Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

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Mickey
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Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:06 pm

The signal boxes in and around the Finsbury Park area were as follows-

Finsbury Park No1 s/box the box that nobody ever saw because the box was tucked away off on the Canonbury lines around the back of Drayton Park LT s/box was a 'mysterious' s/box?. Finsbury Park No1 contained a 65 lever Saxby & Farmer frame. The only time one got a 'glimpse' of Finsbury Park No1 s/box from a train on the main lines was for about three seconds and then it was gone!.

Finsbury Park No2 s/box which contained Dutton & Co lever frame was situated beside Finsbury Park diesel depot (or Clarence yard as it was known to railwaymen) was a nice looking s/box dealing with the down Canonbury line, the up & down goods lines to and from Ashburton Grove s/box and the down goods no1 & down goods no2 lines plus the carriage line from Holloway north down s/box. With loads of ECS workings and light engine movements and such like Finsbury Park No2 s/box was a nice box.

Finsbury Park No3 s/box which contained an 80 lever McKenzie & Holland frame was situated on the south end of the down station platforms and signalling on the down lines only was a 'busy box' dealing with the down fast, down slow, down slow no2 and the down carriage line aswell as DMU/ECS movements in & out of Western sidings, some 'peak hour' passenger trains from Broad street and freight workings coming up from the down Canonbury line, plus having the down goods no1 & down goods no2 lines and a engine line from Finsbury Park No2 s/box as well. What with light engine movements in & out of Finsbury Park diesel depot to deal with as well all day and half the night that's why No3 box had a telegraph lad!.

Finsbury Park No4 s/box which contained a Dutton & Co lever frame was situated at the south end of the up station platforms between the up slow and up slow to up goods lines at the front of the s/box and the up Canonbury line towards Finsbury Park No1 s/box with connections leading off towards East goods yard around the back of the s/box. Finsbury Park No4 s/box dealt with traffic running on the up fast, up slow, up slow to up goods & up slow to up carriage lines heading up road towards Holloway north up s/box but after Aug '69 Holloway south up s/box and onto Kings Cross. There was also the up carriage line that came up passed Finsbury Park No6 s/box and through platform no1 and joined the up slow line outside the s/box or went off onto the up canonbury line again outside the s/box.

Finsbury Park No5 s/box which contained a McKenzie & Holland frame was situated at the north end of the station and between the down fast and down slow no1 lines and was my favourite s/box in the early days (because it looked interesting). Finsbury Park No5 s/box signalled trains on the down lines only which included the down fast, down slow no1 & down slow no2 lines plus the down goods/carriage line as well as the Edgeware line climbing off up towards Finsbury Park No7 s/box.

Finsbury Park No6 s/box which contained a 55 lever McKenzie & Holland frame was situated at the north end of the station and just beyond the platforms was situated between the up fast and up slow lines and was another 'busy job' dealing with the traffic running in the up direction only which included the up fast, up slow, up goods & up carriage lines as well as dealing with ECS movements in & out of Finsbury Park carriage sidings and also with the occasional LT stock with it's battery loco returning to Drayton Park LT coming up from Finsbury Park No7 s/box. Finsbury Park No6 s/box also dealt with al ot of telegraph messages over the 'single needle' telegraph instruments. Hatfield No1 s/box use to send on 'late running' expresses and freight traffic over the single needle telegraph that was on it's way up towards Finsbury Park No6 s/box that's why No6 had a telegraph lad as well.

Finsbury Park No7 s/box was another 'mystery' s/box again the most ever anyone saw of it was two or three seconds from a moving train and then it was gone!. Finsbury Park No7 s/box was situated on the Edgeware branch and worked with Finsbury Park No5 s/box on the down line and on the up line to Finsbury Park No6 s/box. Finsbury Park No7 s/box had the 'dubious honour' of being the first of the Finsbury Park s/boxes to close around October of 1970. I did for several years during the 1970s have one of the name boards and the No7 board which was separate from the name board but I haven't got it now.

