A different (purpose) interlocking...

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RailUK Forums


4 Nov 2011
Valongo - Portugal
That's a Bouré key locker board. The one shown in the photo is one were the front sheet was replaced to show the inner mechanism.

The keys can be moved around, between the station master's office and the correspondent switch/signal. When in use the "close" keys are locked on the switch/signal, and the opposite "open" key is released. In the opposite way the "open" key is locked to the switch/signal and the "close" key is released to be locked onto the board, unlocking other protected keys.

When the station is to be closed (i.e. not staffed for the night/weekend) a set of keys should be locked onto the locker board in order to keep a direct open line through the station and the "eclipsed station" signal to be visible, only then unlocking the "Master" key, which the station master would bring home.

Some boards were upgraded to show the open paths on a station diagram using electric lights.

The advantage, as you said, is that the locking mechanism is much cheaper than a full lever frame, being widely used on small stations with relatively few platforms, signals and switches. Lever frames were employed in much larger stations were it would be impractical to have equally huge Bouré boards and have people running around between signals and switches to change their aspect/position.

This documentary from the 150th Anniversary of the Portuguese Railways shows that system in action, starting from 3:27

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