New Barnet North Signalbox

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EddieBN
LNER J94 0-6-0ST Austerity
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:53 pm
Location: Bedfordshire

New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by EddieBN » Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:23 pm

Hi Everyone,
I stumbled across the LNER forum some time ago and have finally taken the plunge and joined up. It's been great to read all the info posted about some of my old haunts of years ago. I started as telegraph lad at New Barnet North (BN) in 1962, then on to the Finsbury Park relief (covering Kings Cross to Welwyn Garden City) .My first signalman's post was Marshmoor (between Potters Bar and Hatfield) and I later transferred to Oakleigh Park until 1968. I'm hoping someone on the forum will remember me !

Eddie Arden.

Mickey
LNER A4 4-6-2 'Streak'
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Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by Mickey » Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:29 pm

Welcome to the forum Eddie theres bound to be atleast one guy in particular who knows you on here and maybe several others as well.

Oakleigh Park (box) that place always reminds me of Mr.Freer one of the regular signalmen at that box circa 1967-70 who always use to stand at the open window when a Up local train departed the Up slow line platform looking every bit a proper signalman. :wink:

Mickey

EddieBN
LNER J94 0-6-0ST Austerity
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:53 pm
Location: Bedfordshire

Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by EddieBN » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:39 pm

Hi Mickey,

Thanks for your words of welcome! I used to work with Freddie Freer at Oakleigh Park box (OH) . He was one of the "old school" and had been there a long time. The 'box was open on two shifts 06.00 to 13.15 and 13.15 to 20.30 Mon to Fri. Sat was 06.00 to 13.15 only and Sun closed. We had an 'arrangement' whereby the signalman on late shift during the week would work the early turn on Saturday morning, meaning the early turn signalman would be off from Friday 13.15 'til Monday 13.15 ! You mentioned Fred at the 'box window -- this window if I remember correctly, went from floor level and would slide right back so you could get a good view of the up fast and up slow trains leaving the station. Quite a few peak hour trains would run on the up fast, stopping at Oakleigh Park then non stop to Finsbury Park.

Eddie

Mickey
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Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by Mickey » Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:26 pm

EddieBN wrote:I used to work with Freddie Freer at Oakleigh Park box (OH) . He was one of the "old school" and had been there a long time.
Yeah Freddie Freer looked 'old school' but there was nothing wrong with that he may have also had a 'lever cloth' in his hand of thrown over his shoulder as well but nearly 50 years on i can't be totally sure about that?.

Eddie you say you've been reading a lot of stuff on this forum for a while so you may have read some of my stuff, i use to be a telegraph lad at Welwyn Garden City (1972-74) but that was towards the end of the 'great days' of GN/LNER signalling also you may remember or heard of the 3 regular signalmen at Welwyn (CT) during the 1960s those being Cecil White, Harry Fitzgerald & Alan 'pedler' Palmer, a long lost friend of mine was also a telegraph lad at Welwyn between 1962-63 about the sametime that you started on the railway he was called Alan Dollimore but i lost contact with him back in 1980.

By the way i'm a signalman (or signaller as Network Rail call us these days) and have been since 1980.

If you put in Oakleigh Park in the search box above and go 4 pages in there is one of RPs many track diagrams this one is of Oakleigh Park i've just had another look at it and have just noticed a Down siding along side the Down Goods line north of Oakleigh Park station before reaching New Barnet South Box i never noticed that before there are x2 ground frames provided to gain access to this siding, who controlled that New Barnet South Box i presume?.

Eddie do you remember one of the Greenwood (box) nameboards in someone's back garden on the Down side of the running lines a couple of hundred yards before entering Hadley Wood south tunnel it was there until about 1968 or maybe 1969 before it disappeared?.