Mickey
Last edited by Mickey on Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:53 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by manna » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:46 pm

G'Day Gents
Remember all those boxes, although No 7, was only a passing glimpse from the mainline, In FP No 1 was a large American fellow, the box gave access to Highbury sidings and sat almost on top of the Drayton Pk underground tunnel.
Thought you might like to see this reminder from Finsbury Pk No 3, I picked this and a couple of others up when the boxes were being demolished, I'll put them on here when I find them, got a good idea where they are.
manna
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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by manna » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:55 pm

G'day Gents
Keeps telling me the board attachment quota has been reached, and its only a 105kb attachment
manna
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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:04 pm

I remember there use to be a signalman in Finsbury Park No2 who everyone called 'the Yank' this would have been around 1972/73/74. He was an American would you believe he may well have been there several years before 1972?. Dave Cockle would know seeing that Dave was a telegraph lad in Finsbury Pak No3 in 1969/70.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Dave Cockle » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:46 am

Micky wrote:I remember there use to be a signalman in Finsbury Park No2 who everyone called 'the Yank' this would have been around 1972/73/74. He was an American would you believe he may well have been there several years before 1972?. Dave Cockle would know seeing that Dave was a telegraph lad in Finsbury Pak No3 in 1969/70.

Yes, Micky. "The Yank" was most certainly one of the resident signalmen in Finsbury Park No 1 box in 1969.

Before I took up the box lad's job at Finsbury Park No 3 I was sent up to No 6 box to familiarise myself with signalling whilst waiting for a course at Kings Cross Signalling school to learn telegraph. I was already half way there as I had learnt morse code in the scouts and been an unofficial visitor to boxes on the Hertford Loop for the previous eighteen months

Two memories of No 6 box :-

1. The efficient maner of disposing of rubbish. Quite simply it would be put into a bag and then saved until the Ashburton Grove empty refuse train came back up the slow line from Blackbridge Sidings. Then the signalman would climb out onto the box veranda and accurately throw the bag into an empty wagon as the moving train passed by.

2. "Watch out there's an Inspector about" - The Finsbury Park boxes were all linked on a local telegraph circuit and whenever a District Inspector or other official was seen approaching any Finsbury Park box the single needle instrument would burst into life being violently wiggled from side to side for at least a five second burst. This was the warning signal to look out and ensure that all was in order when the inspector entered your box. I remember one of the signalmen saying "Watch out here comes Brittle Prick!". This was a young Management Trainee who was given a District Signalling Inspectors job as his first posting. It was none other than Jan Glasscock, who I believe now holds a very senior position with Network Rail, if he hasn't by now retired.

Happy days indeed.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:23 pm

Hello Dave, some good stories there, I visited all the Finsbury Park boxes except No1 & No2 but the thing that impressed me the most was the single needle telegraph circuit that was linked up to all the boxes including Ashburton Gove that was used 'a lot' for sending on messages like for example Finsbury Park No6 sending on to Finsbury Park No4 that the ECS on the up carriage line was the ECS to form the 16:00hrs out of the 'Cross' yes that was very interesting to watch indeed. Anyway I visited Finsbury Park No4 one afternoon around 1971 or 72(?) and the signalman who was there that afternoon was Jim Churcher (who was a relief signalman around the Finsbury Park/Hornsey/Wood Green area in the late 60s and early 70s) and I was with Jim in No4 for about an hour that afternoon having a chat about signalling and watching him work the frame (which was a Dutton & Co lever frame and a very nice frame it was to) and he was working away on the block, pulling off and putting back levers and the telegraph instrument was 'tinkling away' by the side of the desk and also the single needle telegraph on the block shelf was sending something on from Finsbury Park No6 as well?. So I am talking away to Jim and I said "What's the single needle instrument saying?." Jim said something like?. "Hatfield No1 is sending on that 1E05 and is twenty late passing him and 1A16 is twenty five late at Hitchin south" or something like that then Jim then went on to say, "Also the other single needle was Finsbury Park No6 saying that the empties on the carriage road are to form the 16:50hrs out of the Cross." so Jim had been working the frame and listening to 'two' telegraph instruments at the same time and reading what both were saying!, as well as having an on going conversation with me!!!. I stood back and watched Jim carry on working on the frame and i tell you at that moment i had the 'highest admiration' for Jim Churcher (but i didn't tell him so) so if your reading this Jim now you know in fact I had the highest admiration for all the signalmen that were on the GN from Kings Cross to Shaftholme Junction.

