Book Shelf

A Signalman’s Bookshelf

No self-respecting signalman working at a quiet signal box would be without a selection of books to read. Unlike many jobs in the world, there is little to do after receiving Train Out of Section for a train and the bell ringing for the next one. Many signalmen would busy themselves with polishing the levers and instruments, the floor too and cleaning the windows, and some took up little occupations like watch repairs. But most often, they would sit in a comfy chair and read.

This section of the web site details all known books about railway signalling. Some older ones are now quite rare, but more recent ones can be sourced from the usual on-line book and auction sources. You might even find what you want at my own sales site at 433shop – there is usually a small range of books there.

List of signalling books 1874 to date

  • Rapier on Railway Signals, by Richard Christopher Rapier. Wm Clowes & Son, 1874.
  • The Application of Electricity to Railway Working, by W E Langdon. 1877.
    Reprinted by Kay, c1995, as “Railway Signalling Instruments”.
  • Safe Railway Working, by C E Stretton. 1893 (and other editions?)
  • The Application of Electricity to Railway Working (enlarged and updated version), by W E Langdon. E & F N Spon 1897.
  • Railway Block Signalling, by J Pigg Biggs, 1898.
  • Mechanical Railway Signalling, by H Raynar Wilson 1904
    Reprinted by Kay, 1997-8 in two parts.
  • Power Railway Signalling, by H Raynar Wilson 1908
    Reprinted by Kay, 1996 in five parts.
  • The Safety of British Railways, by H Rayner Wilson IRSE, 1909
  • The First Principles of Railway Signalling, by C B Byles Railway Gazette, 1910
  • Railway Signal Engineering (Mechanical), by L P Lewis Constable, 1912
  • The Railway Signal and Permanent Way Engineer’s Handbook Locomotive Publishing Co., c1920
  • Modern Developments in Railway Signalling, by A E Tattersall Railway Engineer, 1921
  • Notes on Railway Signalling, by J Parsons & B W Cooke Railway Publishing Co, 1923
  • Railway Signalling: Mechanical, by F Raynar Wilson Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1923
  • Signals and Signalling, by H Greenly Percival Marshall 1925
  • Modern Railway Signalling, by M G Tweedie & T S Lascelles Blackie & Son, 1925 (updated 1929)
  • Railway Signalling: Automatic, by F Raynar Wilson Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1928
  • Railway Signal Engineering. Lewis, 1932.
    Reprinted by Kay, c1992.
  • Modern Railway Signalling on British Railways, by J Aitkin S B Aitkin c1935
  • Railway Block Telegraph Regulations, by J Aitkin SBA, 1945
  • Railways, Ships and Aeroplanes Illustrated. Odhams Press, 1946. (Includes a thirteen page chapter “In the signalbox”.)
  • Railway Signalling and Communications – Installation and Maintenance St Margaret’s Technical Press, c1948
  • Railway Signalling (Railway Signals: How they Work and What they Mean), by M Taylor Sampson Low, 1949
  • Footplate and Signal Cabin, by N Marlow Allen & Unwin 1956
  • Railway Signalling Systems, by John R Day & B K Cooper Frederick Muller 1958
  • Economics of Railway Signalling and Track Capacity (as applied to Single Line Railways), by H F Dennison Ministry of Transport, 1962
  • Axle Counting (and Magnetic Device for Last Vehicle Proving), by H J N Riddle Ministry of Transport, 1962
  • Remote Control in Railway Signalling, by J P Coley Ministry of Transport, 1962
  • Fifty Years of Railway Signalling, by O S Nock IRSE 1962, reprinted by Kay 1999
  • British Railway Signalling, by G M Kichenside & A Williams. Ian Allen, 1963, new editions 1968, 1975 and 1978
  • Circuits for Colour Light Signalling, by J S Hawkes. 1969.
