Signalling

Signal Boxes

Signalling

As the railway developed, it became apparent that a signalling system was required. Currently, two signal boxes control train movements around the railway and communicate with each other using a traditional bell code and block instrument system. The railway is fully signalled with both semaphore and colour light signals with the main lines being fully track circuited enabling the signalman to monitor train progress on bespoke track diagrams when trains are out of visual range.

Most of the signals are controlled from Kingsmere East Box. The Southern Railway style signal box was built on site around a 28 lever Stevens frame obtained from one of the signal boxes at Becton Gas Works in London. The main frame controls the movements in and around the station, as seen on the track diagram, whereas Lakeside is controlled using an electrical route setting panel. More recently, a miniature 12 lever frame has been installed to control movements around the carriage shed and station avoiding line. The semaphore signals in the station area are either operated by wire and pulleys or compressed air from the main lever frame. The points are operated using air cylinders or traditional rod and crank method and all are electrically or mechanically locked for safety reasons. The levers are painted in different colours dependent on their purpose – red for signals and black for points.

 

 

Kingsmere West Box was installed in 1998 and was originally painted in Great Western Railway style colours, but has since been repainted into MVR maroon and cream on the outside, although the interior remains in GWR colours. It has a 17 lever frame controlling movements around the locomotive yard and entry into Kingsmere Station, in addition to allowing access to the station avoiding line. West Box is usually closed during normal passenger running hours, only opening to allow access to the yard at the beginning and end of the day. It is also used during event days to help East Box with the higher number of train movements.

On normal running days, the signalling system can be set to automatic, enabling the railway to run without a signalman present. Sprung points are used to allow trains to run a normal circuit around the railway safely, being controlled by automatically resetting signals. Up to eight trains can run at any one time when the signal box is open.