Bewdley South signal box

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Bewdley South signal box
Interior of Bewdley South signal box

A signal box at Bewdley, working to Bewdley North and Kidderminster. Bewdley South signal box has interesting arrangements in that it works to Bewdley North by Absolute Block on the main line (platforms 1 & 2), by direction levers under ETT Regulations on the Back Road (platform 3), with the Rock Siding and DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Yard operated as through sidings. Operation to Kidderminster is via Acceptance Lever.

The box passed almost immediately from British Rail's care into the hands of the SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society, and this coupled with the only minor alterations the track layout it controls has undergone, means it is one of the most 'original' signal boxes in preservation, retaining its 1923 lever frame, pre-preservation block shelf and rear wall furniture, including a token instrument cupboard (one of the originals working either to Stourport, Kidderminster or Bewdley North via the Back Road) and cupboards, phone board and train register desk, complete with curve worn into it by generations of signalmen leaning against it! The box also contains a table, box stool, and short bench which possibly date to pre-preservation days. Two armchairs and a GWRGreat Western Railway table chair ex-Gloucester S&TSignals & Telegraph offices provided in 1993 complete the furnishings.

The box won a National Railway Heritage Award, the Westinghouse Signalling Award, in 2007.[1] The box and the privy situated adjacent to it are both included on the Wyre Forest District Council Local Heritage List.

Diagram

BS Diagram.jpg

Signalling diagram in Bewdley South. The circles on the diagram are track circuit indicators, which light in the presence of a train (or failure of a track circuit), the pilot light in bottom right being constantly lit to indicate that the power is on.

BS BR Era Diagram.jpg

The office copy of the GWRGreat Western Railway/BRBritish Rail or British Railways-era diagram for Bewdley South. The diagram shows alterations to remove the signals and points for the Down Yard. The SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society was given control of the yard before BRBritish Rail or British Railways ceased running services to Bewdley, and it is thought that the pointwork for the yard was never physically removed. Instead, it is theorised that the removal of these features of the diagram was done to indicate to signalmen that they were not to be used under any circumstances [2].

Labelled diagram of Block Shelf

BS Frame Labelled.jpg

The lever frame and block shelf at Bewdley South. The descriptions for the labelled items are as follows:

A: Signal arm repeaters for Lever 0 (DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Distant, top indicator) and Lever 1 (DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Home, bottom indicator)
B: Signal lamps repeater
C: Possession key for Bewdley South-Kidderminster section, removed from the instrument to protect the line during engineering work, etc.
D: Block bell from Kidderminster
E: Block instrument to Bewdley North for UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) and DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) main
F: Block bell to Bewdley North for UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) and DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) main
G: Block instrument to Bewdley North for Back Road
H: Block bell to Bewdley North for Back Road
I: Track circuit indicator for "Tunnel Track" (extends between the distants at Bewdley South and Kidderminster, either side of Bewdley Tunnel)
J: UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) train accepted (by Kidderminster) indicator
K: Lever 27 Free/Locked indicator (locks Lever 27 Reversed when Bewdley North clears the Backing Signal on the DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main)
L: Signal 30 approach locking Free/Locked indicator
M: Signal arm repeater for signal 30 (UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Starting)
N: Signal arm repeater for signal 33 (UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main Distant)

With the exception of B, the block shelf equipment in Bewdley South is all of BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W) design, meaning the signalling in the box largely represents a 1950s/60s scene (though quite different to Bewdley South in that period due to post-preservation alterations).

Levers and Lever Leads

The following photographs show the levers and lever leadsThe (usually brass) information panel on a point or signal lever informing the signalman which other levers need to be pulled to release that lever at Bewdley South.

