Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

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StevieG
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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by StevieG » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:51 pm

Yep; FP6's 53, 54 and 55 were the wrong way round (very strange), but wasn't the case at No.3.
Also, my sketch notes give the DF shelf equipment as not directly over 79 & 80, but being approx. above levers 69-75, with all the others roughly over 8-44.
BZOH

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Mickey
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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:00 am

Good one Stevie great information about FINSBURY PARK No3s lever frame, block shelf and the block instruments in relation to certain levers also the track diagram being where it was on the block shelf as well.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Dave Cockle » Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:52 pm

Micky,

StevieG is correct in saying that the box lad at Finsbury Park No 3 usually (unofficially) worked the Down Fast Home and Distant signals. When I first started up No 3 box I worked these two signal almost from day one. There was no point work involved and it was a straight forward bock working operation. I beleve once an "Is Line Clear" signal was sent forward from Holloway South Down it was sent forward immediately to all boxes down the main line as far as New Barnet North.

Wilf Stockley, Albert Coe and Bill Axelby were the resident signalmen in 1970 Albert Coe being thejunior man having been made redundant when Hatfield No 3 closed. Dave Underwood was my opposite number on the Train Register Book. I believe Dave still works for Network Rail East Anglia as an Operations Manager.

One memory I have was watching diesel fuel spill onto the ballast when some locos came off Finsbury Park Depot having had their fuel tanks filled to the brim. This happened as some of the locos braked to a stand on the Down Goods line in order to reverse, prior to heading off towards the "Creep en route to KX. Heavy braking would cause the fuel to surge to one end of the tank and out of an overflow pipe. I reckon the ballast at this spot must have been well contaminated with fuel spillage. The Environment Agency would have a field day if this form of pollution was allowed today.

Regards

Dave Cockle
Last edited by Dave Cockle on Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mickey
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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:35 pm

Hello Dave, yes i visited FINSBURY PARK No3 with Alister who was a Telegraph lad there around 1972 he had been at FINSBURY PARK No6 the year previous but transferred to No3. I remember Alister telling me that the down fast line colour light home signal lever no.80 and the down fast line semaphore distant signal lever no.79 was 'the Telegraph lads two levers' because the down fast line block instruments WEREN'T situated above the down fast line signal levers on the block shelf but further back a long the block shelf so it saved the signalman walking a long the frame just to pull thoughs two levers.
I remember one Saturday night back in the early 1970s being on a Craven unit from Kings Cross and after passing FINSBURY PARK No3 all the intervening s/boxes to NEW BARNET appeared to be 'switched out' on the down lines. FINSBURY PARK No5 was in 'total darkness' with the 'boards pulled off' on the down fast line, the down slow no.1 line, the down slow no.2 line & down carriage/down goods line as was a simular situation at HARRINGAY which wasn't unusual to be closed at weekends. HORNSEY No1 appeared to be closed with the down fast line, down slow no.1 line, down slow no.2 line and down carriage/down goods line signals all 'pulled off' and for the box to be in total darkness which was 'unusal' but not unknown of at that time and even WOOD GREEN No1 appeared to be closed which was 'very unusual' and again to be in darkness as well with the 'boards pulled off' on the down fast line, down slow no.1 line and the down slow no.2 line leading onto the down Hertford branch. NEW SOUTHGATE was closed which wasn't unusual in the early 1970s on a Saturday night but CEMETERY appeared to be closed which to my memory was usually open most times and again with the box pretty much in darkness with the 'boards pulled off' on all roads including the up road as well just like NEW SOUTHGATE had been. It wasn't until we arrived at NEW BARNET that i saw a light on in NEW BARNET NORTH BOX and some movement coming from inside the box!. So as far as it appeared to me FINSBURY PARK No3 was working to NEW BARNET NORTH BOX on the down fast and the down slow lines on that particular Saturday night a situation which was 'highly unusual' and quite possibly a 'one off' occurrence?.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Dave Cockle » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:31 pm

As you say Micky an extremely unusual occurrence if all the intermediate boxes between Finsbury Park No 3 and New Barnet North were switched out. I must comment that it was not unknown for some signalmen to work their box on nights with minimal interior lighting so as to improve their visibility of the outside world. Quite often the only light used would be a "Swivell light" adjusted so as to shine directly onto the train register book and nothing else. With Wood Green No 1 switched out Finsbury Park No 3 would have to be careful to ensure trains bound for the Hertford Loop were routed down Slow Line 2 and Welwyn GC stoppers down Slow Line 1.

When I was signalman at Hertford North in 1971 to save money on Boxing Day wages Gordon Hill box was switched out and we worked a 14 mile block section to Bounds Green. The S&T Dept undertook a trial before Christmas to day and found out that their was not enough juice in batteries to power the block bells between Hertford North & Bounds Green. Too much current was being lost over the pole route wires so extra batteries were put into he circuit to boost the voltage for the Boxing day closure of Gordon Hill box. One of the problems with the pole route was that it went over the top of Ponsbourne Tunnel passing through some dense woodland with the tree leaves making contact with the wires. In an ideal world the trees should have been pruned periodicaly to keep the branches clear of the wires but with the re-signalling in the pipe line maintenance of the overhead pole route was let slip. Whenever there was rain the omnibus circuit phone
Wood Green No ! - to Hertford North used to develope a heavy "Buzzing" back ground noise making conversions over the telephone line difficult to hear clearly. It was caused by the wet leaves on the trees being in contact with the pole route wires causing current leakage to earth.

