Bristol Old Station Signal Box
To the train registers....
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.
Peter Rendall kindly supplied an interior photograph of Bristol Old Station Signal Box.
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.
- Were the block sections treated as up lines?
|No.||Lever Lead Thoughts||Pull|
|1||Platform 14 Up Acceptance|
|2||Platform 14 Up Home|
|3||Middle Line Up Acceptance||9|
|4||Middle Line Up Home to Platform 15||10 9|
|5||Middle Line Up Home to No.1 or No.2 Siding||9 16 OR 9 17|
|6||Middle Line Up Home to Platform 15||12 9|
|7||Platform 12 Up Acceptance||15|
|9||FPL for No. 10B and No. 12B||NIL OR 10 OR 12|
|10||Middle Line / Platform 15|
|11||FPL for 10A||NIL OR 10|
|12||Middle Line / Platform 13|
|13||FPL for 12A||NIL OR 12|
|14||Platform 12 / No.2 Siding|
|15||FPL for 14||NIL OR 14|
|16||Middle Line / No.2 Siding|
|17||No.1 Siding Safety|
|18||Platform 13 Down Starting to Middle Line OR Platform 12 Call-On [Selected]||13 OR 12 13|
|19||Platform 12 Down Home to Platform 13 [Electric Switch]||15|
|20||Platform 12 Down Home to No. 2 Siding [Electric Switch]||14 15|
|22||Platform 13 Down Starting to Platform 12||13|
|23||Platform 13 Down Starting to Middle Line||12 13|
|24||Discs for 14B and 17 [Selected]||16 OR 17|
|25||Platform 15 Down Starting to Middle Line OR Platform 14 Call-On [Selected] [Electric Switch]||11 OR 10 11|
|26||Platform 15 Down Starting to Middle Line [Electric Switch]||10 11|
|27||Platform 15 Down Starting to Platform 14 [Electric Switch]||11|
|28||Disc No.2 Siding to Platform 12||14|
With Thanks To..