Mickey
Last edited by Mickey on Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Dave Cockle » Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:40 pm

Micky wrote:Hello Dave, some good stories there, i visited all the Finsbury Park boxes except No1 & No2 but the thing that impressed me the most was the single needle telegraph circuit that was linked up to all the boxes including Ashburton Gove that was used 'alot' for sending on messages like for example Finbury Park No6 sending on to Finsbury Park No4 that the ECS on the up carriage was the ECS to form the 16:00hrs out of the 'Cross' where at other places (probably on the midland cos they never had the 'single needle') that info would have been done over the phone. Yes it was very interesting to watch, i visited Finsbury Park No4 one afternoon and the signalman who was there was someone that you would know a fella called Jim Churcher who was a relief signalman around the Finsbury Park/Hornsey/Wood Green area in the late 60s and early 70s. Well, i was in Finsbury Park No4 with Jim for an hour one afternoon having a chat about signalling and watching him work the frame (which was a Dutton & Co lever frame and a very nice frame it was to) and he was working on the block, pulling off and putting back levers and the telegraph instrument was 'tinkling away' by the side of the desk and also the telegraph on the block shelf was sending something on from Finsbury Park No6?. So i'm talking away to Jim and i said "Whats the single needle saying?." Jim said something like?. "Hatfield No1 is sending on that 1E05 is twenty late passing him and 1A16 is twenty five late at Hitchin south" or something like that?. Jim then went on to say, "Also the other single needle was Finsbuy Park No6 saying that the empties on the carriage road are to form the 16:50hrs out of the Cross." Jim had been working the frame and listening to 'two' telegraph instruments at the sametime and reading what both were saying!, aswell as having an on going conversation with me!!!. I stood back and watched Jim carry on working on the frame and i tell you at that moment i had the 'highest admiration' for Jim Churcher (but i did't tell him so) so if your reading this Jim now you know infact i had the highest admiration for all the signalmen that were on the GN from Kings Cross to Shaftholme Junction. Micky


Hi Micky,

Yes I rember Jim Churcher well. He was one of the relief signalmen who I used to look forward being on with as he had an interest in the job and aswered the many varied questions about railway working that I used to put to him. I believe Jim became a Modernisation Inspector when the Midland electrification work was going on between Moorgate/St Pancras and Bedford.

Concerning the single needle telegraph, there was one relief signalman called Fred Robinson, who used to be a member of the Magic Circle. Fred showed me a trick how he could read the read the single needle by touch!. He would place his index finger on the top of the left side brass sounders and then his middle finger on top of the right hand sounder. He would then turn away and look at the movements on the box diagram and afterwards tell me what message he had received on the telegraph. Fred and I could not hear the telegraph needle tinkering away as it struck Freds fingers and this muted the sound but Fred was able to still read the message. I was very impressed.

Cheers

Dave Cockle

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:40 pm

Yes Dave, i remember Fred (Robbo) Robinson but i never had the pleasure of meeting the gentleman. He use to work Hafield No1 & No2 a fair bit around 1972/73 time. Harry Fitzgerald one of the regular signalmen at Welwyn Garden City was forever telling me that old Fred was a magician and that to use old Harry's words "Magician afew of these trains away!." By the way Dave, i came across Jim Churcher again around about 1984/85 yes over on the Midland region on the North London line but he left the NLL in early 1986 and i think he went over onto the Southern region at Victoria and then that was the last anybody heard about him?. Good old days indeed... Micky
Last edited by Mickey on Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by AndyRush » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:19 pm

A signal box diagram for Finsbury Park No.3 can be found at:
http://www.lymmobservatory.net/railways ... k_no_3.jpg

A similar one for No.1 box will be added when I get round to sending it to John for uploading.