  • British Railway Signalling: A Survey of Fifty Years’ Progress, by O S Nock. Allen & Unwin, London, 1969
  • Signalling of the SMJ, by M Christensen Christensen, c1970
  • Great Western Signalling – a personal reminiscence, by C A King. King 1971
  • A Pictorial Record of LMS Signals, by L G Warburton & V R Anderson. Oxford Publishing Company, 1972.
  • A Pictorial Record of Great Western Signalling, by A Vaughan. Oxford Publishing Company, 1973.
  • Signalling the Layout: British Railways Practice, by R Pope. IRSE, 1975
  • Signalman, by M Burke Bradford Barton, c1975
  • An Album of Pre-Grouping Signal Boxes, by M A King. Turntable 1976
  • Mechanical Signalling Equipment, by D L Champion. IRSE, 1976.
  • Track and Lineside Signalling Circuits in Alternating Current Electric Areas, by J E Candler. IRSE, 1976.
  • A Pictorial Record of Southern Signals, by G A Pryer. Oxford Publishing Company, 1977.
  • Transport Topics – BR (WR) Signalling, by A Vaughan Oxford Publishing Company, 1979
  • Signalling – from mechanics to modules (reprint from article in Western (Region) Management News). Avon Anglia Specialist Monographs & Reprints, c1977
  • Track Layout Diagrams of the GWR and BR WR, by R A Cooke. Various new editions and publishers 1970s to date: 
    • 09 – Salisbury to Exeter
    • 10 – West Cornwall
    • 11 – East Cornwall
    • 12 – Plymouth
    • 13 – North Cornwall
    • 14 – South Devon
    • 15 – North Devon
    • 16 – West Somerset
    • 17 – Weymouth Line
    • 18 – Somerset & Dorset Railway
    • 19 – Bristol
    • 20 – South Gloucestershire
    • 21 – Wiltshire
    • 22 – Midland and South Western Junction Railway
    • 23 – Berkshire
    • 24 – Lower Thames Valley
    • 25 – London
    • 26 – Banbury Direct Line
    • 27 – Oxford
    • 28 – Worcester to Oxford main line and branches
    • 29 – Stratford-on-Avon & Midland Junction Railway
    • 30 – Banbury to Birmingham
    • 31 – West Midlands
    • 32 – East Shropshire
    • 33 – Worcestershire
    • 34 – Birmingham to Cheltenham (Midland)
    • 35 – Gloucester and Cheltenham
    • 36 – Ross, Monmouth and Chepstow
    • 37 – Forest of Dean
    • 38 – Newport
    • 39 – Pontypool Road and Eastern Valleys
    • 40 – Western Valleys
    • 41 – LNWR Dowlais and Sirhowey Lines
    • 42 – Rhymney Valley
    • 43A – Cardiff Main Line & Penarth Dock
    • 43B – Cardiff Docks
    • 44A – Cardiff (exc) to Bridgend: South Wales Main Line and Aberthaw Branch
    • 44B – Cardiff (exc) to Bridgend: Penarth & Cogan (exc) via Barry & Vale of Glamorgan inc. Barry Docks & Pier, and Cadoxton to Tonteg
    • 45 – Caerphilly
    • 46A – Rhondda Valleys
    • 46B – Pontypridd to Cardiff
    • 47A – Vale of Neath: Neath (N&B Jcn) to Aberdare (inc), Gelli Tarw Jcn to Merthyr Tunnel, Dare, dare Valley and Bwllfa Dare branches
    • 47B – Vale of Neath: Aberdare (exc) to Pontypool Road (exc) and T.V. Rly Aberdare L.L. to Abercynon (exc)
    • 48A – Merthyr Area
    • 48B – Dowlais Area
    • 49A – Tondu Branches
    • 49B– Llantrisant Branches
    • 50A – Neath to Port Talbot
    • 50B – Margam to Bridgend (exc)
    • 51 – Port Talbot & Cymmer Branch
    • 52 – Neath & Brecon Railway
    • 53 – Swansea Vale (Mid)
    • 54 – Swansea to Llandilo
    • 55 – Swansea (GWR)
    • 56 – Swansea Docks to Neath
    • 57 – Llanelly Area
    • 58 – West Wales
    • 59 – Central and Mid Wales
    • 60 – Aberystwyth to Welshpool
    • 61 – Oswestry
    • 62 – Pwllheli to Ruabon
    • 63 – Hereford Area
    • 64A – Shrewsbury to Wrexham (exc)
    • 64B – Wrexham to Chester (esc)
    • 65 – Birkenhead Joint Lines
  • Signalling Days, by H Gasson Oxford Publishing Company, 1981
  • Signalman’s Morning, by A Vaughan John Murray 1981
  • Railway Signalling, by O S Nock. A & C Black, 1980, 1982 and 1985.
