Kidderminster Station signal box (1987 onwards)

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Kidderminster Signal Box
Kidderminster Signal Box

Not to be confused with the original Kidderminster Station signal box (c.1873-1973), whose nameplate the current box bears.

A signal box at Kidderminster, working to Bewdley South. The box also communicates with Network Rail's West Midlands Signalling Centre (WMSC) at Saltley.

Construction

Kidderminster Town had no signal box when it opened in 1984, resulting in an 'only one engine in steam' restriction on operations which were controlled by a simple ground frame. The signal box was built between July and December 1986, the design being based on a typical GWRGreat Western Railway medium-sized box. Extensive measurements of Abbey Foregate and Sutton Bridge Junction signal boxes at Shrewsbury ensured authenticity. Installation of the signalling equipment took place throughout 1987. The installation work involved an estimated 8,000 man hours. producing a fully assembled 62 lever frame complete with all mechanical locking, fitting to the frame of 35 electric locks and 5 combined locks and circuit controllers, and installation of a 22 ft long block shelf complete with instruments. The box was commissioned on 21 November 1987[1] following installation of the most vital piece of equipment, the signalman’s leather armchair. The lever frame is a 5-bar vertical tappet frame of very late manufacture, being built in the late 1950s for Acton Yard signal box which had a short life. Evidence of its lateness may be found in the spring housing on the catch handle drop rods, which are of a much plainer hood design than previously used by the GWRGreat Western Railway/BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W).


Signalling diagram

Kidderminster diagram 25.jpg

From 2020 the box will also control access to the Foley Park ground frame. How the signal box diagram will look once the ground frame has been installed:

Kidderminster signal box diagram 2020 including Foley Park Ground Frame.jpg

Levers and Lever Leads

Kidderminster Signal Box levers and block shelf
Interior view of Kidderminster signal box

List of levers

No. Colour Description Lever Sequence
1 Red/Brown Acceptance Lever from Bewdley south
2 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main Home 17 13
3 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main to No1 Platform Inner Home 17 35
4 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main to No1 Platform Calling On 17 35
5 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main to UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) loop Home 29 14 13
6 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Loop to No2 Platform Inner Home 29 40
7 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Loop to No2 Platform Calling On 29 40
8 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Loop to No1 Platform Inner Home 30 29 35
9 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Loop to No1 Platform Calling On 30 29 35
10 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main to Exchange Line Inner Home 19 17
11 SPACE
12 SPACE
13 Red Disc at 14
14 Black UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main Facing / UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Loop
15 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main to Engine Line No1 Inner Home (Disc) 17 37 35
16 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main to Exchange Line Calling On 19 17
17 Blue FPLFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. for 18
18 Black UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Main Facing / Exchange Line
19 Black Exchange Line Safety (Facing) 18
20 Blue FPLFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. For 19 19
21 Red Exchange Line to DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main Starting (Disc) 20
22 SPACE
23 Red From Carriage Shed Sidings Starting 24 40 or 31 35
24 Black UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Loop / Carriage Shed Sidings
25 Blue FPLFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. For 24A
26 Red No2 Platform to Carriage Shed Sidings Starting (Disc) 24 25
27 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Loop to No2 Engine Line Inner Home (Disc) 29 42 40
28 Red UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Loop to No1 Engine Line Inner Home (Disc) 37 30 29 35
29 Blue FPLFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. for 30B
30 Black UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) Loop & DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main Facings / To Cross
31 Black Compound Points in UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) & DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Loop 24 30
32 Blue FPLFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. for 31A
33 Blue FPLFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. for 30A Nil or 30 32
34 Yellow No1 Platform to Carriage Shed Sidings Starting (Disc) 31 33
35 Red Disc at 37B 36
36 Blue FPLFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. for 37B
37 Black No1 Platform Facing / No1 Engine Line
38 Red Disc for 37A 33 37
39 SPACE
40 Red Disc at 42B 41
41 Blue FPLFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. for 42B
42 Black No2 Platform Facing / No2 Engine Line
43 Red Disc for 42a 25 42
44 Red Spare
45 Blue No2 Platform / No2 Engine Line
46 Red Disc at 45b
47 Red Carriage Works Siding to/from Exchange Line Shunt 48
48 Red Disc for No. 18 16 18
49 Blue Interlocking Lever with WMSC for DR724 Points
50 Red From Network Rail to Exchange Line Shunt (Slot) 49
51 Blue FPLFacing Point Lock, equipment that physically locks points so that they cannot move. for 52B
52 Black No1 Platform / No1 Engine Line 51
53 Red Disc at 52B
54 SPACE
55 SPACE
56 Red DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main Outer Advanced Starting
57 Red DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Loop to DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main Advanced Starting 14
58 Red No1 Platform to DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Loop Starting 30 33
59 Red No2 Platform to DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Loop Starting 25
60 Red DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main Advanced Starting
61 Red From Network Rail 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 (Slot) 21 49
62 Red No1 Platform to DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main Starting 33