There lots of other SB diagrams on the site, for those that don't know it

Regards

Andy

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by StevieG » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:02 pm

Nice reproduction of the FP3 diagram Andy; precisely the correct style, even (how's it been done?); exactly as I recall first seeing it about 1969/70 : Should strike a strong chord with Dave C. as well.
[ In case anyone wonders about the one spare lever (33), it had once been a clearance bar on the Down Canonbury, just in advance of the Home signals (presumably before full track-circuiting was provided).]

Micky,
There was no connection from the Up Slow/Goods to East Goods Yard in front of No.4 box; all connections to EGY (Nos. 1 & 2 Goods Arrivals) diverged to the right off the Up Canonbury Passenger behind the box.
The second line off the Up Slow in front of the box was the permissive Up Coal line.

Some of the less-principal GN running line names in London were potentially confusing.
In the early/mid 1960s, the only official "Carriage" running line sections were :
- On the Down from Holloway North Down-Fins.Park No.3, and
- On the Up; from Wood Green 4-Hornsey Up Goods; from Fins.Pk.No.7-No.6 (the 2nd line over the flyover above the main line); and Fins.Park 2-Holloway North Up (the 'Creep-up').

The first Down non-passenger road nearest outside the Down passenger lines was the Down Goods (or DG No.1 where there was the DG2 beside it, from Holl.N.Down to FP3), from Goods & Mineral and Holloway South Up, right through to Wood Green Tunnel box [cut back to WG3 around '63/4, and to WG1 (south end of WG station : embankment slipped) about '66/7-ish ].

The first Up non-passenger road nearest outside the Up Slow, was named Up Goods (or UG No.1 when there was an UG2 beside it), right through from Wood Green 2 to Holloway South Up (and on to Goods & Mineral).
The second such line was confusingly a really mixed bag:
Wood Green 4 - Hornsey Up Goods = Up Carriage
Hornsey UG - Fins.Park 6 = Up Goods No.2
Fins.Park 4 - Holl.South Up = Up Coal.

The third Up line through Fins.Park station platform 1 was still officially the Absolute Block "Up Branch" from when it was the only place where trains from the 'Northern Heights' branches (High Barnet, Edgware, Alexandra Palace) could arrive.

Fins.Park 1 contrarily had a Saxby & Farmer frame (65 levers if I remember correctly).

The 4th of the five Down lines through Fins.Park station was the Down Canonbury (Platform 10).

'The Yank' - a Mr. Sullivan, I think.

Quite agree about Jim Churcher. Last heard of him not many years ago, in the large staff working on/for the creation of CTRL [Channel Tunnel Rail Link; now industry-referred to as HS1 (High Speed 1); St.Pancras - Folkestone (via Belle Isle new high level bridge :lol: ) ].
BZOH

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by AndyRush » Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:02 pm

It should be as you remember it, it was amongst several hundred master transparencies that I rescued from a skip at York when there was a mega clearout after the resignalling. The diagram in the signal box was reproduced from this transparency, no doubt you can tell us if this was the final state before resignalling.

Regards

Andy

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by StevieG » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:11 am

AndyRush wrote:It should be as you remember it, it was amongst several hundred master transparencies that I rescued from a skip at York when there was a mega clearout after the resignalling. The diagram in the signal box was reproduced from this transparency, no doubt you can tell us if this was the final state before resignalling.

Regards

Andy
Andy, this was the version before anything was altered for even preliminiary bits for the resignalling. And before there were some even earlier changes to the Semaphore signalling at No.2 box, and to No.3's triple-independent Distants bracket for the Goods' and Carriage lines, but after No.2's slotting of all No.3's Down Carriage Homes had been removed (in about '67?).
There were a lot of changes before the box closed, including extensive alterations on/reducing the Goods & Carriage lines, an extra connection off DG2 into the Diesel Depot, worked by a tiny switch panel, and removal of one of the Slow lines.