List of levers

No. Colour Description Lever Sequence
0 Yellow From Kidderminster Distant 1 6
1 Red From Kidderminster Home 23 22 13 12 or 22 13 12 or 17 16 15 12
2 Red/Brown Acceptance Lever From Kidderminster
3 Red From Hartlebury To DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main Home 23 22 21 or 22 21
4 Red From Hartlebury To Back Platf'm Home 17 16 15 12 10
5 Red+White Band From Hartlebury To DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main Inner Home 22 21
6 Red+White Band From Kidderminster To DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main Inner Home 22 13 12
7 Red+White Band From Kidderminster Or Hartlebury To Back Platf'm Inner Home 17 16 15 12 11
8 SPACE
9 Red From Kidderminster To DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Sidings Inner Home 23 22 13 12
10 Black Facings Xover 17 16 15 12
11 Blue/Brown Interl'k'g Lever With Bewdley North For Back Road
12 Blue F.P.LFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move..s For Nos. 10 & 13 23 22 13 or 22 13 or 17 16 15
13 Black From Kidderm'tr Facing / Main
14 Red Disc for No. 18 16 18
15 Blue F.P.LFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. for No. 16 17 16
16 Black UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main / Back Platf'm
17 Blue F.P.LFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. for No. 18
18 Black Back Platf'm / Rock Siding
19 Red Disc for No. 18 16 18 or 17 16 15 12 10 [PUT BACK 12 15 17] 18
20 Red From Hartlebury To DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Sidings Inner Home 23 22 21
21 Black Stourport Line Safety
22 Blue F.P.LFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. for No. 23 NIL or 23
23 Black DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main Facing / DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Sidings
24 Red Disc for No. 13 13
25 Red Disc for No. 13 21
26 Red Disc for No. 23 13 23 24 or 21 23 25
27 Blue/Brown Interl'k'g Lever With Bewdley North For DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main (Backing)
28 Red Back Platf'm To Hartlebury Home 17 16 15 12 10 PUT BACK 12 15 17
29 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main To Hartlebury Home 17 16 15 12 10 PUT BACK 12 15 16
30 Red+White Band To Kidderm'tr Start'g
31 Red Back Platf'm To Kidderminster Home 16
32 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main To KidderMinster Home
33 Yellow UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main Distant 32 30

History before preservation

Construction of the first two signal boxes at Bewdley was authorised by the GWRGreat Western Railway Board in October 1877 as part of the opening of the Kidderminster Loop Line. They were the first 'proper' signal boxes on the Severn Valley Railway, all other boxes dating from after 1880[3]. There is uncertainty as to whether Bewdley North and Bewdley South are these original 1877/78 build boxes or later (19th century) replacements.

The box has had three lever frames during its life. The original 28-lever McKenzie and Holland lever frame was replaced in September 1909 with a 31 (or 32) lever frame, and replaced again circa 1923 with a GWRGreat Western Railway 32-lever 4" 3-bar vertical tappet frame.[4] The interlocking has had minor alterations in preservation to suit preservation needs, but much is as it was prior to 1970.

Bewdley South signal box closed under BRBritish Rail or British Railways ownership on Saturday 3 January 1970. The Train Register recording the closure was formerly on display in The Engine House at Highley.

Signalling controlled from the Box

Signals on the approach to Bewdley South
Most of the signals at Bewdley South are of late GWRGreat Western Railway/BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W) steel tubular post and enamel arm design, however Signals 5, 6, 7, 9, 14 and 20 are mounted on two wooden post bracket signals and are of the earlier GWRGreat Western Railway 'wasp-tail' design. Many of the signals at Bewdley South are of pre-preservation vintage, because the layout has been so little altered. However, the large bracket outside of the signal box carrying signals 6, 7, 9 and 14 did not carry signal 14 or Bewdley North's DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) distant signals pre-preservation, and the opposite bracket carrying signals 5 and 20 did not carry the bracket for signal 20 or a distant either, and it has been shortened somewhat to combat rot discovered in the lower end of the post. The wooden posts on the larger bracket were replaced in 2006.

Signals 0 and 33, the DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) and UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Distants respectively, are motor worked. Signal 33 is mounted beneath Bewdley North's Signal 3, and is electrically slotted.

See also

References

  1. http://nrha.org.uk
  2. Severn Valley Signalmen Facebook group
  3. Marshall (1989), p128
  4. Signal Box Register, Volume 1: Great Western, revised 2011 edition, Signalling Record Society (plus correction sheet #9 )