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Visiting Signalboxes

You are here: Home > Forum > Miscellaneous > The real thing (signalling) > Visiting Signalboxes

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Visiting Signalboxes 17/11/2009 at 06:12 #255
welshdragon
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315 posts
I've always wanted to become a signaller, but due to my eyesight condition I'll never pass the medical.
Out of curiosity: is it possible to be able to visit signalboxes? I know the name of one of the signallers at Bangor, as he contributes to the North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board at www.nwrail.org.uk, but what do I do from there?

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Visiting Signalboxes 17/11/2009 at 06:12 #4168
welshdragon
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315 posts
I've always wanted to become a signaller, but due to my eyesight condition I'll never pass the medical.
Out of curiosity: is it possible to be able to visit signalboxes? I know the name of one of the signallers at Bangor, as he contributes to the North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board at www.nwrail.org.uk, but what do I do from there?

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Visiting Signalboxes 17/11/2009 at 06:49 #4169
Peter Bennet
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4983 posts
Probably best to ask him if he can put you in touch with the box manager.

Peter

I identify as half man half biscuit - crumbs!
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Visiting Signalboxes 18/11/2009 at 09:15 #4189
Signaller@Amsterdam
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76 posts
Just turn up and see what's possible. They might stop you at the gate, but atleast you go away with a contact number or e-mail adress. And who knows... they might let you in.
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Visiting Signalboxes 18/11/2009 at 11:22 #4190
welshdragon
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315 posts
I only know his name, i haven't ever met the guy! and I would try that Otto but i'm quite shy, and fearful of the ol' Bill
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Visiting Signalboxes 18/11/2009 at 11:39 #4191
postal
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4652 posts
Online
In the North East of England there is an old saying that "shy bairns get nowt"!
“In life, there is always someone out there, who won’t like you, for whatever reason, don’t let the insecurities in their lives affect yours.” – Rashida Rowe
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Visiting Signalboxes 18/11/2009 at 17:13 #4197
Signaller@Amsterdam
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76 posts
welshdragon said:
I only know his name, i haven't ever met the guy! and I would try that Otto but i'm quite shy, and fearful of the ol' Bill
I once turned up at Kings Cross and was send away, but I did had an e-mail adress. Some years later when I planned a visit to the UK I was able to get 15 people in. So yes... it is possible, all you have to do is ask.

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Visiting Signalboxes 19/11/2009 at 00:23 #4203
TomOF
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452 posts
I still think one of the best bets is York rail museum. it's the nearest thing to visiting a box. I'm lucky in that I visit quite a few boxes in the course of my job, but some aren't suited to large visitors due to their cramped layouts.
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Visiting Signalboxes 19/11/2009 at 05:36 #4209
welshdragon
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315 posts
And how close is York to Bangor? M-I-L-E-S.

Also, the IECC screens have now gone, they were OOC and i think they were being removed.

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Visiting Signalboxes 19/11/2009 at 09:02 #4211
GoochyB
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222 posts
Have they removed the NRM screens now? In a way I'm not surprised - whenever I'd been in the past few years there had always seemed to be one not working and the image quality very flaky/flickery on the others. It's a shame, because when it worked in worked well, and was a great way to keep tabs on railtours that were due!

(sorry, this is going a bit OT from the original post)

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Visiting Signalboxes 19/11/2009 at 09:37 #4213
kbarber
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Visiting boxes isn't like it used to be when I were a lad... OK, a student. In those days it was possible to just poke your head in & ask if you could visit, nowadays everyone seems to be a lot more uptight about such things & I would be rather wary of presuming on a signalman's good nature. As for the larger powerboxes... forget it, they are usually in a fenced compound that wouldn't disgrace an MoD establishment.

Pity, because many signalmen started their career long before they joined the railway, under the eye of a friendly bobby (Adrian Vaughan being a published example). And I still remember being caught up Finchley Road Midland by the Divisional Inspector, who was very decent about it (although he let it be known that he knew exactly what had been going on)!

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Visiting Signalboxes 19/11/2009 at 11:16 #4214
GeoffM
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welshdragon said:
And how close is York to Bangor? M-I-L-E-S.
I hardly think that is an appropriate response to somebody trying to help you.

SimSig Boss
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Visiting Signalboxes 19/11/2009 at 11:58 #4216
Peter Bennet
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4983 posts
I still think that as you have a contact name, albeit you've never met him, he is your best bet at finding out who you need to approach more formally. An alternative would be to write direct to "The Manager" at the postal address of the box.

