation. I think the frame at Goathland dates to BR days (or earlier) but plus a lever.

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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby JRB » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:50 pm

Hythe but not New Romney?
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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby Fay Singpoint » Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:42 pm

CVR:- Leek Brook Junction.
The structure has been refurbished and the box steps are new but the frame and locking are original from closure and substantially complete. Signal box is habitable but not yet in use for signalling trains.
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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby Pete2320 » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:51 am

JRB wrote:Hythe but not New Romney?

Not sure if they are eligble at all as they don't come into the usual considerations of pre and post preservation. However I would have thought both or neither.

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Re: 'Original' signal boxes on Heritage Railways.

Unread postby Andrew G » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:07 pm

North Weald on the Epping-Ongar Railway can be added.

Both boxes on the Lakeside & Hatherthwaite Railway are original with their original frames - although they are normally worked as Ground Frames by Station Staff or Guard. So 2 more potential additions.
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