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Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

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

Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

Unread postby John Webb » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:14 pm

In late August 1965 I took a trip on the North Woolwich - Stratford line, fairly local to me at the time, and one which I'd visited in my early teens to train-spot on the main line platforms at Stratford. I hadn't travelled on it for several years due to 'O' and 'A' levels and a girlfriend or two. I had a relatively new 35mm camera and these pictures were taken on about my 4th roll of colour slide film. Being a fairly penurious student at the time I didn't go mad on photos - if only DSLRs had come along 50 years earlier!

About to depart from North Woolwich:
Image

Searchlight signal at Customs House on the up line:
Image
(The PLA sidings on the left were in use, but not as busy as they had been in the late 1950s.)

In the up platform at Canning Town station:
Image

Abbey Mills Lower Junction - I've posted two pictures in the current thread on that topic - see http://forum.signalbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7475
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Re: Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

Unread postby John Webb » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:27 pm

Episode 2 - Approaching the former Stratford Market station from the south:
Image

My favourite photo of the day - the gantries at the north end of the former Stratford Market station:
Image

On the way back to North Woolwich, approaching Thames Wharf Junction which connected with the PLA railway system; that was to close 5 years later:
Image
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Re: Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

Unread postby Pete2320 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:54 am

Fascinating pictures John.

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Re: Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

Unread postby John Hinson » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:34 am

A wonderful set of pictures, John, which bring back memories for me too although I was about four years behind you getting to know the line. The docks were very much reduced in traffic by then and rationalisation was happening but I wasn't so heavily into signalling at that time and had only a box camera! I do remember Thames Wharf box being quite large and imposing.

One of things I realised I had no recollection of whatsoever but was revealed with Norman Cadge's collection are the early E79xxx series Metro-Cammell DMUs that worked the line (one of which is in your last picture above) and in my trainspotting days I had assumed they only worked the far reaches of the network. Norman took some grand colour portraits of these units but (from what I have looked at) very little of the signalling down there other than the black-and-white picture at Custom House we have already seen. But there are thousands of his pictures to wade through yet so who knows?

Back to signalling - oh those lovely gantries at Stratford Market, with "D" plates on each doll of the main line stop signals. The Eastern Region didn't use Fireman's Call Plungers a lot and generally used those plates to indicate telephones.

And the lovely mechanical colour-light at Custom House - you can see the corresponding mechanical Down Home in the distance too.

Great stuff.

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Re: Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

Unread postby colin1501 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:01 am

As John says, a fascinating collection. I travelled regularly on the line between North Woolwich and Stratford for a few months in 1982, and viewed it from the front of a Cravens DMU. Things were much rationalized by then with, I recall, the line being single track and OTW between Custom House and North Woolwich. The box and some semaphores remained at Custom House; there were colour-lights at Canning Town, but I seem to remember that magnificent gantry at Stratford Market remained, though shorn of many of its arms and doll posts. Would that be right at that time?

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Re: Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

Unread postby John Hinson » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:26 am

I suspect the gantry survived until Southern Junction came out in 1984, Colin, it is certainly marked on my last-dated plan of 1978.

One little "claim to fame" I have, which I considered mentioning in the Custom House discussion, is that I walked all of the line from Custom House to Gunnersbury (with the exception of a short section around Hackney, which I did by train) over several days in the 1990s doing an inspection of equipment which was ordered from on high and no other mug was willing to do. It would have been much more fun in the sixties but it would still beat a Michael Portaloo trip for seeing the sights any day.

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Re: Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

Unread postby John Webb » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:20 am

John Hinson wrote:.....One of things I realised I had no recollection of whatsoever but was revealed with Norman Cadge's collection are the early E79xxx series Metro-Cammell DMUs that worked the line (one of which is in your last picture above) and in my trainspotting days I had assumed they only worked the far reaches of the network. Norman took some grand colour portraits of these units but (from what I have looked at) very little of the signalling down there other than the black-and-white picture at Custom House we have already seen. But there are thousands of his pictures to wade through yet so who knows?......

When I first knew the North Woolwich line around 1957 it was entirely steam-worked with 'Quad-art' sets and other elderly coaching stock. Class N7 locos were the mainstay, although towards the end of steam (August or September 1962) there were BR standard class 4MT 2-6-4T locos in use as well as the DMUs which, I think, came in circa 1959 or 1960?
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Re: Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

Unread postby StevieG » Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:26 pm

Yes, really great photos John W.
Thanks v.m.
BZOH

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Re: Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

Unread postby John White » Wed Apr 5, 2017 10:32 pm

Whilst a little late to this thread, there is one of Alan Snowdon's excellent films here :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27259L4WT-o

which shows some of the signalboxes and signalling along the North Woolwich to Palace Gates route in 1960.
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Re: Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

Unread postby John Webb » Thu Apr 6, 2017 8:37 am

Thanks for that link - interesting that the sound track has been updated with references to 'Crossrail'!
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Re: Signals and Boxes between N Woolwich and Stratford, 1965

Unread postby StevieG » Tue May 9, 2017 10:23 am

John W.,
Apologies, I also meant to add my appreciation of the photos at the time of your posting them : Thanks v.m.
John Hinson wrote: .... And the lovely mechanical colour-light at Custom House .... " John
.... Re that signal, I've only just noticed the depression bar just in advance of it : Interesting !
BZOH

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Custom House E D B

Unread postby scarpa » Thu May 18, 2017 4:41 pm

The use of an Electrical Depression Bar which may have been in lieu of a track circuit in advance of the mechanical colour light is there any evidence of EDB s used along the Woolwich line .Any ideas ?
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Re: Custom House E D B

Unread postby John Webb » Thu May 18, 2017 7:23 pm

scarpa wrote:The use of an Electrical Depression Bar which may have been in lieu of a track circuit in advance of the mechanical colour light is there any evidence of EDB s used along the Woolwich line .Any ideas ?

I don't recall seeing any others, but must admit I was taking pictures of the general railway scene on that line, it was coincidental that a number of pictures were of boxes and/or signals. Indeed I'd never spotted the EDB beyond the CLS in that picture until Stevie G pointed it out! (My signalling interest developed rather later in my life!)
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