I could probably give more detail if wanted, as Dave Cockle might well be able to.
Well done for rescuing such material.

With Micky's explosion of these posts about signalling, Richard might need to consider an extra forum on such topics !!
BZOH

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:30 am

Yes Stevie, at Finsbury Park No4 that gantry that stood right outside No4 that signal gantry was 'directing signals' only because i don't think anything actually stopped at it it just showed to a driver which direction he was to take either up slow to up fast/along the up slow/up slow to up goods no1 or up slow to up goods no2 line so yes it didn't take a driver into East goods. Finsbury Park No1 had a 65 lever Saxby & Farmer lever frame thanks for setting the record straight on that one because i never got into No1 box infact i can only remember seeing it close up about 4 times?. By the way i've found it in a book about that lever frame in Finsbury Park No1 and yes it was a Saxby & Farmer frame. Micky
Last edited by Mickey on Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:53 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by AndyRush » Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:24 am

[/quote]Andy, this was the version before anything was altered for even preliminiary bits for the resignalling. And before there were some even earlier changes to the Semaphore signalling at No.2 box, and to No.3's triple-independent Distants bracket for the Goods' and Carriage lines, but after No.2's slotting of all No.3's Down Carriage Homes had been removed (in about '67?).
There were a lot of changes before the box closed, including extensive alterations on/reducing the Goods & Carriage lines, an extra connection off DG2 into the Diesel Depot, worked by a tiny switch panel, and removal of one of the Slow lines.

I could probably give more detail if wanted, as Dave Cockle might well be able to.
Well done for rescuing such material.

With Micky's explosion of these posts about signalling, Richard might need to consider an extra forum on such topics !![/quote]

I'd be interested if you could date the diagram (as would John Saxton), even if it is only a 'circa' date. Most of the transparencies I rescued are undated, although a few have the original draughtsmans initials and date. However, these are pretty unreliable as there have clearly been amendments to the drawings since they were originally produced.

Regards

Andy

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:32 am

Finsbury Park No4 s/box. When the up Cannonbury line that when around the back of Finsbury Park No4 was taken out of use and a 'new' connection was layed in further along following the main line to gain access to the up Cannonbury line at Finsbury Park No1 s/box. A sharp'ish curve off down the bank towards Finsbury Park No1 s/box was layed in down the bank at a higher level over looking Ashburton Grove s/box and running down an icline to Finsbury Park No1 s/box. So when a train departed Finsbury Park station it was signalled onto the former up goods line which i suppose would have been re-named the up Cannonbury line at Finsbury Park No4?. The train would have then travelled along the 'new' up Cannonbury line to a 'new bracket' colour light signal with two 'feathers' on it (the other two main aspects being for the up slow & up fast). The main aspect on the 'new' up Cannonbury line took a driver straight along the up Cannonbury line onto the up carriage line. The 'top feather' would take a driver off the up Cannonbury line onto the up goods via a 'short' run onto the up carriage line and the 'lower feather' took a driver around the sharp'ish curve and on down the bank (passed Ashburton Grove s/box on the right at a lower level) and down the incline towards Finsbury Park No1 s/box. The 3-colour lights on the signal gantry were Finsbury Park No4 s/box up fast, up slow & up Cannonbury/up carriage line starting signals and had replaced the old bracket post which carried Finsbury Park No4 s/box semaphore starting signals towards Holloway north up s/box aswell as carrying Holloway north up's distant signals beneath them and later from Aug '69 Holloway south up s/box 'motorised' distant signals before those semaphores were replaced by colour light signals on a new bracket signal. The 3-colour light starting signals were worked from 'switches' from a box mounted on the block shelf in Finsbury Park No4 s/box and not on a lever. Micky
Last edited by Mickey on Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

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