THE SIGNAL BOX
Signal Boxes and Signalling Equipment
This section primarily illustrates and describes the tremendous variation in the architecture of British signal boxes. Some railway companies designed their own signal boxes, whilst others used signalling contractor's architecture. Many used both.
The chosen locations have been subdivided by railway company or contractor below. After selecting the company of interest, you will be taken to a page with thumbnail views and brief descriptions of the architectural features.
For more information, please click on the thumbnail images. The detail page for each location will often, apart from describing the box, include other photographs such as of the lever frames, block instruments and signals. To help you find these, they are indicated on the railway company pages by icons as follows:
The unique reference numbers at the top of each location's page come from the Directory of British Signal Boxes.
At the foot of each page in the Photo Gallery are links back to this page and also a "back" button which will return you to the previous page that you viewed.
This section is the result of a massive project I set myself in the 1970's - to photograph every variation in architecture that existed. It is in fact surprising that so much still survived at that date, but there are gaps in my collection.
It is only the advent of the internet that has allowed me to share my studies of thirty years with the world. The compilation of this section has now nearly reached completion, and I will soon need to seek the help of others to fill the gaps. A list of desired locations or types will be published here within the next few months, and any help would be appreciated.
Pre-grouping (up to 1923)
Big Four (1923 to 1948)
British Railways (from 1948)
Signalling contractors' designs
My interest in railway signalling started in the 1960's when, as a short-trousered trainspotter, I was asked into Oakleigh Park signal box by the signalman. Immediately I found signal boxes more interesting than engines, and with the end of steam trains in 1968 my interests swung totally towards the fascinating world of signal boxes and their equipment.
Even by the 1970's, there was so much signalling equipment around that if you looked hard enough you could find representation of nearly every pre-grouping railway company's architecture, lever frames, instruments and signals. Whereas many signalling enthusiasts (what few of us there area) concentrate on a particular area or railway company's practice, my interests have always been in the comparison of principles around the United Kingdom.
My earliest pictures were not of good quality and were the product of a Kodak box camera. I soon advanced to 35mm slide photography, something I continue to this day although it has to be said this is not the best medium for conversion to digital pictures for web use. nevertheless, some of my earlier pictures which have faded badly have been rejuvenated a bit with computer technology.
In the 1970's and 1980's it was easy to get permission to visit signal boxes which are normally a private area. These days, red tape and safety regulations make it rather more difficult - please do not attempt to visit signal boxes without permission.
This part of "The Signal Box" web site has allowed me to collate the best locations in my photographic collection and share them, and the knowledge I have gained over the years, with you.
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