Mickey

EddieBN
LNER J94 0-6-0ST Austerity
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:53 pm
Location: Bedfordshire

Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by EddieBN » Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:51 pm

Hi Mickey
Ido remember the three 'regulars' at Welwyn G C. When I was on the Finsbury Park relief I only went there two or three times and I can't remember who was on duty ( it was a long time ago ! ) I also remember Alan Dollimore's name but never met him. In those days the telephone circuits were very limited. When I was t/lad at BN in 1962 the furthest we could get was Potters Bar to the north and Wood Green to the south ! If you wanted to go any further it was back to the single needle ! About that siding at Oakleigh Park........It was there when I did my train spotting in the late fifties/early sixties but had been removed before I was in the 'box. I have a photo taken from the footbridge at the north end of the station looking north showing this siding which as you say was connected to the down goods by two sets of points controlled by ground frames. When I was in OH box No.1 lever was a spare ( cut down I think ) and I always assumed this had been the electric release for the frames. I also remember the Greenwood box name board in that back garden ajoining the line near Hadley Wood south tunnel. Have you ever seen the poster painted by Terence Cuneo titled 'Early Shift' ? The signalman in the picture is Brian Barr who then moved to BN when Greenwood was closed in 1959 re-signalling. I worked with Brian at BN when I first started there.

Eddie

Mickey
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Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by Mickey » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:26 pm

EddieBN wrote:I also remember Alan Dollimore's name but never met him.


Alan Dollimore was a good lad very knowledgeable on all things railways i first met him back in 1968 at Welwyn North station but i lost contact with him back in 1980 if he's still alive i guess he'd be in up in his 70s by now?.
EddieBN wrote:In those days the telephone circuits were very limited.
Yeah Welwyn Garden City was on the Hatfield-Hitchin telephone circuit although if you went on the Control circuit that went as far south as New Southgate (box) and as far north as Huntingdon North No.1(box).
EddieBN wrote:If you wanted to go any further it was back to the single needle!
Welwyn Garden City had 2 s/n telegraph circuits left working when i was there as a telegraph lad during 1972-73 the Kings Cross-Hitchin circuit and the Hatfield-Sandy circuit were left working also in the s/n telegraph wooden cabnet along with those 2 working circuits was the old Hertford circuit and also the old Luton circuit but those last two were 'out-of-use' and disconnected.
EddieBN wrote:About that siding at Oakleigh Park........It was there when I did my train spotting in the late fifties/early sixties but had been removed before I was in the 'box. I have a photo taken from the footbridge at the north end of the station looking north showing this siding which as you say was connected to the down goods by two sets of points controlled by ground frames. When I was in OH box No.1 lever was a spare ( cut down I think ) and I always assumed this had been the electric release for the frames.
Yes i would assume that the cut down lever handle on no.1 lever was the old GF release lever Eddie.
EddieBN wrote:I also remember the Greenwood box name board in that back garden ajoining the line near Hadley Wood south tunnel.
I posted about one of the two Greenwood (box) nameboards being in someone's back garden near to the southern entrance to Hadley Wood south tunnel about 5 or 6 months ago but nobody really picked up on it?.
EddieBN wrote: Have you ever seen the poster painted by Terence Cuneo titled 'Early Shift' ? The signalman in the picture is Brian Barr who then moved to BN when Greenwood was closed in 1959 re-signalling. I worked with Brian at BN when I first started there.
Yes i've seen it Eddie and is that Brian Barr in the picture i never knew that?. Mo Cantor a relief signalman around the Welwyn North, Woolmer Green, Knebworth, Langley Junction, Stevenage South & Stevenage North boxes told me back in 1972 that he had worked Greenwood (box) at onetime but he never said if it was as a regular or relief signalman and i didn't think to ask him?.

Mickey

Mickey
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Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by Mickey » Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:12 pm

Eddie there was a ex-relief signalman off the GN main line who came on the forum about 6-7 months ago a fella by the name of Barry Jones a Yorkshire bloke and i do actually remember him learning Welwyn Garden City (box) and also working the box on a few occasions this would have been around late 1972 and early 1973 he also worked Hatfield No.1 (box) as well around the sametime anyway he said that he started on the railway in about 1962 and he was regular at Cemetery (box) during the 1960s does his name ring a bell?.

I remember Barry at Welwyn Garden City (box) and i reckon i met him so to speak in the box on about 9 or 10 occasions but he doesn't remember me mind you i was only 15-16 years old at the time and i never said much to anyone back then plus it was over 40 years ago and i'd say Barry was in his late 20s or early 30s at that time and someone like him would have been like an old person to me back then ha ha ha... :wink:

Mickey

EddieBN
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Location: Bedfordshire

Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by EddieBN » Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:50 pm

Hi Mickey
Just seen your note re Barry Jones.....I don't remember that name, I'm thinking he was at Cemetery box perhaps after my time at OH. It's such a long time and I can only remember one of the regulars at CY, his name was Alan but his surname escapes me, but we called him "bubbles". Another name I've seen mentioned is Stan Colbert. He was a relief signalman who I think covered the Hatfield boxes (mostly No.1) and sometimes Potters Bar. He also covered BN signalmen's rest days, so that meant he worked there quite regularly. He was a stickler for rules & regs, always using the 'call attention' for everything. This didn't go down very well with whoever was South box (BZ)....most of the shift they would give him the 'run around' not to mention a bit of banter on the single needle for good measure ! Us t/lads had to keep out of the way ! More on SC later.

