Potters Bar s/box 1973

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Mickey
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Potters Bar s/box 1973

Post by Mickey »

Back in early summer of 1973 and possibly during May, June & July I spent three Sundays 'cleaning' at the 1955 panel box which I was paid as Sunday overtime from my regular position as a telegraph lad at Welwyn Garden City s/box during the weekdays between Monday to Friday. At this time the summer of 1973 the old 1955 panel had been replace by a smaller NX panel at some date and the three signalmen at the box on the Sundays that I was 'cleaning' were all older blokes possibly around there late 50s in age?. On those Sunday mornings I would arrive at the box by a slow train from WGC around 10:00 am and the actual cleaning only took around 30 minutes if that but the main thing for me was that I stayed in the box 'all day' on those Sundays basically 'watching the passing trains' although on reflection maybe I should have disappeared out of the way of the signalmen and left them alone although none of the three signalmen made me feel unwelcome being there with them and I was in there way and being a 16 year old at that time and 'into railways' in a big way since being a child and with the Great Northern Railway being 'my railway' in particular I stayed in the box until about 5:30 pm on those Sundays afternoons/evenings when the signalmen would eventually say "Oh well you better be running along cos my relief will be here at six" so I would say my goodbyes and leave the box and catch the next slow train back to WGC.

As for the working at the box from a faded memory I can't recall if the box was working TCB (Track Circuit Block) on all four running lines with Hatfield no.1 or if the box was working with the temporary NX panel that was installed in formerly Hatfield no.2 when Hatfield no.1 closed at the end of May of 1973?. In the other direction Potters Bar was working TCB on all four running lines with New Barnet North Box which out lasted the Potters Bar NX panel by a couple of years. Also trains were signalled by the 'single stroke' block bells with the individual buttons for the fast and slow lines sunken in the panel face to communicate with the two boxes either side of Potters Bar so therefore no train describers were used.
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StevieG
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Re: Potters Bar s/box 1973

Post by StevieG »

Mickey,
Although I didn't come to KX Divisional Control in GN House from the LMR until 1974 rather than '73, I would think that the three resident Potters Bar men had probably not changed.
If so, AFAIR they were possibly Arthur Fowler, Bob Baker, and Dick Hoare.
BZOH

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Mickey
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Re: Potters Bar s/box 1973

Post by Mickey »

You are correct no doubt Stevie with regards to the three resident signalmen at the box in 1973. As I said on reflection maybe after cleaning up the box which basically consisted of emptying the waste paper bin and sweeping a soft brush brown over the shinny floor that was about the embarrassing extent of my 'cleaning' job although one of the signalmen I recall did say something about 'putting a wet mop over the floor like the other telegraph lad had done' which I duly did do but probably I really should have 'disappeared' home after my cleaning had finished because most signalmen working in a single manned s/box liked to be left alone (I did) but at the time back in 1973 I was 16 years old and thought nothing of 'hanging around' on the railway sometimes all day and into the evening before heading home.

With regards to cleaning the box at Potters Bar I recall a manager (I forget his name) at Welwyn Garden City station approached me on several occasions asking me if I wanted to do the cleaning at Potters Bar box on a Sunday to earn a bit of overtime money?. The usual weekly pay that I took doing the telegraph lads job at WGC between 1972 to early 1974 was around £8 for five days and that didn't include Saturday as that was a fixed rest day for me although the telegraph lads working at the box in years gone by until the end of the 1960s did work Saturdays at the box.

I have posted this before a number of years ago but around the time Potters Bar s/box closed possibly in late 1973 or early 1974 I do recall before I left Welwyn Garden City box in March 1974 a new young ops manager who came on the area during the latter part of 1973 and had supposedly enquired about actually living in the redundant Potters Bar box after closure and in fact from vague memory I believe he visited WGC box one day and he told one of the WGC signalmen of his idea when I was also in the box that day 'on the book' although according to him he had received a negative answer to his enquiry from higher management at Kings Cross but he thought it was a great idea!.
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StevieG
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Re: Potters Bar s/box 1973

Post by StevieG »

I remember a George Evans being a Station/Traffic Manager at WGC.
Then later, one whose name was I think, Kevin something.

