Kings Cross area - destination codes

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thesignalman
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Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by thesignalman »

I recently scanned a document for a discussion on another forum, and thought it would be of interest here.
tele1.jpg
tele2.jpg
The two-letter codes listed are mostly the single-needle telegraph codes for the signal boxes concerned but they were used more widely than that and appeared in special notices and crew and stock diagrams. This document was in use when I started at Kings Cross in 1971. One of the first tasks I was given, in training, was to copy this into a notebook and in there I added other destinations outside this area that we used. Perhaps the most amusing of those were FU for Sandy and FO for New England!

John
"BX there, boy!"
Signalling history: https://www.signalbox.org/
Signalling and other railway photographs: https://433shop.co.uk/
Mickey
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by Mickey »

Interesting John. Looks like the top list was out of date in 1971 before it was published by good old British Rail because a few of the boxes shown on the top list had already closed such as Holloway North Up in August of 1970 and Finsbury Park No.7 in October of 1970. Further on down the main line both Oakleigh Park & New Barnet South box had also closed together in the autumn of 1970 although someone has already drawn a line through those two boxes.

Interesting to note that the new Kings Cross PSB that opened in October of 1971 was designated a s/n telegraph code?.

I can see now why you have "BX there, boy!" at the bottom of all your posts ha ha..
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thesignalman
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by thesignalman »

Hi Mickey,

The document was already in force when I started, but unfortunately it doesn't carry a date. It can't be that old, though, as there is no mention of Top Shed.

It was really the old power box at Kings Cross that was the true "BX", it was never referred to as Kings Cross box but always just plain "Power Box". When we moved across to the new one, we were given telephone circuits to Crescent Junction, Hitchin South and Hatfield No1 in place of the telegraphs for train reporting which, from memory, still had the old codes engraved on them. But of course, for destination purposes nothing changed and the code BX was still used for the station and Passenger Loco.

Experienced signalmen could signal trains and read the telegraph simultaneously with ease. If the telegraph called BX more than once and I didn't respond (because I was dealing with phone calls or whatever), one of the three signalmen would shout "BX there, boy!" to draw my attention to it. Sometimes that was annoying when you were busy with other important matters, but they never let you rest.

John
"BX there, boy!"
Signalling history: https://www.signalbox.org/
Signalling and other railway photographs: https://433shop.co.uk/
Mickey
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by Mickey »

Again interesting John. Yeah the two lists were probably compiled during the first half of 1970 because both Ferme Park South Down & Hatfield No.3 aren't shown on the top list with both boxes having closed in late 1969.

With regards to the s/n telegraph from memory it was taken out of use at Welwyn Garden City box or CT at the time of the NX panel being commissioned in September 1973 which at 'Garden City' was one s/n telegraph instrument and a x4 s/n dial faced concentrator which when I was at the box as a 'tele lad' had x2 live circuits and x2 dead circuits. The x2 live circuits were Kings Cross-Hitchin South & Hatfield No.1-Sandy. The x2 dead circuits I presumed were Hatfield-Luton West(?) & Hatfield-Hertford North?.

Who sent out the s/n telegraph code from Kings Cross of the 10:00am time check on the s/n telegraph instrument that was heard in all the boxes down the line?. Was that sent out by Kings Cross box or by someone in the east or west side offices?. I mite be wrong but was it consistently sent out every weekday because some days I am not sure if it was sent out or am I wrong?.
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Mickey
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by Mickey »

From memory these were the light engine headcodes that were used on the Kings Cross area and along the main line to Doncaster and to Cambridge on the Cambridge branch. I presume they were introduced by B.R. during the transition era from steam to diesel possibly in 1963-1964 and lasted until either the end of the 1970s or 1980s?.

1.0B01 Kings Cross passenger loco
2.0B02 Finsbury Park MPD
3.0B03 Hornsey
4.0B04 Hatfield
5.0B05 Hitchin
6.0B06 Peterborough
7.0D01 Doncaster
8.0C01 Stratford MPD
9.0C02 Temple Mills

By the late 1960s & early 1970s mostly seen were 0B01 0B02 & 0B05
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rockinjohn
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi Mickey well you given me a task we're in Lockdown/isolation 14days min.so I shall trawl my early diesel photographic books and mags.and try and find some photos bearing these codes, yeah I know get a life, ha.rgds jj
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by Mickey »

rockinjohn wrote: Sat Jul 24, 2021 10:12 pm Hi Mickey well you given me a task we're in Lockdown/isolation 14days min.so I shall trawl my early diesel photographic books and mags.and try and find some photos bearing these codes, yeah I know get a life, ha.rgds jj
jj the railway is life!.