Eddie

Mickey
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Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by Mickey » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:50 pm

EddieBN wrote:Another name I've seen mentioned is Stan Colbert. He was a relief signalman who I think covered the Hatfield boxes (mostly No.1) and sometimes Potters Bar. He also covered BN signalmen's rest days, so that meant he worked there quite regularly.
I've probably mentioned Stan Colbert several times before Eddie not to say that i really knew him he just showed up at Welwyn Garden City (box) on a few occasions when i was a telegraph lad at the box (1972-1974) usually to talk with Cecil White (LDC) who was one of the regular signalmen at the box although i remember he did show up one evening when Harry Fitzgerald was on duty another of the regular signalmen at the box, old Stan was as bald as a snooker ball i seem to remember
EddieBN wrote:He was a stickler for rules & regs, always using the 'call attention' for everything. This didn't go down very well with whoever was South box (BZ)....most of the shift they would give him the 'run around' not to mention a bit of banter on the single needle for good measure ! Us t/lads had to keep out of the way ! More on SC later.
..."Unfortunately the few bloke's who did always work "straight" on Absolute Block (and i'm not necessarily talking about the GN here but the North London lines) in my opinion 'slowed the job right down' to a crawl. At one particular box i was at in the past if a second train was closely following the first train through the (block) section in advance by the time the bloke in the advance box had gone through the 'performance' of Calling Attention and getting the Call Attention acknowledged by the bloke in the rear then 'giving train out of section' and the bloke in the rear having to acknowledge the 'train out of section' then the bloke in advance 'dropping his needle' then the bloke in the rear having to Call Attention again and getting his Call Attention ackowledged by the bloke in advance and then the boke in the rear offering on the second train and getting it accepted by the bloke in advance and then usually waiting a further second or two for the bloke in the advance box to actually 'give a line clear' on the block instrument the (ruddy) second train was at a stand at my starter EVERYTIME!!."

A point about the signalling at Oakleigh Park?.-

One techicnical note regards working Oakleigh Park (box) Eddie the Down fast line home/starting signal (no.10 lever) towards New Barnet South box to accept a train on the Down fast line from Cemetery (box) or New Southgate (box) if Cemetery was closed the 440yds 'clearing point' beyond no.10 signal had to be clear before a train could be accepted 'on the block' from Cemetery which in reality was nearly to New Barnet South box (almost double-block working?) after looking again a RPs track diagram of Oakleigh Park again thats basically how it appears on the track diagram as it's shows the 440yds 'clearing point' beyond no.10 signal.

Eddie if you had accepted a train 'on the block' from Cemetery (box) on the Down fast line and you wanted to talk to a driver of the train concerned obviously no.9 lever the Down fast line colour light distant signal at the southern entrance to Oakleigh Park tunnel would have been at caution as well as no.10 lever the Down fast line home/starting signal would have been at danger just beyond the north end of Oakleigh Park station so would you have stood at the open window of the box and shown a red hand signal at the slowly approaching train because for those that didn't know Oakleigh Park s/box before multi-aspect colour light signalling was introduced in the autumn of 1970 there wasn't a home signal on the Down fast line on the approach side to Oakleigh Park (box) the last stop signal was Cemetery's Down fast line home/starting signal and and the next stop signal after that was Oakleigh Park's Down fast line home/starting signal just beyond the north end of Oakleigh Park station, i actually mentioned about this before on a topic thread for Oakleigh Park & Cemetery s/boxes a few years ago plus also i presume it would have been a pretty rare event to have to talk to a driver of a train on the Down fast line at Oakleigh Park anyway so i presume it hardly ever happened?.