A different world it was in those distant days but we just got on with the job.

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StevieG
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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by StevieG » Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:37 pm

I wonder if Micky's observations of his unusual occurrence trip were accurate, due to strike action? - For example, I seem to recall hearing that, during a URS strike [ (That's not 'Up Refuge Siding', but the Union of Railway Signalmen : not all signalmen were members) ; some time during 1968/9? ], one evening, New Barnet North was working with Finsbury Park No.5, and it was said that the bells then were very feint, with the bell hammers sometimes managing only to get part way off their rests without reaching the bell dome, so the signalman was trying to interpret clicks instead of bell strikes. The distance involved would have been only around 6.25 miles, but the circuits would have been trying to operate through seven Block switches in the switched-out boxes.

...But, there again, the bell from Hertford to Bounds Green would have been connecting through eight Block switches !
BZOH

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:37 am

Fair comment Stevie but what i can remember about that Saturday evening was that it was a 'normal' Saturday because i had gone up to the Cross on the Saturday afternoon to do the usual bit of 'spotting' around stPancras, Euston, Paddington, Liverpool street & Broad street stations (a usually activity on a Saturday back then) and then go back to hanging around the Cross on the platform for an hour or so then eventually sometime during the evening i would have got the train back home to WGC this would have been around either 1971 or 1972?.
Again another fair comment Dave about the interior s/box light usually the light switched on over the train register book (well back then it was at any rate) being the only interior light switched on which usually gives the appearence of the rest of the s/box being in 'total darkness' the bigger the s/box is the more darkness there is inside the s/box!. What i can remember of that particular night was that FINSBURY PARK No5, HORNSEY No1 and strangely enough even WOOD GREEN No1 were all in 'total darkness' with ALL THERE SIGNALS LEFT OFF on the down fast, down slow no.1, down slow no.2 & down carriage/down goods lines?. NEW SOUTHGATE & CEMETERY had the appearence of being 'switched out' with ALL THERE SIGNALS OFF on the up & down fast & slow lines with both the boxes dark with no signs of life detected from inside. NEW SOUTHGATE was usually 'switched out' on a Saturday night by the early 1970s i seem to remember anyway and HARRINGAY was usually closed at weekends as well. I just seem to remember that night because it was so strange?.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by manna » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:24 am

G'Day Gents

Signalmen and lights; think you were paying for the power, never a thought for the poor ol' secondman, who had to carry out rule 55, falling over buckets, left on steps! or bikes parked across the step at 4am. There use to be a signalman who used to chuck his old tea leaves out the door, and on a cold and frosty night, his steps were like a skating rink :lol: :lol:
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StevieG
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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by StevieG » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:59 am

manna wrote: " G'Day Gents ...... There use to be a signalman who used to chuck his old tea leaves out the door, and on a cold and frosty night, his steps were like a skating rink :lol: :lol: "
manna
How uncouth! No pride in their surroundings, that's the trouble : Not only by the yoof of today then.
BZOH

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:04 pm

Personally speaking thats the only way to work a s/box at night comfortably that i have always found was just to have the light on over the book (or as everyone else seems to call the train register nowadays the TRB). With just a light on over the book the rest of the box is pretty much in the dark and it makes it a lot easier to see outside the box (it also hinders people looking in and watching you!). I have noticed in more recent years a number of the 'new breed' of 'signaller's (a RAILTRACK/NETWORK RAIL term for a signalman yuk!) seem for the most part to SWITCH ALL THE INTERIOR S/BOX LIGHTS ON AT NIGHT (it's like being in a gold fish bowl!) for some reason i wonder if they are told to do that in signalling school nowadays?.

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Bryan » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:21 pm

Micky wrote:I have noticed in more recent years a number of the 'new breed' of 'signaller's (a RAILTRACK/NETWORK RAIL term for a signalman yuk!) seem for the most part to SWITCH ALL THE INTERIOR S/BOX LIGHTS ON AT NIGHT (it's like being in a gold fish bowl!) for some reason i wonder if they are told to do that in signalling school nowadays?.
Is it a NWR ploy to keep the Signalman awake?

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:14 pm

Of course it is Bryan :wink: .

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by mickj.signalman » Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:15 pm

I was signalman at number 5 from 1971 to 1974
Attachments
Fins Park 5.jpg
Looking at down platform from Finsbury Park No 5.
img595.jpg
Looking north

Mickey
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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by Mickey » Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:00 pm

A nice couple of photographs mick, there is a topic thread dedicated to Finsbury Park 5 elsewhere on the forum which talks about the box the signalling and several signalmen who worked at the box down the years.

Mickey

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Re: Finsbury Park s/boxes circa 1970

Post by R. pike » Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:16 pm

The best i can muster for FP5..
Finsbury Park 5lr.jpg

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