  • British Railways Engineering 1948-80, by J Johnson & R Long. Mechanical Engineering Publications Ltd, c1980
  • Ganger, Guard and Signalman, by R Fawcett. Bradford Barton, 1981
  • A Pictorial Record of LNWR Signalling, by R D Foster. Oxford Publishing Company, 1982
  • Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Traffic Control Maps Vol 2 Lancashire 1922, by T T Sutcliffe. T T Sutcliffe 1982.
  • Signalman’s Twilight, by A Vaughan. John Murray 1983
  • A Pictorial Record of LNER Constituent Signalling, by A A MacLean. Oxford Publishing Company, 1983
  • Exeter West Box, by A Vaughan Exeter West Group, 1984
  • Signalman’s Morning/Signalman’s Twilight, by A Vaughan Pan, 1984
    Combined reprint of two previously published titles as above.
  • Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Traffic Control Maps Vol 3 Yorkshire 1895, by T T Sutcliffe. T T Sutcliffe 1984.
  • Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Traffic Control Maps Vol 4 Yorkshire 1922, by T T Sutcliffe. T T Sutcliffe 1984.
  • A Signalman’s Life, by Tom Rogers. Midland Railway Trust c1984
  • Signalman’s Nightmare, by A Vaughan John Murray, 1997.
  • An Historical Survey of the Midland in Gloucestershire, by P Smith. Oxford Publishing Company, 1985.
  • Yesterday’s Railwayman, by D A Newbould Oxford Publishing Company, 1985
  • A Comprehensive List of British Mechanical Signalling Frames, Vols I and II, by D W EdwardsEdwards, c1985
  • An Historic Survey of Selected LMS Stations vol 2, by R Preston Hendry and R Powell Hendry. Oxford Publishing Company, 1986.
  • The Signal Box: A Pictorial History and Guide to Designs, by The Signalling Study Group. Oxford Publishing Company, 1986.
  • Computations in Railway Installations, Track and Signalling, by T K S Murphy. Computational Mechanics, 1987
  • Past Aspects, edited by C A King Exeter West Group, 1987
  • The Southampton Signal Boxes – The Final Years, by S D Johnson In Transit Monographs, 1987
  • The West of England Resignalling, by Adrian Vaughan. Ian Allan, 1987.