Mickey

EddieBN
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Posts: 32
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Location: Bedfordshire

Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by EddieBN » Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:43 pm

Hi Mickey,
Yes, I,m afraid Stan Colbert,s head was the subject of much of the banter on the single needle ! Mickey, you mention the self up of the signals on the Down Fast at OH. The down fast distant (No.9) was approach lit by a train only after it had passed Cemetery box's down fast home signal (this was a semaphore). I never even had to stop a train at the 'box on the down fast, but as you say the correct thing to do would have been to show a red flag in good time . If it didn't look as if it was stopping you could always resort to the detonators. At OH these could be placed on the rail by pulling a stirrup located in the frame (one for each running line) . You mention the location of the down fast home at OH at the off the north end of the platform....when I was about to be passed out for OH by the D.I , I was warned of a question I might be asked. "if you received 7 bells (stop & examine) from Cemetery for a train on the down fast, what would you do". The correct answer (apart from throwing No.10 back a bit quick) was to send 6 bells (obstruction danger) to Barnet South on the up fast,this was all to do with the position of the up fast home. Anyway, I did get asked the question! but luckily that never happened while I was there.

Eddie

Mickey
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Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by Mickey » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:14 pm

Interesting post Eddie, you may just recall Welwyn Garden City (box) also had stirrup handle detonator placers in the frame but only for the Up & Down fast lines only.

I always liked New Barnet South box the actual box it's self plus also that box still had a lot of semaphore signals virtually to the end (autumn of 1970) even after several of it's signal arms were abolished around 1968-69.

Stan Cobert gets a name check in the Official Accident Report into a 'high speed derailment' on the Down fast line at Hatfield in January 1966 due to a 'broken rail' near to Hatfield No.1 (box) this accident is featured on the Railway Archive website if your interested.

Also i presume you remember Cliff Loveland of Marshmoor (box) and that aircraft crash in 1968 happening?. That accident with Cliff happened just as i was getting interested in railway signalling and although i was only a youngster in 1968 i remember it appearing in our local newspaper as well as the accident at Hatfield No.3 (box) and the 'run away' goods train that hit the brick wall around the sametime.

Mickey

EddieBN
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Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:53 pm
Location: Bedfordshire

Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by EddieBN » Sun Nov 22, 2015 5:50 pm

Hi Mickey,
I don't remember Cliff Loveland at Marshmoor when I was there around 1966 , was he a regular or relief signalman ? When I was there I was the only regular and did a lot of 12hr shifts. Was the air crash close to Marshmoor box,did you mean Cliff was involved ? I'd forgotten about the Hatfield broken rail accident in 1966 and managed to look it up on the Accident Archive ! I was T/Lad on duty with Stan Colbert at BN. I can still remember the date...4th December 1962. The weather was terrible, very cold with very thick fog, a real "pea-souper" Everything was running late and out of course. In those days two down evening rush hour trains terminated at BN.....one at 17.22 the other at 17.44. When all the passengers had left the train it would draw down from the down slow platform to beyond No.53 points ready to set back and cross to the up local (crossing the down fast, up fast and up slow) ...not easy in the middle of the evening peak service ! A major problem with this was the track circuit on the down slow was not split where No 53 points were located, so if you couldn't see the train (which we couldn't) it was difficult to know when to set up the road for the ECS to cross over to the up side. Stan set the road up, down slow to up local, pulling off discs 54 and 55. The train was five coaches plus Class 31 loco. Disaster then struck! The train had not drawn down far enough over the points and rear bogie of the last coach was on the wrong side of the points. When the guard called the driver to set back there was a lot of bumping and banging. The last three coaches off the road blocking the down slow, down fast and up fast lines. That was the end of the evening rush hour ! KX breakdown crane arrived 23.45 to pick up the pieces. Driver, guard and signalman all on the carpet !

Eddie

Mickey
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Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by Mickey » Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:17 pm

EddieBN wrote:I don't remember Cliff Loveland at Marshmoor when I was there around 1966 , was he a regular or relief signalman ? When I was there I was the only regular and did a lot of 12hr shifts. Was the air crash close to Marshmoor box,did you mean Cliff was involved?.
I believe Cliff Loveland may have been a telegraph lad at Welwyn Garden City (box) but i'm not 100% certain of that fact but he was a regular-signalman at Marshmoor (box) in 1968. Anyway Cliff and two other signalmen (3 in total) flew to France and back on a day trip in a light aircraft but on the return part of the trip they hit some heavy cloud cover and i believe the pilot decided to fly underneath it but he took the aircraft to low and they unfortunately hit the ground this happened when they were flying back over England and all four including the pilot were killed.