From about 1975 onwards that is when headcodes were changing to the two white dots on a black background and headcodes displayed on locos ended. I use to like changing the headcodes on class 31 locos with headcode boxes in the roof at either end of the loco but not so on Deltics which fortunately was very rare as I rarely got to ride on the Deltics and the class 47s could be a bit of a pain as well to change the headcode.

0B01 Kings Cross passenger loco 0B02 Finsbury Park MPD & 0B05 Hitchin loco were seen quite often. I thought 0B07 was Cambridge but someone else doesn't included it on a list they remember?.
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thesignalman
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by thesignalman »

Mickey wrote: Sat Jul 24, 2021 10:52 pm From about 1975 onwards that is when headcodes were changing to the two white dots on a black background and headcodes displayed on locos ended. I use to like changing the headcodes on class 31 locos with headcode boxes in the roof at either end of the loco but not so on Deltics which fortunately was very rare as I rarely got to ride on the Deltics and the class 47s could be a bit of a pain as well to change the headcode.

0B01 Kings Cross passenger loco 0B02 Finsbury Park MPD & 0B05 Hitchin loco were seen quite often. I thought 0B07 was Cambridge but someone else doesn't included it on a list they remember?.
I guess you never had to change the code on a Peak with the headcodes on either side? As I remember (could be wrong!) they had to be changed from outside with a square key. That must have been tricky on the non-platform side.

There were all sorts of codes for engine destinations but I don't remember them all. In theory, Cambridge should have been in the 0Cxx series being GE. Another code I remember well was 0O05 for Hither Green, although Southern locos weren't able to display that of course. Knowing my obsession with making or keeping lists of "useful information" when young, I probably have these all written down somewhere. Of course, just because the engines went "dotty" didn't mean the codes weren't still used in Working Timetables and Special Notices.

John
"BX there, boy!"
Signalling history: https://www.signalbox.org/
Signalling and other railway photographs: https://433shop.co.uk/
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thesignalman
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by thesignalman »

rockinjohn wrote: Sat Jul 24, 2021 10:12 pm Hi Mickey well you given me a task we're in Lockdown/isolation 14days min.so I shall trawl my early diesel photographic books and mags.and try and find some photos bearing these codes, yeah I know get a life, ha.rgds jj
Here's an 0B05 for you, John, to start the ball rolling. Click on the image to bring it up to a readable size:
https://433shop.co.uk/index.php?route=p ... ct_id=4726

Best regards,

John
"BX there, boy!"
Signalling history: https://www.signalbox.org/
Signalling and other railway photographs: https://433shop.co.uk/
Mickey
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by Mickey »

thesignalman wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 3:58 am I guess you never had to change the code on a Peak with the headcodes on either side? As I remember (could be wrong!) they had to be changed from outside with a square key. That must have been tricky on the non-platform side.

There were all sorts of codes for engine destinations but I don't remember them all. In theory, Cambridge should have been in the 0Cxx series being GE. Another code I remember well was 0O05 for Hither Green, although Southern locos weren't able to display that of course. Knowing my obsession with making or keeping lists of "useful information" when young, I probably have these all written down somewhere. Of course, just because the engines went "dotty" didn't mean the codes weren't still used in Working Timetables and Special Notices.
The few class 46 'peaks' at 'the cross' didn't have 'split headcode boxes' John that I can recall and obviously to change headcodes on locos that had the headcode displayed in 'the nose' of the loco meant having to get down into the nose and change it like on the Deltics or the few EE type 4s (2000s) that were still knocking about although some of the EE type 4s still had 'discs' or split headcode boxes either side of the locos nose as well as the normal 4 character headcode display.

All those old destination headcodes that were once fairly common to railwaymen and loco spotters alike were abolished maybe 25-30 years ago and aren't used anymore.

With regards to Cambridge having a 0Cxx headcode John you are right although I thought I vaguely remember if a light loco was travelling over the GN route via Cambridge Junction at Hitchin and onwards towards and onto the 'Sweedy' beyond Royston it displayed the 0B07 headcode but I could be wrong because the chance of seeing a loco running light from Kings Cross or Finsbury Park to Cambridge must have been extremely rare?.

Hitchin loco?. That picture is of the old steam loco site and as everyone knows they rebuilt the new Hitchin loco on the Down side of the running lines maybe during the later 1960s. I remember thinking of transferring from Kings Cross to Hitchin loco around late 1974 early 1975 because we were still living in WGC at that time but I didn't bother in the end. By the way the only reason I did a short bit of time on the footplate was because all the GN boxes were closing around 1974-1976 so the option of staying in the signalling grade at that time didn't look that good.
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thesignalman
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by thesignalman »