Certainly recall in the late '60s, when there was a manager at Potters Bar station, that he was Robin Frost.
BZOH

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Mickey
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Re: Potters Bar s/box 1973

Post by Mickey »

With regards to the junior traffic manager at WGC who suggested that I could 'get some Sunday overtime by doing a bit of cleaning at Potters Bar box on a Sunday' if I wanted to, I can't recall his name over 50 years on in 2024 although I can still see his face in 'my minds eye' with him possibly being around the age of 25 in 1973 and I think he may have originated possibly from somewhere in east Anglia because I believe he had a bit of a 'country accent' possibly from either the north Hertfordshire or Cambridgeshire area?. At that time 1972/73 Jack Mead was the station manager at WGC before moving to Hitchin maybe later in 1973 or in 1974. The other junior traffic manager at WGC at that time who was under Jack Mead and was equal in position to the other junior traffic manager was also around 25 years of age at that time who was called Mr. Hamer. Mr. Hamer was the bloke that I previously eluded to a year or two ago in another post who was often seen 'purposely walking' along the WGC Down platform to and from the old booking office holding a 'piece of paper' in his hand which elicited the comment from old Harry Fitzgerald (one of the WGC signalmen) that "If you want to look busy hold a piece of paper in your hand when you are walking around and everyone will think you are busy working!." Ha ha
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thesignalman
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Re: Potters Bar s/box 1973

Post by thesignalman »

According to my memory, around 1972/3 I covered a late turn as Telegraph Boy at Potters Bar - just one shift! At that time I was technically a "regular" TB at Kings Cross, but by arrangement with my oppo there, he worked twelve hour shifts there and I was used as a relief TB from time to time when staffing was desperate.

At the time I was there, I'm pretty sure the original panel was in use, records show the panel as renewed in November 1972 which helps date things.

My point of going into this is that it was our job to keep the box clean and tidy so I'm puzzled why Mick was offered Sunday work to do that. Could it perhaps been that the TBs at Potters Bar were dispensed with around the time the new panel came into use, and perhaps the signalmen refused to do the cleaning themselves?

Or is my memory right up the creek?

John
"BX there, boy!"
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Mickey
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Re: Potters Bar s/box 1973

Post by Mickey »

As you would know John the replacement of the original Potters Bar panel with a smaller temporary NX panel in November 1972 would have coincided with the closure of Marshmoor box northwards beyond Brookmans Park station and just beyond the current day Welham Green station opened in the 1980s and with regards to the actual Sundays that I did my cleaning at Potters Bar quite possibly Hatfield no.1 had recently closed back then (late May 1973) and Potters Bar was then working TCB with the Hatfield temporary NX panel located in the former Hatfield no.2 box.

As I posted previously John I was asked on two or three separate occasions by a traffic manager at WGC during the early summer of 1973 if I wanted to earn a bit of extra money by cleaning the box at Potters Bar on a Sunday and to be honest I wasn't that interested but after several times of being asked by this same traffic manager if I would go I decided to go and do it and as I previously posted I recall going to Potters Bar on three separate Sundays quite possibly during June and July of 1973.

During an an earlier time around 10 years earlier during the early or mid 1960s an old railway friend of mine who I lost contact with about 45 years ago told me back in around 1968 that he had been a telegraph lad at Potters Bar either before or after he had been a telegraph lad at Welwyn Garden City during 1962-63 and his name was Alan Dollimore who as I said I lost contact with him almost 45 years ago.
Original start date of 2010 on the LNER forum and previously posted 4500+ posts.
Mickey
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Posts: 1233
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:27 am
Location: London

Re: Potters Bar s/box 1973

Post by Mickey »

With regards to myself being paid 'Sunday overtime' to do the cleaning at Potters Bar box on a Sunday I assume it wasn't that much 'extra money' back in 1973 and at a guess it was possibly about an extra £2.50p for working a Sunday shift and considering my Monday to Friday telegraph lads job at Welwyn Garden City box working either a week of early turns (06:00-14:00hrs) or a week of late turns (14:00-22:00hrs) those shifts paid about £8 a week. When I started at 'Garden City' box in July 1972 apparently the 'lads money' had recently been increased from about £7.30p a week to about £8 a week which I assume was a pay increase across the board for all signalling grades throughout British Rail. Back in 1972/73 I know all three resident signalmen at WGC box were all taking the old class 'C' rate of weekly pay with the box being a class 'C' job and that was about £30-£31 a week in 1972/73.
Original start date of 2010 on the LNER forum and previously posted 4500+ posts.
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