Connection to Network Rail

Until 2012 Kidderminster Station Signal Box worked to Kidderminster Junction signal box, 'over the fence' and operated by BRBritish Rail or British Railways, RailTrack and finally Network Rail. The connection between the SVR and national rail was somewhat limiting, requiring staff on the track for any movement between railways. This all changed when Kidderminster Junction signal box closed in 2012 (its lever frame was saved for spares by the SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society) and extensive work by Network Rail and SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society S&TSignals & Telegraph technicians installed one of the most comprehensive connections between the national rail network and a private heritage railway in existence, with movements from the SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society onto the DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Main and movements from the UpIn reference to the direction of travel means towards the major terminus (i.e. towards Kidderminster on the present day SVR) & DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Mains onto Network Rail being completely locked and signalled movements overseen by the cooperative efforts of the SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society signalman and NRNetwork Rail signaller at Saltley. This upgrade also saw the first non-GWRGreat Western Railway/BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W) signal installed on the SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society, in the form of a colour light signal reading from the SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society's 'exchange' line onto the national network or into the SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society's North Star Carriage & Wagon Works. The colour light signal can be seen beyond Kidderminster Footbridge in the photograph below.

Signalling controlled from the box

Kidderminster Signal Gantry

All signals at Kidderminster excepting the colour light signal (see above) are of late GWRGreat Western Railway/BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W) steel tubular post and enamel arm design. The large gantry originates from Taunton East, although the layout of signals upon it is quite different to how it was when it was there. Its re-erection at Kidderminster began in the spring of 1987; the foundations on which it sits required 20 tons of concrete.[2] Installation of signal wiring took place over the summer. The connections as far as the signal gantry were commissioned along with the signal box on 21 November 1987.[1]

A further signal gantry, ex-Radyr, is in storage for the platform end to replace the current collection of planted posts. It is intended this will follow the planned eventual track slewing in association with an extension of the platform[3].

As part of the 2012 resignalling of the network connection, the 'exchange line' (see diagram) was upgraded from a siding to a running line, requiring derailers to be installed on the three siding roads leading out of the North Star Carriage & Wagon Works, as there was insufficient space for a trap point. These are worked from a lever in the box, possibly the only example of worked derailers installed on a heritage railway. There are also levers to provide a 'slot' (release) to the Network Rail signaller to allow trains to proceed from Network Rail onto the SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society.

Signals 2, 5 and 56 are motor worked.

2013 fire

During the morning of Saturday 3 March 2013, the signal box suffered a small fire in the roof at the point where the stove flue passes through the ceiling. The signalman was able to leave the box without injury. A small section of the roof was destroyed, and there was some damage to the telephone system and the domestic wiring caused by the water used by the Fire Brigade, although the signalling equipment was largely unaffected. Kidderminster station was initially closed. Once access to the box was regained, the water was mopped up to prevent it falling into the frame room and its electrics. By 4pm the debris had been cleared and the roof made weather-proof with a plastic sheet supplied by Bewdley C&WCarriage & Wagon Department. Rapid work by the S&TSignals & Telegraph and PWPermanent Way departments then saw normal service resumed by commencement of operations on the following day.

Open days

The box is occasionally open for public visits during special events such as the Open House Weekend. Access is strictly controlled on such occasions as the box is reached by crossing the tracks from the platform.

See also

References

  1. 1.01.1 SVRsig.org.uk
  2. SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society News 83
  3. Adrian Hassell