Signal gantries

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Inversnecky

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As a boy, I loved signal gantries as much as I marvelled at the complex trackwork outside stations. The Inverness gantry looked impossibly complex!

I was trying to find a proper photo of it online, but can only find these curtailed versions. Can anyone help out?

For better or worse, this once elegant collection of dozens of semaphores has been replaced by a handful of colour lights. Just not the same:)

Also, which impressive gantries do you recall from the past? Think Rugby was one of the most famous?
 

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hexagon789

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As a boy, I loved signal gantries as much as I marvelled at the complex trackwork outside stations. The Inverness gantry looked impossibly complex!

I was trying to find a proper photo of it online, but can only find these curtailed versions. Can anyone help out?

For better or worse, this once elegant collection of dozens of semaphores has been replaced by a handful of colour lights. Just not the same:)

Also, which impressive gantries do you recall from the past? Think Rugby was one of the most famous?
There used to an impresive Gantry at Aberdeen
I first saw a picture of Aberdeen's gantry in railway modeller and I was struck by the size and array of signals.

I've not seen Inverness' but I'd guess it had seperate for each side of the 'Y".

I found a couple of the one you have above - Welsh's Bridge Junction, on Railscot:



Don't know if that are any good, you mind find more there or alternatively on Flickr by searching for "Welsh's Bridge Junction".
 

John Webb

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One of the last gantries on Network Rail was the one at Scarborough (click on photos to go to the larger originals):
Falsgrave Signal Box

© Copyright David Rogers and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

When taken out of service, it was carefully dismantled:
Dismantling Falsgrave signal gantry 1

© Copyright Christopher Hall and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Subsequently passed to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway where it now serves, in modified form, at Grosmont station:
Signal gantry at Grosmont Station

© Copyright Christopher Hall and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
 

Bevan Price

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Preston used to have good gantries at each end of the station.
Scroll down the pages at:


 

Inversnecky

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There used to an impresive Gantry at Aberdeen

I've never seen that, must have a look for some photos.

I first saw a picture of Aberdeen's gantry in railway modeller and I was struck by the size and array of signals.

I've not seen Inverness' but I'd guess it had seperate for each side of the 'Y".

I found a couple of the one you have above - Welsh's Bridge Junction, on Railscot:



Don't know if that are any good, you mind find more there or alternatively on Flickr by searching for "Welsh's Bridge Junction".

Thanks, hexagon. As it happened, there was a photo of the Welsh's Bridge gantry on the back cover of a book I was reading this afternoon, taken in the 1960s, IIRC - the other side of the gantry largely empty. I always thought it was full, but likely my memory playing tricks me after several decades.
 

hexagon789

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I've never seen that, must have a look for some photos.



Thanks, hexagon. As it happened, there was a photo of the Welsh's Bridge gantry on the back cover of a book I was reading this afternoon, taken in the 1960s, IIRC - the other side of the gantry largely empty. I always thought it was full, but likely my memory playing tricks me after several decades.
I find that as well, things often aren't quite as I think they were when I revisit them after some time.

Regarding Aberdeen, hope you don't mind, but this is one of my favourite photos of the old gantry from John Whiteley's excellent flickr albums:

And a Whistler to boot, what more could one want? ;)
 

Inversnecky

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Nice hexagon!

I've just been having a search as well - here are Aberdeen, Edinburgh (east) and Rugby:
 

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Snow1964

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Southampton had probably one of the last big gantries to be built, it was over the extra platforms added in mid 1930s, controlling the 3 new running lines (goods + 2) built on reclaimed land (the former shore, before new docks were built). It survived until 1980s


Here is Waterloo A box which was replaced during 1936 resignalling, therefore shows the approach before the main and suburban lines were paired by use, rather than direction (when Wimbledon flyover was opened). I think many of the huge gantries were reused for the colour light signals

Looks like there are signals for both directions, the ones leaving station appear to be numbered upto 18 (but in opposite direction to platform numbers, as it was before station rebuild) there are also shunt signal arms, is the triangular one (2nd from left) a backing signal for engine? Also lower arms in front of signal box

 
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John Webb

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......Here is Waterloo A box which was replaced during 1936 resignalling, therefore shows the approach before the main and suburban lines were paired by use, rather than direction (when Wimbledon flyover was opened). I think many of the huge gantries were reused for the colour light signals

Looks like there are signals for both directions, the ones leaving station appear to be numbered upto 18 (but in opposite direction to platform numbers, as it was before station rebuild) there are also shunt signal arms, is the triangular one (2nd from left) a backing signal for engine? Also lower arms in front of signal box

The 'Triangular' signal indicates 'Wrong road running' according to G Pryer's book "A Pictorial Record of Southern Signals".
 

furnessvale

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Preston gantry. Single photo.
 

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furnessvale

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Blimey! o_O

And I used to think Stirling was well appointed with 3! ;)
Add to that the fact that two of those boxes had a 227 lever frame fitted in each!

I was once sitting in No5 box one sunday morning waiting for a possession when the bobby had to signal three conflicting moves in quick succession. He literally had to pull and push several dozen levers to make the moves, a figure in the high 40s springs to mind.
 

Inversnecky

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I can't remember how many railway related photos I took back in the day, if any, but one day must summon up the energy to venture into the loft to look through old albums....
 

hexagon789

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Add to that the fact that two of those boxes had a 227 lever frame fitted in each!