There is a topic headed 'Signalman Loveland of Marshmoor 1968' on the LNER People page if you want to read a bit more about it?.
EddieBN wrote:I'd forgotten about the Hatfield broken rail accident in 1966 and managed to look it up on the Accident Archive ! I was T/Lad on duty with Stan Colbert at BN. I can still remember the date...4th December 1962. The weather was terrible, very cold with very thick fog, a real "pea-souper" Everything was running late and out of course. In those days two down evening rush hour trains terminated at BN.....one at 17.22 the other at 17.44. When all the passengers had left the train it would draw down from the down slow platform to beyond No.53 points ready to set back and cross to the up local (crossing the down fast, up fast and up slow) ...not easy in the middle of the evening peak service ! A major problem with this was the track circuit on the down slow was not split where No 53 points were located, so if you couldn't see the train (which we couldn't) it was difficult to know when to set up the road for the ECS to cross over to the up side. Stan set the road up, down slow to up local, pulling off discs 54 and 55. The train was five coaches plus Class 31 loco. Disaster then struck! The train had not drawn down far enough over the points and rear bogie of the last coach was on the wrong side of the points. When the guard called the driver to set back there was a lot of bumping and banging. The last three coaches off the road blocking the down slow, down fast and up fast lines. That was the end of the evening rush hour ! KX breakdown crane arrived 23.45 to pick up the pieces. Driver, guard and signalman all on the carpet!.
Yes i can imagine the telephones would have been 'pretty hot' right in the middle of the evening peak as well!!.

Yes i can just about remember that 'long crossing' Eddie just north of New Barnet North Box that started in the Down slow line and then crossing right across to the Up Goods line with diamonds & trailing slips in the Down fast, Up fast & Up slow lines i believe that was why a bit of the north east corner of the box was 'shaved off' at an angle because that crossing ran close to the north east corner of the box, well thats my assumtion for why it was built like that anyway?. As far as that 'long crossing' is concerned i do vaguely remember it around 1967/68 before it was abolished and plain lined sometime later in 1968 i believe it was?.

Mickey

Mickey
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Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by Mickey » Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:47 pm

I also use to like those 'boards' that overhung the Down Slow & Down Goods lines on that x4 doll gantry at the north end of the Down slow & Down Goods lines just off the Down slow line platform and worked from New Barnet North Box and which read from left to right-

1.Down Goods to Down Slow line 2.Down Goods to Down Fast line 3.Down Slow line 4.Down Slow to Down Fast line.

Although the visual effect of this gantry was possibly deminished some what after the Down Goods to Down Slow line & Down Goods to Down Fast line arms were abolished and removed in the last year or 18 months before mutli-aspect colour light signalling replaced mechanical signalling in the New Barnet & Oakleigh Park area in the autumn of 1970.

Mickey

EddieBN
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Re: New Barnet North Signalbox

Post by EddieBN » Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:51 pm

Hi Mickey,
Yes,that was some crossover at BN, apart from crossing to the up fast and up slow you could go straight in to the up local, up goods, up siding No 1(shed side) and up siding No 2 (crane road). About the 'shaved off' N.E corner of the box......When the new tunnels were opened between New Barnet and Potters Bar (1958/1959? ) and the line resignalled a large relay room was built onto the north end of BN for all the new electrics . I'm thinking that in the old days the crossover was a lot closer to the box and at some point moved further north. I have a book about Barnet (it belonged to my dad) and there are few pages about local transport. There is a picture looking south towards the station taken during the reconstruction of the bridge over East Barnet Road in 1936 and the crossover does look closer to the box when that picture was taken. In the picture it looks like only one running line is open and shows what looks like a down express passing the signalbox on the up slow ! That down goods/down slow gantry did look quite smart didn't it. You mention the down goods to down fast route (No 9). I don't ever remember it being used during daylight hours while I was there. But.....sometimes on nights an empty mineral wagon train would originate from the down sidings at the south box (BZ) (these were empties from the coal supplied to the New Barnet gasworks via the upside siding at BN) and if Brian Barr was on duty he would very often send it away down the fast! In later years (mid 1960's ?) they removed No 18 down slow to down fast points and used No 20 points instead for down goods/down slow to fast.

Eddie

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