  • A Guide to Mechanical Locking Frames, by The Signalling Study Group Kay, 1989
  • The Midland Railway, A Chronology, by J Gough. RCHS 1989
  • The Style ‘L’ Power Frame, by J D Francis Francis, 1989
  • The Register of Scottish Signal Boxes, by F Alexander & E S Nicoll. Alexander & Nicoll, 1990
  • Railway Detectives, by S Hall Ian Allan, 1990
  • Signal Box Diagrams of the Great Western & Southern Railways, by G A Pryer Pryer, c1990 to date
    1. GWR Lines in Dorset
    2. SR Lines in East Dorset
    3. Somerset & Dorset Joint Lines
    4. GWR Westbury, Frome & Salisbury
    5. SR Exeter (Central) to Templecombe excl branches
    6. GWR lines Exeter & Torbay
    7. Templecombe, Salisbury, Andover and branches
    8. GWR lines Taunton to Exeter and branches
    9. Bournemouth to Southampton and branches
    10. Bristol to Taunton and branches
    11. SR lines in North Devon
    12. GWR lines in South Devon
    13. SR lines: Plymouth and North Cornwall
    14. GWR lines: Plymouth and East Cornwall
    15. SR lines: Southampton – Eastleigh – Winchester and branches
    16. GWR lines: West Cornwall
    17. SR lines: North east Hampshire
    18. GWR Lines: Swindon to bath and branches
    19. S.R. Lines in the Portsmouth Area
    20. GWR Berks and Hants Lines (including the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway)
    21. SR Lines Woking, Guildford, and the “Portsmouth Direct”
    22. Midland and South Western Junction Railway
    23. GWR Lines in the Bristol Area
    24. SR Lines in West Sussex
    25. GWR: Swindon Area
  • British Railways Layout Plans of the 1950s, by J Swift Signalling Record Society, c1990 to date
    1. ex-LNWR Main Line, Euston to Crewe
    2. ex-MR Main Line, Trent to St Pancras
    3. ex-GCR London Extension, Nottingham to Marylebone
    4. ex-North Staffordshire Lines
    5. ex-Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway lines in West Lancashire
    6. West Coast Main Line (Euxton Junction top Mossband) and branches
    7. L&NWR Branch Lines, London and East Midlands area
    8. Manchester and Chesterfield to Derby and Trent
    9. LNW lines Crewe to Euxton Junction, Liverpool to Manchester
    10. LNW lines in North Wales, Chester and Wirral areas
    11. LNW lines in the West Midlands (excluding Trent Valley Line)
    12. ex-MR Main Line Carlisle to Leeds, associated branches and joint lines
    13. Cheshire Lines Committee and associated Great Central lines
    14. Ex-MR lines Whitwell to Glendon Sidings via Nottingham, and branches
    15. Ex-LNWR lines Crewe(excl) to Manchester & Leeds, and branches
    16. Ex-MR lines Crewe(excl) to Barnt Green, Leicester to Burton, and branches
  • Railway Control Systems: Sequel to Railway Signalling, by M Leach. A & C Black, 1991.
  • Signalman’s Reflections, by A Vaughan. Silver Link Publishing, 1991.
  • A Pictorial Survey of Railway Signalling, by D Allen & C J Woolstenholmes. Oxford Publishing Company, 1991
  • The Signal Box Directory, by The Signalling Study Group. Kay, 1992.
  • BR Signalling Handbook, by S Hall. Ian Allan, 1992.
  • Railway Lines and Levers, by Ron Bradshaw. Unicorn, 1993.
  • Railway Signalling. 1993.
  • Railway Terminology, by B K Cooper. Ian Allan, 1994. (Includes a chapter on signalling, biased toward current practice.)
  • Signalboxes and Semaphores of the Leicester Gap, by Mike Spencer. Sutton, 1994
  • European Railway Signalling, by the Institute of Railway Signal Engineers. A&C Black, 1995.
  • The Signalling of the Isle of Wight Railways, by J Wagstaff Signalling Record Society, 1993
  • London, Brighton & South Coast Railway: Signal Boxes in 1920-1922, by J M WagstaffeSignalling Record Society, 1994-9
    1. London to Brighton
    2. East of the London & Brighton Line
    3. Mid Sussex & West Coast Lines and Branches
    4. Dorking and Suburban Lines
  • Combined Index of “The Signalling Record”, by Andrew Proctor. Proctor, 1995.
  • Signalling in the Age of Steam (also known as ABC Signalling?), by M Vanns. Ian Allan, 1995.