I was once sitting in No5 box one sunday morning waiting for a possession when the bobby had to signal three conflicting moves in quick succession. He literally had to pull and push several dozen levers to make the moves, a figure in the high 40s springs to mind.
227 levers(!), no wonder they switched to centralised power signalling centres!
 

furnessvale

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227 levers(!), no wonder they switched to centralised power signalling centres!
Not every lever position is occupied by a lever but the bottom photo in #5 has an interior photo of one of the boxes which shows a large frame with 3 signalmen operating it.
 

hexagon789

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Not every lever position is occupied by a lever but the bottom photo in #5 has an interior photo of one of the boxes which shows a large frame with 3 signalmen operating it.
The manpower involved is also quite intensive, I can understand why Sunday services were poor for many years - not wanting to pay all those staff double time! ;)

I imagine there are probably larger examples but so far I'm quite impressed with the Preston arrangements at 7 boxes and two with over 220 levers.
 
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Does anyone know the record for the gantry carrying signal arms operated from the largest number of different signal boxes?

Like the OP, I was always interested in signal gantries as a youth, along with all the clever ironmongery which went into operating mechanical signalling.
One of my personal favourites was the long-gone (in 1972) gantry at Hindley No. 2 box - see below.
Hardly the biggest or most impressive installation on the railway, but it fascinated me as a child.

Signal arms on this gantry were actually controlled from four different signal boxes.
All the Home signals (technically Starters) were operated from the adjacent Hindley No. 2 box, but the Distant arms were operated variously from Hindley No. 1, Hindley No. 3 and DeTrafford Junction on the Whelley Loop.

There must have been a gantry somewhere in a complex location with multiple junctions which had signal arms controlled from five or more different 'boxes.
Any candidates?


Image posted by aitch at https://www.wiganworld.co.uk/album/photo.php?id=11346&gallery=Railways
 
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hexagon789

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Does anyone know the record for the gantry carrying signal arms operated from the largest number of different signal boxes?

Like the OP, I was always interested in signal gantries as a youth, along with all the clever ironmongery which went into operating mechanical signalling.
One of my personal favourites was the long-gone (in 1972) gantry at Hindley No. 2 box - see below.
Hardly the biggest or most impressive installation on the railway, but it fascinated me as a child.

Signal arms on this gantry were actually controlled from four different signal boxes.
All the Home signals (technically Starters) were operated from the adjacent Hindley No. 2 box, but the Distant arms were operated variously from Hindley No. 1, Hindley No. 3 and DeTrafford Junction on the Whelley Loop.

There must have been a gantry somewhere in a complex location with multiple junctions which had signal arms controlled from five or more different 'boxes.
Any candidates?


Image posted by aitch at https://www.wiganworld.co.uk/album/photo.php?id=11346&gallery=Railways
Rugby? It was a double height structure. Don't know about boxes operating it though.

DJMG3jJW4AIoLGp.jpeg.jpg
 

edwin_m

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Rugby? It was a double height structure. Don't know about boxes operating it though.

View attachment 90011
I think that's the one they LNWR got the Great Central to pay for, because their new bridge (piers visible in the background) either required the removal of the previous signals or made them invisible to drivers. So they probably had a vested interest in making it as complicated as possible.

Although it's double height, the top and bottom sets of signals are duplicates, presumably for viewing at a distance and close up.
 

Novern Uproar

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Falsgrave's gantry was a belter, especially with the Scarborough Spa Express arriving / departing and I was lucky enough to get access to the box before it closed. Whilst on holiday in the South West as a youth, I can remember the ones at Taunton & Newton Abbot. Is the one at Llandudno still intact ?
 

hexagon789

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I think that's the one they LNWR got the Great Central to pay for, because their new bridge (piers visible in the background) either required the removal of the previous signals or made them invisible to drivers. So they probably had a vested interest in making it as complicated as possible.

Although it's double height, the top and bottom sets of signals are duplicates, presumably for viewing at a distance and close up.
I hadn't realised they were duplicated on each level, so really not quite as complex as it first appears
 
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I believe that when its signals were replaced by new colour lights (c.1920s?) the huge LNWR gantry at Rugby was carefully dismantled and sections of it re-used at other locations. These are known but (save as indicated here) I do not have the details to hand. I think one part was re-used for the down Cheetham Hill Loop homes at Thorpes Bridge Junction. The Llandudno Town gantry (starters out of two of the platforms, plus a signal from each to the carriage siding and run round which I do not think could be used now due to vegetation) is the one surviving portion of the Rugby gantry.

John Prytherch.
 

MarkyT

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Whilst on holiday in the South West as a youth, I can remember the ones at Taunton & Newton Abbot.
One of the Newton Abbot gantries survived after becoming redundant in the mid-1980s resignalling. It was purchased by David and Charles, publishers famous for railway and canal enthusiast books from the 1960s, who had premises for many years in an old railway carriage and wagon works building nearby and relocated the signal structure to a prominent site on their land next to the main road into town from the Penn Inn roundabout on the A380. Successors to D&C finally moved operations away from Newton Abbot in 2015 and the old C&W works and attached modern offices became unnoccupied. The site was acquired by Aldi subsequently, who obtained permission to demolish the C&W works and have built a new supermarket in its place. The gantry, in deteriorating condition, faced an uncertain future, but the local authority, Teignbridge DC, have come to an agreement with the new owners to retain it in situ on the boundary of the supermarket site, with title passing to them. They now have plans to restore it once again with help from the South Devon Railway S&T department, who have also assisted Teignbridge recently in establishing a signalling display in the town's new museum.
gantry.jpg
 

Inversnecky

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Here’s another one: Newcastle, but they’re too close together to be high and low versions?
 

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Western 52

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Southampton C down end and Exeter West up come to mind.
I found this shot of the down end gantry at Southampton, taken 1/4/78, showing units 1126 and 1122 departing with a Portsmouth Harbour to Salisbury service. They don't make signals like this any more!


1122 at Southampton.jpg
 
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