KX signal box?

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Mickey
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Re: KX signal box?/query

Post by Mickey »

StevieG wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:49 am Mickey, the 'abandoned' station, as well as being boldly named KING'S CROSS on the platforms, was also well known, and perhaps was also in documents such as WTTs(?), as 'Kings Cross (Met)'.
Funnily enough back in the early 1970s I use to call the station KINGS CROSS METROPOLITAN but with nearly a 50 years interval I had forgotten that it was referred to by that name and on reading about the Widen lines the text of the topic kept referring to the station as 'the abandoned station' on the Widen lines.

The very first time I recall seeing Kings Cross Metropolitan station was during the second half of 1967 when my late father use to work around the Kings Cross area off the Greys Inn road during the 1960s and one day I happened to walk down a narrow side turning and it brought me out to the bridge crossing the Circle & Widen lines and so being curious of hearing trains but unable to see them I climbed up and looked over the bridge to watch the Circle line trains passing through down below me.

Funny to think that as late as June 1971 it was still quite possible to see the occasional ex-GWR 0-6-0 pannier tank in LT ownership maybe passing through on a ballast train heading out towards Barking or Upminster or returning back to Lillie Bridge depot in west London with the noise and sudden appearance of a cloud of loco smoke rising up from the railway line below the bridge?.
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Mickey
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Mystery s/box beyond KX?

Post by Mickey »

About 3 years ago I read for the first time of a onetime signal box that existed east of Kings Cross Met station although It is not entirely clear if it signalled the Widen lines or the Met & Circle lines and was called Granville which apparently opened during the 1890s and closed in the 1920s. The signal box I believe was located in a gap or a alcove in the brick retaining wall in the tunnel section east of Kings Cross and was accessed I believe via a spiral staircase leading from the box door to the street level above. I would presume working at this signal box must have been a health hazard to use modern jargon to say the least with I presume gas or oil lighting being the only light available day and night plus obviously loco smoke continuously blowing through the tunnels and lingering about outside the box 24hrs with the amount of freight traffic operating over these lines day and night during the years that the box was open.

Hardly anymore information exists about this signal box other than it's name and the years that it existed.
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thesignalman
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Re: KX signal box?

Post by thesignalman »

Hi Micky,

That box was also referred to as Granville Street or Granville Intermediate on some documents so there is a choice of three names! It may have worked the Circle line in earlier days but didn't at the time of abolition in 1915. On that date, track circuiting was provided between Kings Cross "C" and Farringdon and various signals moved or added to cater for its absence.

I'm not sure whether was in an alcove as it is shown on the only drawing I have as being between the Circle and Widened lines, but the line is certainly below gound there.

The reason Kings Cross "C" looked a bit rough and ready is because the original box was destroyed by a bomb during World War II. It was called "C" was because there had been an "A" and "B" on the Circle lines. There had been a connection between "B" and "C". By 1939, "C" controlled all lines and signals although I'm not sure the replacement box ever did. In latter years, at least, it had a 19-lever miniature power lever frame.

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: KX signal box?

Post by Mickey »

Thanks again John for the information this time regarding Granville Street s/box and as I said previously not much information exists about the box on line which isn't surprising. It must have been curious places to work in below street level alone in the doom and gloom of a tunnel especially during the days of steam locos with the noise and with smoke lingering in the tunnels and possibly the heat as well?.

With regards to Kings Cross 'C' box it did cross my mind where 'A' & 'B' boxes had been situated?.
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thesignalman
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Re: KX signal box?

Post by thesignalman »

I have added a plan of Kings Cross "C" at 1939 on my web site at:
https://signalbox.org/~SBdiagram.php?id=%201314

This shows the old box at its peak - points 9, 10 and 15 were added at this date to proivide a connection to the Circle Lines - those knowledgable about LT workings will know more than me about the purpose of this. It could have been intended for WW2 diversions but 1939 sounds a bit early for such anticipation.

The actual date the box was destroyed by enemy action appears to be 9/3/41 and this accelerated the plans to move the Circle Line platforms further west, which were already under construction, to make better connections with the tube lines.

I'm still looking for more information on the later box here, the reference I had to the 19-lever miniature lever frame may be in question, particularly as I think I remember the signals at York Road being numbered "OJ21" - OJ being a new code in place of "C" when LT re-coded their signal boxes to have no repetition across their system.

