Signal Box Interiors
My father seemed to have a knack of talking his way into signal
boxes. It probably helped that he was friends with several
signalmen in the Birmingham area - Vic Goodwin at Marston Green and,
later, Stechford, Reg Beresford at Kings Heath, David Clay at
Bournville and Edgar ? at Kings Norton. These atmospheric shots
provide a real glimpse of the past. If you can provide any
information to enhance the captions then please get in touch.
New St No. 2 Box - 20/3/54
|New St No. 2
Box lay between platform 8 and 9 at the eastern end of the
There is an exterior view on the New
Street Station page.
I was delighted to hear from Bernard who informed me that the chap on
the left was his father, Walter Pritchard. His companion was Mr.
Bing, a.k.a. 'Bingy'. Walter started off working on the railway
at Selly Oak as a van boy. He delivered parcels on a horsedrawn
parcels van, out of Selly Oak parcels depot, which was at the same
place as Selly Oak Station. He obviously worked his way up from
there, to become one of the top of his profession, who all ended up in
No. 5 box. He lived through the rebuilding of New Street Station
and the electrification and retired from No. 5 box at 65 in 1973.
Bernard was kind enough to share these memories with us:-
"I can only assume that the reason they were together was because they
would go early to relieve one another so they could spend time together
or so the other could get home early. I spent many happy hours
with my father in No. 2 box, not least because a certain train would
arrive on platform 8, have the engine unhooked, sent into the tunnel
and reversed down 9 and put back on the train to take it from whence it
came and guess who was let loose to drive it on quite a few occasions?
As I sat studying the picture I noticed dads eyes. What is he looking
at? At this point everything fell into place. For certain
dad is working, he is on afternoons 2 till 10 he is looking at the
clock which is above the desk. His right hand is on the
semaphore, he is waiting for the reply from the next box he has
sent to which he will acknowledge and immediately log the time in the
log on the desk together with other details of the train or movement
just dealt with. You will notice that Mr Bing still has his coat
on because he has just arrived and dad has just put his jumper back on
in preparation to leave, (he always had his shirt sleeves rolled up,
you can see them under his jumper) I never remember him in a jumper at
work, it was shirt sleeves or topless. I believe your dad was
taking an action shot? No matter what was going on in the box
conversation wise or whatever it would instantly stop when the bells
rang the correct code for the box, dad would be straight back into
signalling mode, setting up the route for the train arriving or
leaving. Only after the reply came and he acknowledged it would
he be back with you. On this occasion your dad and Mr Bing.
The time would of course be around 9-00."
Many thanks for help bringing this picture to life, Bernard!
Bordesley Jct Box - 31/3/54
|This is my
favourite of the interior shots - it really captures the feeling of
being in the box over fifty years ago!
I was a little confused since the Bordesley Junction box seen on the Bordesley Junction page looked modern
while this interior looked quite old. Thanks to Simon who
explained that the interior and exterior pictures were most likely of
the same box as the box pictured was, "an LMS 'ARP' box, designed to be
rather more resistant to bomb damage that the traditional part-, or
all-wooden ones.". In fact, Simon provided a very detailed
analysis of the picture above that is available here
for those that are interested.
Saltley Jct Box Interior - 25/4/54
|A nice pair of shots showing the
interior and exterior of Saltley Junction box. I believe the road
bridge to the right is Saltley Viaduct and Saltley Station was just
under the bridge.
Interior Duddeston Rd Box - 20/3/55
|The new Duddeston Road box under
construction. The upper shot shows there is still much work to be
done on the interior, the lower shows the new box dwarfs the old.
Saltley Gas Works dominates the picture.
Lifford Box Interior - 28/9/59
like a flash was used to capture the interior of Lifford Box.
M.R. Oil Lamp, Lifford Box - 28/9/59
detail picked out by my father when he took the shot directly above -
an original Midland Railway oil lamp.