Alex Seal

Bristol Old Station Signal Box

To the train registers....

Introduction

Bristol Old Station Signal Box opened on 5 August 1878 as Bristol C Signal Box. The structure was built by Saxby & Farmer to a “non-standard” design, its dimensions are 17’ x 11’ x 12’. The original frame was 20 levers and was enlarged to 27 in 1891. A cast iron nameplate reading “Bristol Old Station Signal Box” was ordered from Reading in November 1898.

In 1908 the lever frame was replaced with a 28-lever HT 3-bar frame with levers at 5 1/4" centres. Alterations would have taken place in the early 1930s in connection with the re signalling of Bristol Temple Meads. The adjacent signal box, “Bristol East”, opened 29 November 1935. Bristol Old Station Signal Box closed on the 12 September 1965 when the platform lines closed except for a small section of Platform 12 that became a bay platform controlled completely by Bristol East.

The Interior

Peter Rendall kindly supplied an interior photograph of Bristol Old Station Signal Box.

Bristol Old Station Signal Box Interior © Peter Rendall Past-Track Publications
© Peter Rendall Past-Track Publications

Using the diagram published in George Pryer's book, "Signal Box Diagrams of the Great Western & Southern Railways Volume 23 - GWR Lines in the Bristol Area" I have tried to number the levers. However, this wasn't as easy as I first thought! Levers 1, 3 and 7 are easy to identify as they're cut down down as they were acceptance levers and thus don't require any effort to pull. Now, the lever on the far right appears to be cut down so that would be for 19, as that was an electric signal. That's OK so far, so counting from the right to the left means that the two levers reversed are 13 and 15 - not exactly far fetched as these are both FPLs (facing point locks) on platform 12 / 13. But there's a mystery lever reversed between 7 and 9! Apparently 8 was a space so even if it was in fact a spare why would the signalman have reversed it? Hmmm... perhaps a locking alteration at some point... but what for? Any suggestions... contact me!

How the Block worked

I'm just guessing here but I reckon the 3 block sections, Platform 12, Middle Line and Platform 14 were all treated as up lines. This meant that a clearing point could be maintained as there were rarely obstructions in the throat of the trainshed, whereas trains were regularly standing in Platform 13 and Platform 15. Bristol Temple Meads East Signal Box did not have to operate any acceptance levers in order to signal up trains but in the down direction Bristol Old Station Signal Box had to operate an acceptance lever in order for Bristol East to clear its down signals. Does that sound logical? I'd be interested in other peoples opinions so feel free to contact me.

Questions

  1. Were the block sections treated as up lines?


Lever Leads

  No. Lever Lead Thoughts Pull

Acceptance LeverCut Down Lever 1 Platform 14 Up Acceptance  
Stop SignalFull Length Lever 2 Platform 14 Up Home  
Acceptance LeverCut Down Lever 3 Middle Line Up Acceptance 9
Stop SignalFull Length Lever 4 Middle Line Up Home to Platform 15 10 9
Stop SignalFull Length Lever 5 Middle Line Up Home to No.1 or No.2 Siding 9 16 OR 9 17
Stop SignalFull Length Lever 6 Middle Line Up Home to Platform 15 12 9
Acceptance LeverCut Down Lever 7 Platform 12 Up Acceptance 15
SpareFull Length Lever 8    
FPLFull Length Lever 9 FPL for No. 10B and No. 12B NIL OR 10 OR 12
PointFull Length Lever 10 Middle Line / Platform 15  
FPLFull Length Lever 11 FPL for 10A NIL OR 10
PointFull Length Lever 12 Middle Line / Platform 13  
FPLFull Length Lever 13 FPL for 12A NIL OR 12
PointFull Length Lever 14 Platform 12 / No.2 Siding  
FPLFull Length Lever 15 FPL for 14 NIL OR 14
PointFull Length Lever 16 Middle Line / No.2 Siding  
PointFull Length Lever 17 No.1 Siding Safety  
Stop SignalFull Length Lever 18 Platform 13 Down Starting to Middle Line OR Platform 12 Call-On [Selected] 13 OR 12 13
Stop SignalCut Down Lever 19 Platform 12 Down Home to Platform 13 [Electric Switch] 15
Stop SignalCut Down Lever 20 Platform 12 Down Home to No. 2 Siding [Electric Switch] 14 15
SpareFull Length Lever 21    
Stop SignalFull Length Lever 22 Platform 13 Down Starting to Platform 12 13
Stop SignalFull Length Lever 23 Platform 13 Down Starting to Middle Line 12 13
Stop SignalFull Length Lever 24 Discs for 14B and 17 [Selected] 16 OR 17
Stop SignalCut Down Lever 25 Platform 15 Down Starting to Middle Line OR Platform 14 Call-On [Selected] [Electric Switch] 11 OR 10 11
Stop SignalCut Down Lever 26 Platform 15 Down Starting to Middle Line [Electric Switch] 10 11
Stop SignalCut Down Lever 27 Platform 15 Down Starting to Platform 14 [Electric Switch] 11
Stop SignalFull Length Lever 28 Disc No.2 Siding to Platform 12 14

Bibliography


 

Birmingham - Bristol: Portrait Of A Famous Midland Route
Part Two: Cheltenham to Bristol and Bath

Stephen Mourton, Bob Pixton
Runpast Publishing
978-1-870754-58-3

Buy Online

  Branch Lines Around Avonmouth
Vic Mitchell; Keith Smith
Middleton Press
978-1-904474-42-5
Buy Online

  Gloucester To Bristol
Vic Mitchell; Keith Smith
Middleton Press
978-1-904474-35-7
Buy Online

  GWR Principal Stations
Colin G.Maggs
Ian Allan
978-0-7110-1713-9
Buy Online

  The Last Days Of Steam In Bristol And Somerset
Colin G. Maggs
Sutton Publishing
978-0-7509-0001-0
Buy Online

  A Pictorial Record Of Great Western Architecture
A. Vaughan
OPC Railprint
978-0-902888-22-7
Buy Online

  Western Main Lines: Swindon To Bristol via Bath Spa
Vic Mitchell; Keith Smith
Middleton Press
978-1-901706-96-3
Buy Online

With Thanks To..

Peter Rendall, George Pryer, Peter Jordan, Chris Bellett, Chris Osment, Richard Hoskin, Nick Perring, Trevor Hodgson, Dave Garland