THE SIGNAL BOX
MUSEUMS & PUBS
MUSEUMS & PUBS
with signalling equipment on display
This section comprises a listing of museums and pubs that contain signalling equipment. They are listed by county for easy reference. Overseas museums appear at the foot of the list.
Every location listed here has signalling equipment of one sort or another on public display. This may be just a single item, or a whole hall full. A guide to this is given in the text, although bear in mind that displays may be changed at any time.
If the equipment on display is not original, for example fibreglass replicas in pubs, this will be mentioned in the text, but it doesn't necessarily mean the place isn't worth a visit.
Preserved railways are not listed here for their operational equipment. However, if they have separate displays of signalling equipment. . . well, that's different.
There must be many more museums and pubs to add to this section - can you help?
Dumfries & Galloway
|Heritage Centre, Bellingham||
The heritage centre (based at the old station) includes a comprehensive display about the stations on that line, including some signalling items such as tickets from Staff & Ticket working, Tablet pouches and a NBR signal. A photographic display includes veiws of most of the signal boxes and a searchable photographic database is available from which pictures may be purchased.
|Flag & Whistle P.H., York||
This pub is situated in the City of York, on the road out towards Huntingdon, and located near a closed station. It has a home signal outside, beside the road.
It has not yet been investigated to see if any items are on display inside.
|The Head of Steam P.H., Scarborough||
A branch of this chain exists in the station buildings at Scarborough. Mostly non-signalling railwayana, apart from some lever badges and a signal box nameboard.
|National Railway Museum, York||
The National Railway Museum in York has a large range of signalling equipment displayed.
The new Lottery-funded gallery "The Works" opened in 1999 features an external viewing balcony, looking out over the north end of York station. A hot link to York IECC shows operations progressing, and a CCTV camera shows Skelton Junction in real time. A replica mechanical signal box is connected to a computer simulator so that staff can demonstrate block and lever sequences, and two specially-made brass block bells can be operated by visitors. A series of story boards and exhibits from the reserve collection will be built up into a new gallery, which will relate the development of signalling.
|The Sidings Restaurant, Shipton-by-Beningborough||Some genuine signalling equipment is on display in this restaurant by the East Coast main line, just north of York.|
|Didcot Railway Museum||
There are two signal boxes here, from Radstock and Frome. Radstock (representing a GWR box in the 1930s) contains a GWR double-twist frame, gate wheel for the adjoining level crossing, and appropriate bells blocks, indicators and key releases. It is open to the public on specified days, and on certain other days the boxes are actually operated for demonstration purposes.
At the opposite end of the line, Frome Mineral Junction represents a signal box in the early 1870s, with basic equipment including single-needle telegraph and Webb-Thompson staff instrument. The GW Stud frame came from Stoneycombe Sidings and controls a mixture of early signals (including a disc and crossbar, and a slotted post type) through overhead signal wires. There is no easy access to this box, but visits can sometimes be negotiated.
Apart from the boxes, there is a large amount of outdoor signalling equipment to be seen, much of it rare
|Hook Norton Village Museum||
Hook Norton Brewery has a visitor centre. Hook Norton Brewery Visitor Centre gives access to Hook Norton Brewery Museum. Hook Norton Brewery Museum gives access to Hook Norton Village Museum.
Hook Norton Village Museum contains the H.N. S,B. nameplate, diagram, an ETT instrument containing a H.N. to Bloxham token and assorted S & T hardware.
|Pendon Railway Museum, Long Wittenham||A collection of signalling equipment is housed in a mock-up signalbox to demonstrate working practices. Also not to be missed is a fully signalled model railway that forms just part of a massive model country scene of the past. This is in the process of being automated to work with computers making real-time regulating decisions on behalf of absent signalmen.|
|Scolton Manor Country park, near Clarbeston Road||
Sarnau signal box exists as part of this folk museum complex.
