Bridgnorth signal box

Bridgnorth Signal Box
Interior of Bridgnorth Signal Box
The pre-preservation signal box, photographed in September 1962 (Sellick Collection)
Reconstruction of the signal box in progress (David Cooke)

A signal box at Bridgnorth that works to Hampton Loade (short section) or Highley (long section) using ETT regulations.

Bridgnorth has had a number of signal boxes during its existence. Initially construction of two boxes was authorised in 1891 and these were brought into use in October 1892. Bridgnorth North signal box was situated north of the station on the Down side, where the two lines converged into the single line. The foundations can still be made out on the embankment side. Bridgnorth South Signal Box was at the south end of the station on the Up side, opposite Pan Pudding Hill where it could control access to the goods yard[1]. A photo of the latter box circa 1900 appears in SVR news edition 44. In 1923 both boxes were replaced by a large single central signal box[2]. It was far larger than Bridgnorth Station layout really required with many spaces in the lever frame. This was future-proofing for alterations required for the planned line to Wolverhampton that was never constructed. This was closed by BR on 2 December 1963, and the upper structure was demolished in 1965 just before the arrival of the SVR Society[3].

The masonry base of the former central signal box was originally slightly longer than it is today. Evidence of this truncation may be found by inspection of the brickwork towards the northern end on the front wall. The upper timber section was replaced by an ill-fitting box originally built in 1925 which was relocated from Pensnett in December 1968 and erected during the following year. The frame originated from Windmill End Junction signal box[4], with parts of the interlocking and signalling instruments taken from Arley signal box, which would later require that box in turn to be re-equipped when the SVR extended southwards[5].

Contents

Repairs and refurbishment in preservation

  • The signal box suffered a fire on the night of 1 January 1977. This initially started in the mains electricity switch-gear under the staircase; the staircase and surrounding floorboards were well alight before the fire brigade arrived. Structural damage was mainly confined to the south end of the box, but smoke and water damage was caused to much of the equipment. The burnt woodwork had been replaced by mid-February, and the burnt wiring replaced on a "make do and mend" basis in time for the 1977 running season[6]. Further work was done to the box as part of a major re-laying of track at Bridgnorth, with the box being closed, and the token instruments being moved to the Station Master's office, between 25 September 1977[7][8] and 6 August 1978[9][8] to allow this work to be carried out.
  • At an unknown date recladding and repainting of the upper level was undertaken by contractors.
  • In October 2018 recladding, refurbishment and repainting of the upper level was undertaken by Bridgnorth 'Wailing Wall' volunteers.[10]

    Signalling diagram

Bridgnorth Signal Diagram.jpg

Signalling diagram in Bridgnorth as of October 2015.

Levers and Lever Leads

List of levers

No. Colour Description Lever Sequence
1 Red Down Main Home 11
2 Red Down Main To No. 1 Platform Line Inner Home 12 11
3 Red Down Main To No. 1 Platform Line Calling On 12 11
4 Red No. 1 Platform Line To Hollybush Road Siding Starting 29
5 Red Down Main To No. 2 Platform Line Inner Home 13 11
6 Red Down Main To No. 2 Platform Line Calling On 13 11
7 Red No. 2 Platform Line To Hollybush Road Siding Starting
8 SPACE
9 SPACE
10 Red Down Main To Engine Shed Sidings Inner Home 14 13 11
11 Blue F.P.L. For 12 13 or 12
12 Black Down Main To No. 2 Platform Line Facing / No. 1 Platform Line
13 Blue F.P.L. For 14
14 Black No. 2 Platform Line Facing / Engine Shed Sidings
15 Red Engine Shed Sidings To Up Main Starting 14
16 Red Engine Shed Sidings Starting (Disc)
17 SPACE
18 Red No. 1 Platform Line To Carriage Siding Starting 19
19 Black Carriage Siding Safety
20 Red No. 2 Platform Line To Up Main Calling On
21 Red No. 1 Platform Line To Up Main Calling On 12
22 Red+White Band Up Main Advanced Starting
23 Red No. 2 Platform Line To Up Main Starting
24 Red No. 1 Platform Line To Up Main Starting 12
25 Red Disc For 19 19
26 Blue/Brown Interl'k'g Lever For Boiler Shop Ground Frame
27 Black Safety Points in Hollybush Road Siding (Slotted)
28 Red Disc For 27 27
29 Black Platform Lines / + Over
30 Red Disc For 27 27 29

Signalling controlled from the box

All signals at Bridgnorth are of late GWR/BR(W) steel tubular post and enamel arm design. Signal 1, the Down Home, is motor worked.

Possible replacement

No firm plans have been made, but consideration has been given to replacing the current Bridgnorth signal box. Its location is inconvenient for modern operations and also takes up space adjacent to the station that may better be used in one way or another to deal with the high flow of passengers the station now sees. A new signal box would likely be located on the opposite side of the line at the station throat, between the bracket carrying Nos.23 and 15 signals and the Cleobury Road Bridge. This would enable quicker token exchanges with incoming and outgoing trains, and the signalman would be able to see the tail lamp of all arriving trains rather than requiring affirmation of the train's complete state from the crew. The signalman would also be able to see most of the signals within the box's control rather than requiring their being repeated by block shelf instruments. Heavy resignalling would not be necessary, although the opportunity may be taken to reconnect George's siding, currently home to four Mk1 carriages in BR(S) green and in use as staff accommodation, and make the easternmost road of the yard a through road with a connection to the running lines at the north end of platform two. If the box were to be replaced, there are no certain plans on what would happen to the current box. Demolition, retention as a visitor attraction or reuse of the box for another purpose are all possibilities.

See also

References

  1. Bibliography#Books Marshall (1989), p131
  2. Bibliography#Books Marshall (1989), p134
  3. Bibliography#Books Marshall (1989), p166
  4. Signal Box Register, Volume 1: Great Western, revised 2011 edition, Signalling Record Society (plus correction sheet #9 )
  5. Bibliography#Books Marshall (1989), p200
  6. SVR news 43
  7. SVR News 46
  8. 8.08.1 Bridgnorth signal box on the SVR Signalling web site
  9. SVR News 49
  10. Bridgnorth Station SVR Facebook page 8 October 2018