Sunday, 1 March 2009

History about to disappear!

Hawkesbury Lane signal box which is soon to disappear.

As it was another mild fine day we walked around the Hawkesbury village and on up to the Hawkesbury Lane signal box on Blackhorse Road. Just as we got there the barriers came down for an approaching Nuneaton to Coventry class 153 DMU run by London Midland. It’s quite ironical that I have just read an article about the class 153 DMU’s which are modified class 155’s designed to run as single units. Needless to say our camera’s were out snapping away in the hope of a few good shots. After the train had passed and the barriers raised we walked across the track for some closer shots of the signal box. As we got closer the sliding window opened and the signalman poked his head out and said “Do you want to have a look inside?” Well he didn’t have to ask twice, I was up the steps in no time at all with Dot trailing behind.

Track diagram of the main line and sidings. Note the model trains.

The signalman told us that the box is closing at the end of May and the whole line is to be controlled from Rugby and Birmingham. Unfortunately the building is not a listed building unlike another signal box further down the line and unless somebody like a railway preservation group steps in to save it, it will be demolished. Attached is a resume of the whole line which dates back to 1850 when first built by the London North Western Railway. Except for new windows and galvanised steel steps, these used to be wooden, the building is in very good original condition.

Signal lever frame. Only the white ones are no longer used.

While we were in the box a Coventry to Nuneaton train came through so we were able to get a birds eye (signalman’s) view of the passing train. I even got a swing on one of the signal levers after the train was clear of the crossing. As for the signalman, he is being transferred to the deep south of Cornwall to a signal box down there which he hopes will survive until he retires.

Pair of class 153's which can operate as single units.


Jenny and Robin said...

What fun for you, Derek, to be invited in to look around the the signal building. We know what a "train buff" you are.

Kind regards from Kiwiland.

Nb Yarwood said...

Hi Folks
I remember as a small girl being taken to visit a neighbour who was a signalman - it was fascinating helping to pull levers and turn the wheel that operated the gates at the level crossing. Never forgotten and it was a long time ago!

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Jenny and Robin
Yes Derek will be happy for days now he's had his train fix for a while.

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Lesley
Sorry we missed you this week maybe again sometime soon. Yes Derek remembers the large wheels in the signal box, you must be as ancient as us to remember that.
Take care