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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Soho and Winson Green: gwrswg2288

A low resolution version of the Signalling Diagram for Soho & Winson Green Signal Box

A low resolution version of the Signalling Diagram for Soho and Winson Green Signal Box produced courtesy of the Signalling Record Society (S.R.S.). Details of how to purchase their full resolution content is available here.

Soho and Winson Green Signal Box opened on 9th June 1912, replacing the temporary Soho Signal Box which had been constructed at the other end of the up main platform in December 1909, following the first phase of quadrupling from Handsworth Junction. Soho and Winson Green Signal Box was a standard Great Western Railway timber built design with a hipped tile roof (type 27C). It housed a three bar vertical tappet locking frame with sixty-one levers at 4 inch centres.

The Signal Box here controlled the block sections on the main and relief double lines, plus the down goods line which passed through the station and access to the up goods line which stated at the Hockley end of the station. The Signalman sent messages to the preceding Signal Box to give permission for trains to enter the block section on their line and used signals to indicate to train drivers when they were allowed to proceed to the next section. Distant Signals, distinguished by their forked tails and yellow colour (post September 1927) gave train drivers advance warning of the status of the next ‘Stop’ Signal.

The Signal Box controlled train movements between the main and relief lines and also between the relief and goods lines. These crossovers had facing switches, which were provided with a separately operated locking bar to ensure they were correctly set and they were interlocked to semaphore signals, which were positioned adjacent to the primary route signals, but set at a lower height and on brackets (this indicated that they were not the primary route and the direction of the junction). In addition there were three trailing crossovers between up and down lines on the main, relief and goods lines. Trains would need to reverse over these trailing crossovers, which could only be done at slow speeds, so these were interlocked and signalled with ground disc signals. The semaphore and ground disc signals informed the locomotive driver of the selected route and when they could proceed. The interlocking between switches and signals ensured that trains drivers knew when they could no longer proceed safely and had to stop.

Visibility was important in the days before track circuits and the Signal Box was positioned where it could oversee the most complex trackwork.

Robert Ferris