Signal Boxes

While there is plenty of information in existence about the fabric of signalboxes themselves, the actual signalling layouts and their changes over the years are often overlooked, especially in the North East of the country. On these pages I’ve attempted to share some of the things I’ve found out about signalling in the area: not just the history of the boxes, but the routes they control and the changes in the signalling layouts.

Information about these topics is available from several sources:

  • Signalling Alteration Notices offer a useful insight into bigger signalling schemes, although not all changes in signalling resulted in a notice being produced.
  • Weekly Operating Notices include information ranging from paragraphs about the nomenclature of signals and their positions, to diagrams of layout changes. Usually a series of WONs are needed to be able to piece together a comprehensive idea of signalling at a location.
  • Signalbox Diagrams – these can provide accurate information about layout and lever or control numbering. Early signalling diagrams included ‘Lists of Denominations’ – a list of the names and functions of each of the levers, usually the same information that was engraved onto the lever lead (the plate attached to the lever or frame.) Later diagrams often do not include this information, and it is only available from looking at the frame itself.
  • Photographs of signal box interiors provide excellent information about the state of a layout at a given point in time. A lot of my information regarding the Blyth and Tyne signalboxes came from box visits and photographs. John Tilly has amassed a comprehensive collection on his website here
  • The Signalling Record Society has a comprehensive archive containing signalling-related material and is definitely worth investigating if this is your area of interest. It contains a significant amount of documents relating to signalling, including sectional appendices, operating notices, maps, plans and diagrams.
  • The National Archives also house many documents that contain useful signalling information, for example early copies of junction diagrams. Finding information in the archives requires a few spare hours to sift through the many categories available.

If you have any signalling information (maps, lever lists, signalling layouts, etc) that you would like to contribute to this site, please get in touch here and I will include it with full credit. My aim is to build up a comprehensive reference site covering signalling over all areas that will be freely available for other interested people.