Alexander Seal

Buckfastleigh South Signal Box

Buckfastleigh South Signal Box

I don't really think my volunteer work on the South Devon Railway as a Signalman could really be classed as a career, but I think this is the best section for it. I try to do as much work on the line as much as possible as I find it much more interesting being a Signalman. However, I do need some free time so I can usually only manage a couple of days per month. I'm also one that likes to be busy and under pressure. Therefore, I try to work as many special event days as possible whilst not trying to appear like I'm hogging them!


I only really "trained" as such for about a month. I already knew the 1973 rule book and the principle of single line working with token or staff through my interest in signalling. So all I really had to do was brush up on the rules and gain experience of the frame. I passed out a couple of days after my 18th birthday. Making me the youngest Signalman on the South Devon Railway and at the time (and possibly still) the youngest Signalman in the UK.

Job Benefits

The main benefit is that I get to work as a Signalman! On a quiet day there is very little to be done and in between trains I usually find myself tidying an area of the box that no one seems to have touched for years.

Can't be bothered to write much more today, kettle's boiling!


Photographs of Buckfastleigh South - Click to Enlarge    

Buckfastleigh South Signal Box

General portrait of the Signal Box, taken from the end of Buckfastleigh platform. Also showing me dangling out!   Picture taken at the bottom of the Signal Box steps, showing an auto train standing at No. 2 Signal - Platform Starting to Up Main - in the "off" position.
Diagram   Booking Desk
That is the Signal Diagram, showing the signals and their numbers. Information on Points and FPL's also locations of telephones and important features. The picture also shows a bit of the Block Shelf with plungers, sealed releases, repeaters, bell from Bishops Bridge Signal Box, as well as a trusty Bardic lamp and duster.   The Booking Desk, information is written in the Train Register here. There is also the clock, Signal Post Telephones, Box to Box Phone, and the Omnibus Circuit. A high visibility jacket rests on the coat hook. The hoops on the right are used to put the "token" in to give to the driver. The driver won't enter the single line section without the token and only one token can be out of the instrument at any one time. Note "God" is standing on the other side of the door...
Token Instrument   Frame
This is the Electric Key Token Instrument. Only one token can be removed at any one time, and only with the permission of the Signalman at the other Signal Box. The smaller instrument is the Annetts Key Release, only used when the "Long Section Staff" is in use.   A general view of the lever frame, red levers for signals, black for points and blue for facing point locks. White are spare and I can't be bothered to explain the purpose of the brown and white striped one! There used to be a nice coal stove in the corner, recently replaced with an electric oven!
Buckfastleigh Looking Up   Buckfastleigh Looking Down
Looking up the line (up being towards London). Here is the main gantry, controlling movements in the down direction. The tall signal with the longest arm is No.24 "Down Main Inner Home," the is a little arm beneath this. That is a calling on signal No.19. No.22 "Down Main Inner Home to Loop" is to the left of that, and beyond that is No.20 "Down Main Inner Home to Yard," it's actually an elevated disc.   Rotating 180° we're now looking in the Down direction. The signal on the left is No.2 "Platform Starting to Up Main." That in front of the water tower is No.5 "Loop Starting to Up Main." The signal on the right is the exit from the yard. I'm guessing you're fed up with signal numbers and descriptions!
Buckfastleigh South Signal Box    
No prizes for guessing what this is!