With the talk of Granville and boxes in tunnels, there were some others in the vicinity:
  • Midland Junction was in the vee of the junction to the Hotel Curve and controlled points 11 but not the Up side junction. It was circular in shape, according to contemporary plans, and probably closed soon after 1916 because at that time a member of the Railway Inspectorate described the arrangement as "archaic" and the GNR and the MR agreed to hatch a plan to abolish this box and St Pancras Tunnel
  • St Pancras Tunnel was roughly halfway between Midland Junction and St Pauls Road Passenger Junction - it wasn't abolished in 1916 as suggested above but lasted until 1958. I could harp on a bit more about this one as I used to work with somebody who had once been a signalman there - but I will just mention from the smoke-filled tunnel point of view, guards would blow their whistle as they passed the signal box to confirm the train was complete as the chances of actually seeing the tail lamp was minimal! This was literally a hole in the tunnel wall with boards and windows fixed across the gap.
  • Chalton Street was the next box towards Euston Square (called Gower Street in those days) on the Circle lines before automatic signalling was introduced around 1909.
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: KX signal box?

Post by Mickey »

Interesting post above John thanks for posting it.

Those tunnel boxes must have been fairly miserable places to work at buried under street level under ground in smoke filled tunnels with no natural daylight it wouldn't surprise me if many signalmen suffered from bronchitis working in those places and with regards to St Pancras Tunnel I believe it was entered via a manhole in St Pancras station and then down a spiral staircase down to the box which from a couple of pictures from the 1950s I recall seeing was at ground level next to the track with 'the box' probably being rat infested as well. That vaguely reminds me of working Wembley ground frame one Saturday night back in about 1988 which was a filthy dirty little brick room with a solitary light bulb hanging from the ceiling beside the Up DC line at the north end of Wembley Central station that I was told before working it that it was rat infested!. Oh great!!.
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thesignalman
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Re: KX signal box?

Post by thesignalman »

Yes, Pancras Tunnel was indeed rat-infested and had a double-pieice door like a stable door so you could lean out without letting rats in.

A friend of mine has very quickly come up with a few more dates on KX C, the new box opened on 18/3/41 and had a 23-lever miniature frame (not 19) which probably came from the abandoned Bushey Heath line's box at Edgware, this was replaced in 1958 with a push-button panel controlling two "Interlocking Machine Room" frames in the way LT did such things.

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: KX signal box?

Post by Mickey »

Back in 1968 or 1969 when I was at secondary school I actually wrote a letter to London Underground telling them that I wanted to be a signalman on London Underground mainly because of the box at Farringdon on the then Metropolitan & Circle lines and the line including the Widen lines from Kings Cross through Farringdon and Barbican to Liverpool street that I liked to ride along anyway L.T. replied to my letter saying when it was time for me to leave school (in 1972) to contact them about becoming a signalman but when the time came I approached British Rail instead.

A rather good picture of a Circle line train arriving at Farringdon station in 1972 featuring Farringdon signal box-
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/283371336723 click on the picture to enlarge.

That Hotel curve from memory was a very dark single bore tunnel and after passing through the junction points with the Midland on a Brush type 2 with a train of 'block enders' behind the loco and from memory drivers use to take a run at it after passing through Kings Cross Met station and swinging right on the junction points because the line climbed steeply on a curve until daylight or open air was reached just before running into platform no.16 which was subsequently renumbered platform no.14 in May 1972 anyway it must have been murdered riding on a steam loco with or without condensing apparatus I would image?.
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StevieG
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Re: KX signal box?

Post by StevieG »

thesignalman wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 12:47 pm "I have added a plan of Kings Cross "C" at 1939 on my web site at:
https://signalbox.org/~SBdiagram.php?id=%201314

This shows the old box at its peak - points 9, 10 and 15 were added at this date to proivide a connection to the Circle Lines - those knowledgable about LT workings will know more than me about the purpose of this. It could have been intended for WW2 diversions but 1939 sounds a bit early for such anticipation. .... "
Thank you from me also for that, and the other tunnel boxes' info John.

I previously had no knowledge of there having been that pointwork at this location, noting that if the later-seen single track junction across the lines at Farringdon was also in place at that time, then the same inter-lines crossing facilities were available at both places : Some thought of trying to enhance flexibility in the case of partial damage to to the tunnels and/or retaining walls located between the two, one could wonder.

Some very odd lever numbering at KX 'C' though !

Re St. Pancras Tunnel box, can you confirm ? -
- From observation in 1971, at the bottom of the cobbled, north-facing roadway slope from the main station's roofed taxi drop-off point outside the booking hall, which led down to Midland Road, at the bottom of the slope there was a small, high-silled door in the end wall, and staff I worked with there told that that led to a spiral stairway to SP Tunnel box.
I also believe that I've read that the box was on the Up side of its lines, while the bottom of the spiral stairway was in a recess opposite the box on the Down Side.

All true ?
BZOH

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Mickey
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Re: KX signal box?