Peter

I identify as half man half biscuit - crumbs!
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Visiting Signalboxes 19/11/2009 at 13:35 #4222
Signaller@Amsterdam
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76 posts
Come on guys.. it may apear to be from the outside... but it isn't Fort Knox we'r talking about.
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Visiting Signalboxes 20/11/2009 at 09:22 #4241
welshdragon
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315 posts
I will go on a reconnaissance mission and see what I can find out!
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Visiting Signalboxes 20/11/2009 at 22:13 #4278
Late Turn
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689 posts
Finally got around to registering on the new forums :)

If you don't get anywhere with a Network Rail box, have you considered visiting a preserved box? They're generally much easier to arrange visits to (and don't usually need any sort of advance planning for a short visit!), and, if you pick the right location, won't be too different to a mechanical box on NR.

Tom

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Visiting Signalboxes 21/11/2009 at 11:03 #4291
Signaller@Amsterdam
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True, Wansford (NVR) is a perfect one to visit.
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Visiting Signalboxes 22/11/2009 at 11:14 #4371
Zoe
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249 posts
If you want to see Absolute Block working though I believe the only options are the GCR, SVR or Peak Rail unless anyone knows of others? If you want Absolute Block in both directions then the only option is the GCR. Many other heritage railways do use bell codes though as Electric Token Block is in use.
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Visiting Signalboxes 23/11/2009 at 09:51 #4422
Late Turn
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I thought the only absolute block in preservation was the short section between the boxes at Bewdley (SVR), and L'boro - Quorn - Rothley on the GCR. Didn't think Peak Rail had any, but I'm waiting to be proved wrong :)

Some locations are, of course, more interesting than others. Personally I wouldn't go near the NVR again - I've found the people to be most unfriendly, and operationally the railway's not that inspiring either. Lots of railways do have some impressive signalling installations though - from my heavily biased position, the GCR's the best by far (and it's unusual for a request for a box visit to be turned down, especially if it's pre-arranged), but the likes of the NYMR, SVR, Bluebell, East Lancs...they're worth looking at too (found nothing but friendly faces there, but I can't say how open they are to box visits - I don't know).

You're also more likely to get more out of a visit to a preserved railway - the Signalmen are generally more 'interested' in signalling than their Network Rail counterparts (with the exception of some of the latter, who are very enthusiastic!), and there's more chance of arranging a visit 'downstairs' with the S&T too, if that sort of thing interests you.

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Visiting Signalboxes 23/11/2009 at 10:07 #4424
Zoe
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http://janford.fpic.co.uk/p48360614.html

The above link shows a block instrument in Darley Dale box at Peak Rail.

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Visiting Signalboxes 23/11/2009 at 11:20 #4429
Late Turn
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689 posts
Ah, you learn something new every day - never knew that was the case!
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Visiting Signalboxes 23/11/2009 at 11:47 #4433
kbarber
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Another alternative would be one of the various boxes that have been preserved with a simulator. St Albans South is ideal for anyone in & around London, their website is here: http://www.jo37.btinternet.co.uk/sigbox/index.html and you may even find yours truly on duty! So far the simulator runs only one of the four lines & is used simply to show the principles of absolute block working, but the intention is to extend it and hopefully it will be possible to run an authentic timetable one day. Romsey is smaller but the simulator is complete, I believe; their details are here: http://www.romseysignalbox.org.uk/ and the real joy is Exeter West http://www.studio433.co.uk/exeterwest/ nowadays located at Crewe, where it is possible to see a large mechanical box being authentically worked.
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Visiting Signalboxes 06/12/2009 at 21:54 #4872
Signalhunter
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GoochyB said:
Have they removed the NRM screens now? In a way I'm not surprised - whenever I'd been in the past few years there had always seemed to be one not working and the image quality very flaky/flickery on the others. It's a shame, because when it worked in worked well, and was a great way to keep tabs on railtours that were due!

(sorry, this is going a bit OT from the original post)
I believe that they have been improved, NOT removed. Or maybe temporarily removed to facilitate improvement. I should have been going on the Monday after Christmas but that has been altered due to family commitments.

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Visiting Signalboxes 08/12/2009 at 19:40 #4926
d429uk
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6 posts
As far as I'm aware the IECC section at the NRM has had a big make over with new screens for Signal box and finaly working monitors for station as well.
I was there a few week back and it was all closed off ready for a re opening event that evening

Mark
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Visiting Signalboxes 08/12/2009 at 21:52 #4928
nnr
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134 posts
Ill be sending/receiving a few bells to/from Mr. Vaughan on 28th of this month........
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