|Museum of Transport, Glasgow||
Amongst the other exhibits, a fair amount of interesting signalling equipment is displayed. To be found are a G&SWR lower quadrant T-bracket signal from Fairlie Pier, a LNER/RSCo ground disc signal, a Glasgow Underground 2-aspect colour light (part of the mock-up underground station), a G&SWR block inscribed "Dumfries South" and a Caledonian instrument (inscribed "Midcalder"). Smaller equipment includes a brass-cased semaphore signal repeater inscribed "Up distant 12", a Tyer's wooden-cased semaphore slot repeater inscribed "Slot of Aberdeen North", and a 'SYX' wooden-cased battery operated mercury time switch. Single line equipment consists of a wooden train staff from the Dundee & Newtyle Railway, a brass train staff inscribed "Tay Bridge Train Staff" with clip for holding ticket, a brass train staff inscribed "Ballochney Branch" with key end and a brass train staff inscribed "Drumburgh Junc & Port Carlisle". Photographs of the last two items appear on page 131 of "LNER Constituent Signalling".
The RSPB Centre at Forsinard is housed within the station building. Inside, on public view, is the two-lever Dutton frame which controlled the starting signals as per Highland Railway practice.
Replica Somerset & Dorset signal box, located on West Somerset Railway.
|The Sidings P.H., Doncaster||
This is a new pub but built with old materials. located quite near the railway yard to the south of Doncaster station. There are many signalling items inside which appear to be genuine even if some of them are mounted upside down. The collection of wagon and bridge plates are fake but the LNER east coast mile posts are real enough.
|Foxfield Railway Museum, Blythe Bridge||
This general railway museum includes some items of signalling interest - notably an original Tyers one-wire three-position block instrument of the North Staffordshire Railway, as well some original 'egg cup' NSR lever collars.
|Great Cockrow Railway, near Chertsey||
All manner of signalling in operation, ranging from full size ex-Midland mechanical locking frame operating semaphores, to Westinghouse L miniature lever frames with 2/3/4 aspect colour lights complete with route indicators and flashing aspects. Signalboxes not officially open to the public, but most can be seen and block bells heard. Good view of all the lineside signalling from the intensive miniature train service, incredible how much railway packed into the available space and the short headways that can be achieved. Open summer Sunday afternoons only, best to arrive early before 14:00 to beat the queues.
Close to M25 J11 but don't expect it to be signed even once you've arrived (planning permission prohibits advertising apparently). Initially dual carriageway towards Woking, right onto A320 past St Peter's hospital, then left B386 extremely briefly, immediate right up Hardwick Lane. Anonymous entrance on right after few hundred yards after riding stables. If road crosses motorway - you've missed it!
|The Valley Junction 397 Restaurant||
This Indian Restaurant is housed in a mock signalbox and an adjacent carriage. Recommended by one of the visitors to this site for the cuisine, irrespective of the accommodation!
|The Head of Steam P.H., Huddersfield||
In the west wing of Huddersfield station, which was once described as "..a stately home with trains.." There is much railway memorabilia on the walls and it's all for sale too. There is a bay window which fronts out onto the platform and there are even tables on the platform so you can sit and watch the trains go by and drink a decent pint at the same time.
This rather trendily-named museum is what is known better to many as the GWR Museum in Swindon, and has some exhibits that have little to do with steam power.
Included in the displays are a few early signals, including some of the disc and crossbar type. There are also some model signals on show.
|Kidderminster Railway Museum||
A large collection of single line instruments, including Webb-Thompson large and small staff instruments (from the UK and Egypt), Tyer's No.6 and No.7 Tablet instruments and GWR key tokens plus Gangers Occupation Key equipment. Most are operational and can be demonstrated.
Dutton & Co. lever frame from Rogart (Highland Railway) has been re-erected and can be operated by visitors.
Display showing development of telegraph and telephony communication.
Displays of tokens, tablets, staffs, signal arms and finials.
The museum also has a large library, archive and photographic collection, accessible by prior arrangement.
