Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Signal Box Evolution

Over the last couple of years a lot has been written about the plan to ultimately close all the railway's signal boxes and concentrate signalling operations from just a handful of large Railway Operating Centres ('ROCs' as they're now known). This has been even more the case over the last week with articles covering the 26 boxes which have been added to the list of listed signal boxes.

The funny thing to me seems that over the 'net there are enthusiasts up in arms that boxes are going to be demolished en masse, yet hardly any seem bothered about those who work in them! The buildings are only a part of it, sadly there are many enthusiasts who cannot see this.

And this is only part of the evolution of the signal box - thousands of mechanical signal boxes have already disappeared since the turn of the 20th century as methods of control have evolved. And in some existing boxes the process of evolution can seen at the one location. Selby West Signal Box is one such place. The box was originally on of several boxes in the town, with a lever frame within. Now it's the only signal box (though there's still the Swingbridge and a Gate Box at Barlby) and controls the whole of the town's railways, though the have been cut back in recent times, including the loss of the ECML following the Selby Diversion. It has an 'NX' Panel which was once in Selby South SB and if you look carefully you can see where the indications for the through roads in the station and other long gone sections once were. Each set of CCTV crossing equipment represents a signal box whose duties have been taken over by Selby West too - all part of the continuous evolution of the signal box.

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