Post by Mickey »

StevieG wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:14 am Re St. Pancras Tunnel box, can you confirm ? -
- From observation in 1971, at the bottom of the cobbled, north-facing roadway slope from the main station's roofed taxi drop-off point outside the booking hall, which led down to Midland Road, at the bottom of the slope there was a small, high-silled door in the end wall, and staff I worked with there told that that led to a spiral stairway to SP Tunnel box.
I also believe that I've read that the box was on the Up side of its lines, while the bottom of the spiral stairway was in a recess opposite the box on the Down Side.
With regards to accessing the box I believe that I read it was through a manhole that lead via a spiral staircase down to the box underneath St Pancras station and I believe I read that the manhole was somewhere inside St Pancras station although that could be wrong anyway the idea of having to mess around lifting or removing a cast iron manhole cover every time a signalman wanted to be able to gain access to the box and then having to mess around again replacing the cast iron manhole cover once you've gone down through it to close it again seems a bit of a performance?.

I always thought or assumed the tunnel box was beside the Down line(?) for some reason anyway it sounded like a miserable place to work in the constant darkness down below St Pancras station with only artificial light for Illumination. The 'stable door' concept was a good idea in keeping the vermin out by keeping the bottom half of the stable door closed but once a signalman opened the top half of the stable door it would have polluted the air inside the box with lingering loco smoke no doubt?.
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StevieG
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Re: KX signal box?

Post by StevieG »

StevieG wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:14 am
thesignalman wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 12:47 pm "I have added a plan of Kings Cross "C" at 1939 on my web site at:
https://signalbox.org/~SBdiagram.php?id=%201314

This shows the old box at its peak - points 9, 10 and 15 were added at this date to proivide a connection to the Circle Lines - those knowledgable about LT workings will know more than me about the purpose of this. It could have been intended for WW2 diversions but 1939 sounds a bit early for such anticipation. .... "
"Thank you from me also for that, and the other tunnel boxes' info John.

I previously had no knowledge of there having been that pointwork at this location, noting that if the later-seen single track junction across the lines at Farringdon was also in place at that time, then the same inter-lines crossing facilities were available at both places : Some thought of trying to enhance flexibility in the case of partial damage to to the tunnels and/or retaining walls located between the two, one could wonder. .... "

Silly me !
Re-reading this piece of my last post herein, I realise that my analysis of the track layout was completely wrong, as I was overlooking the presence of 'the Ray Street Gridiron' intermediately between them : So the routes provided by the two junctions (if co-existent) would not have been the same, they would have actually complimented each other by providing opposite routings : -

- Up ("Eastbound" ?) City Widened Line (CWL) ['Met.' at King's Cross terminus box] to 'main' Eastbound Met./ Circle, and Westbound Met. to Westbound (Down) CWL, at KX 'C' box ;

- Eastbound Met. to Eastbound CWL, and Westbound CWL to Westbound Met., at Farringdon.
Last edited by StevieG on Fri Jul 02, 2021 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
BZOH

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Mickey
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Re: KX signal box?

Post by Mickey »

I use to like quirky little s/boxes in unusual places like that Kings Cross 'C' box on the abandon westbound Widen lines platform at Kings Cross Met especially after the Snow Hill route had closed and the only trains being signalled were either passenger, ECS and the odd light engine.
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Re: KX signal box/entry

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi Stevie G/Mickey &others,in a past post I mentioned "that"rat infested signal box under St.Pancras,I in past years would deliver "The Sunday Times" Mag.to all the main line stations in London Metro,& the loading dock that was cobbled off Midland Rd was up &out, it had an entrance to the main foyer in front of the platforms, whilst hanging about to unload, it took time with other lorries there &parked in the street,I asked a porter?how you got to the signalbox thats relevant, bearing in mind I had no wish/desire to visit it,he pointed to a door in the foyer backing on to the loading dock & said "theres a spiral staircase down to it"this was denied in a past post by others,hey I'm not expert,but near to the taxi ramp there were stairs down to the "cellars"beneath the station.
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thesignalman
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Re: KX signal box?

Post by thesignalman »

I have heard so many differing stories as to how you accessed the spiral staircase that I keep an open mind. How I wish I had probed deeper with my colleague when we worked together. He was elderly then, and that would have been late 1970s and early 1980s so there is no chance of asking him now unless he has discovered the secret of eternal life.

John
"BX there, boy!"
Signalling history: https://www.signalbox.org/
Signalling and other railway photographs: https://433shop.co.uk/
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Re: KX signal box?door

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi all seem to remember this single door was a "washed" out blue colour with arch&brass handle,& I had seen a small article in a '60's Railway Mag.refering to the the postion underground hence my intrest & what misery occured for the signlman when two steam trains passed for this lonely soul & then the silence till the rats started their scuttling around again & he recommenced reading his books, wonder what Health &Safety would have made of that employees's lot.
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