Note - Northern Ireland is grouped with the Irish Republic below as their signalling systems are more closely related than with that of the UK mainland.
|Claremont signal box, Western Australia||
Claremonts signal box has been restored and is open to the public on special dates. Access is from the station footbridge at Claremont.
|Merredin Railway Museum, Western Australia||The closed elevated signal box at Merredin station is available for access by visitors. The box diagram has faded and is virtually unreadable, and no explanations or descriptions of the equipment are provided. There are semaphore signals nearby, too.|
|Eisenbahn Museum, Knittelfield||
This railway museum includes a display of signalling equipment - with two working frames with block which can be worked under supervision. There is also a full-size barrier to be worked and more signalling equipment is being prepared for display.
|Hong Kong Railway Museum, Tai Po Market||
Hong Kong Railway Museum is an open-air museum located in the centre of Tai Po Market.
The museum have various signalling items on display, including semaphore signals, a ball token instrument, a double-wire frame and many photographs.
|National Rail Museum, New Delhi||
India has a rather good collection of not only signalling gear (such as Neale's Ball-Token instruments) but also other railway paraphernalia and documentation and general railway displays such as the world's oldest working steam locomotive in a sprawling 10 acre site at Chanakyapuri
|Headhunters Barber Shop & Railway Museum||
A range of signalling equipment on display including a complete set of Great Northern Railway (Ireland) signalling staffs from the Enniskillen - Bundoran line and the Derry Road. Also signalling equipment from the Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway including the staff and ticket box system and a selection of block instruments and repeaters. In addition visitors can also see a signal lever frame, signal arm, block instruments, repeaters, bells and associated items of signalling . . . and get their hair cut too!
|Hell's Kitchen Pub and Raiway Museum, Castlerea||Run by Sean Brown, this museum and pub contains the largest collection of train staffs known of in the Irish Republic.|
|Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Cultra||The Irish Transport Museum has, amongst its many exhibits, a lever frame, some instruments and a few staffs.|
|Tokyo Transport Museum, near Akihabara||
A selection of signals are on display at this museum, with descriptions in Japanese only.
|Utrecht Railway Museum||
The former Maliebaan station has been converted into an interesting museum unusual in that there is a level crossing over an open railway line linking the two sides. Well worth a visit to see the range of historic locomotives and rolling stock (several British built of mid 1800s, replica 1.95m 1830s train etc). In particular, the signalbox has been restored and is demonstrated whilst actually being used to signal the standard gauge tram loco and coach which provide a short out-and-back round trip around the site. Signalling basically follows German practice of early years of 20th century with signals and points operated via vertically operated levers and wheels, the interlocking being via mini locking levers that engage in the wheel's circumference. A free-standing exhibit shows how both the mechanical locking and electrical release from neighbouring signalbox are implemented and at least some of the staff speak excellent English.
|Banmuseet (Museum of Rail & Track), Ängelholm||
This museum has three semaphores of different types, together with some more modern signals. There is also a quantity of signal box equipment of various types on display.
|Illinois Railroad Museum, Union||
Included amongst this mueum's exhibits are a range of signals which were, in 2002, in the process of being labelled.
|Railroad Mueum, Conneaut||This museum has an old ball signal on display, like the one surviving example at Whitefield.|
|Railroad Museum, Monticello||This museum has a nicely restored Hall "banjo" signal on display.|
With thanks to Tim Barrett, John Batts, Martin Bond, Shaun Burnley, Sarah Canham, Donnacha Cronin, Nick Crosby, Richard Cullen, Peter Davies, Tim Dunn, Subhasis Ganguly, Kevin Hampton, Dave Harris, David Ingham, John Ingham, Helena, Paul Hepworth, Richard Huss, Simon Lowe, Steve Luxton, Andy McKenna, Harald Mueller, Frank Paterson, Ian Pidgeley, Andrew Porteous, Richard Putley, Colin Reid, Jim Smith, J R Smith, Bob Taaffe, Mike Tyrrell, Geoff Walker and Peter Woodbridge.
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