Mickey wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:25 amWith regards to Cambridge having a 0Cxx headcode John you are right although I thought I vaguely remember if a light loco was travelling over the GN route via Cambridge Junction at Hitchin and onwards towards and onto the 'Sweedy' beyond Royston it displayed the 0B07 headcode but I could be wrong because the chance of seeing a loco running light from Kings Cross or Finsbury Park to Cambridge must have been extremely rare?.
I wasn't saying you were wrong - just expressing a thought. I don't remember ever seeing one bound for Cambridge. Interestingly, another shot probably taken on that same date shows a Baby Deltic at Hitchin displaying 0C00. I'm not sure what that would have been used for, but it seems possible it had run light to Cambridge or beyond on its previous working as I think that's the north end we are looking at:
https://433shop.co.uk/index.php?route=p ... ct_id=4388

John
"BX there, boy!"
Signalling history: https://www.signalbox.org/
Signalling and other railway photographs: https://433shop.co.uk/
Mickey
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by Mickey »

Getting back to the s/box telegraph codes and something that you would already know about John and I have posted this before on the forum when I was a telegraph lad at WGC box between July 1972 and March 1974 but especially between 1972 and 1973 before they abolished the s/n telegraph instrument later in 1973 you would often hear Hatfield No.1 'sending on' to Finsbury Park No.6 and sometimes Holloway South Up during the day and into the evening any late running Up expresses passing Hatfield especially when Frank Brandon was working Hatfield No.1 one of the resident signalmen at the box. Hitchin South box usually use to 'send on' late running Up expresses to Finsbury Park No.6 as well and north of Hitchin on the racing ground Sandy box would often 'send on' to Hatfield No.1 again any late running Up expresses.

On the Down lines Wood Green No.1 would often during the early weekday evening 'send on' to WGC a Down freightliner 4S83 and Potters Bar would usually 'send on' a light engine for WGC during the weekday mornings around 7:00am and on a few occasions I remember Arlesey box that was about mid way between Hitchin and Biggleswade would call ether CT (WGC) or YE (Welwyn North) asking about a Down oil train(?) it happened several times I recall but it wasn't a regular happening.
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi John thank you, a view of 34D, I had not seen before or a site visited as Mickey said the old steam shed,never saw the "new" MPD always assuming it was on the site of the steam shed there,but did you notice the part view of a J6?tender lurking in the left hand corner of the picture?.jj
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thesignalman
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

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No, JJ, I hadn't noticed the tender until you pointed it out. I didn't know Hitchin well either, I had to borrow a firend's brain to even know where those pictures were taken!

Mickey - Hatfield No1 was a fairly straightforward box to work but seemed to be a key location for telegraphing trains. At Kings Cross we had a separate circuit on which Crescent Junction, Hitchin South and Hatfield No1 wired EVERY up express to Kings Cross. We took the figures and marked train progress on a card with a large wax "Chinagraph" pencil, adding the allocated platform when it was available. This card was placed in a device containing a camea, and the contents were broadcast around the station using CCTV to such places as the enquiry office, train announcers and the arrivals board. If you ever saw the screen up high in the enquiry office, and saw a hand reach in to remove/replace the card, that was me or my oppo!

The equipment was transferred into the new panel box on York Road platform. As I said before, the telegraph was replaced there by telephones and it was only then I got to know the signalmen themselves such as Frank B - a really nice chap and a pleasure to work with.

I think I transcribed the then current instructions of who should wire what trains to who into my notebooks. As I remember, Kings Cross was supposed to wire long-distance light engines that originated there to New Barnet North. There weren't too many of those, so the opportunity rarely arose. Once, when I called up BN and sent the info, I got a very slow "T K U" in response which I suspect was deliberate sarcasm . . . TKU was unofficial code for "Thank You" as you probably know. It was probably the first time anybody had wired an engine on to him and he probably didn't want to know! Looking back, the arrangement probably dated back to before the Hadley Wood bit was quadrupled, so that Barnet North could judge whether to turn the engine onto the Goods Line to Greenwood to avoid congestion on the bottleneck.

John
"BX there, boy!"
Signalling history: https://www.signalbox.org/
Signalling and other railway photographs: https://433shop.co.uk/
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Re: Kings Cross area - destination codes

Post by Mickey »

The s/n telegraph could be used to get a signalman at another box on the area to come on the circuit phone I heard it done on one particular occasion when I was at WGC (probably heard it actually done on several occasions but you would only half register it because it didn't concern you). It was either in 1972 or 1973 and a strike by ASLEF the driver's union had been called so no trains ran that day across the country certainly none from Kings Cross or Hitchin or further down the ECML anyway I was in the box at Welwyn on a early turn that strike day with the signalman Harry Fitzgerald who was one of the resident signalmen at the box during the 1960s & 1970s and until the box was closed in 1976 and around 9:30-10:00am the s/n telegraph instrument started tinkling away going GY GY GY GY GY GY GY GY GY GY then MI and T and Harry said "That's Goods And Mineral wanting Finsbury Park No.5 to go on the phone." Funny that little episode always stuck in my mind.
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