  • A Pictorial Survey of London-Midland Signalling, by D Allen & C J Woolstenholmes. Oxford Publishing Company, 1996
  • ABC Modern Signalling Handbook, by S Hall. Ian Allan, 1996 and 2001
  • Signalling: Railway Safety Principles and Guidance Part 2: Section D, by the Health & Safety Executive. HSE, 1996.
  • Railway Safety Principles and Guidance Part 2 Section D – Signalling. HSE,1996
  • ABC Signalboxes, by M A Vanns. Ian Allan, 1997.
  • An Illustrated History of Signalling, by M A Vanns. Ian Allan, 1997.
  • Signalling Atlas and Signal Box Directory, by The Signalling Study Group. Kay, 1997.
  • Signals and Signalboxes of Great Britain, by David Hucknall. Sutton Publishing, 1998
  • Two Centuries of Railway Signalling, by G Kichenside & A Williams. Oxford Publishing, 1998.
  • SSI Overview Guide, by D Newing & M Castles. MHA, 1998.
  • Proceed at Caution, by P Kirton. Challenger Publications, 1998
  • Constructing and Operating Semaphore Signals, by Mick Nicholson. Challenger, 1999
  • London Transport Railway Signalling – Papers on the Life and Work of Robert Dell 1900-1992, by J Talbot and others. Nebulous, 1999.
  • Signalboxes, People and Trains on The Berks and Hants Line, by D E Canning. Ravenswing Publishing, 2000
  • Western Signalman, by A Vaughan. Ian Allan, 2000.
  • Illustrated History of Great Northern Railway Signalling, by M A Vanns 2000
  • Surviving Signal-boxes, by D Hucknall Sutton Publishing, 2000
  • British RailwaySignalling Practice – Mechanical, various authors, Peter Kay 2000. Reprint of IRSE booklet
  • Signal Boxes of the London & South Western Railway – A Study of Architectural Style, by G Pryer Oakwood Press, 2000
  • The History and Development of Railway Signalling in the British Isles: Volume 1 Broad Survey, by S Hall. Friends of NRM 2000
  • Mechanical Signalling in Plymouth, by L Crosier. Signalling Record Society, 2000
  • BR Signalling in Colour for the Modeller & Historian, by R Hendry. Midland Publishing, 2001
  • Traditional Signalling – A Brief Design History, by M A Vanns. Ian Allan, 2001
  • British RailwaySignalling Practice – Electrical, various authors, Peter Kay 2001 Reprint of IRSE booklet
  • British RailwaySignalling Practice – Signalling Instruments, various authors, Peter Kay 2001. Reprint of IRSE booklet.
  • Burghclere Signalman, by Kevin Robertson. KRM Publications 2002
  • Signal Boxes on Lancashire &Yorkshire Railway Lines North East Lancashire, by Chris Littleworth. Signalling Record Society 2002
  • The History and Development of Railway Signalling in the British Isles: Volume 2 The Telegraph and the Absolute Block Single Line Operation, by D Stirling. Friends of NRM 2002
  • Great Central Signalman: One Man’s Passion for Signalling, by I Mackenzie/P J Wortley. Silver Link Publishing, 2005
  • A Hundred Years of Speed with Safety – Inception and Progress of the Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company 1881-1981, by O S Nock, The Hobnob Press, 2006
  • Exeter West Box, by The Exeter West Group. Exeter West Group 2006
  • Railway Signalling and Track Plans, by Bob Essery. Ian Allan 2007
  • Western Region Signalling in Colour, by Kevin Robertson. Ian Allan 2008
  • Signal Box Register – Volume 4: Southern, by Signalling Record Society. Signalling Record Society 2009
  • British Railway Signalling Development in colour, by Robert Hendry. Ian Allan 2009
  • Footplate and Signals, by L F E Coombs. Silver Link Publishing 2009
  • Aspects of Modelling – Signalling, by Nigel Digby. Ian Allan 2010
  • A Scratchbuilder’s Guide to Semaphore Signal Construction, by Peter Squibb. Wild Swean, 2010
  • Signalling Atlas and Signal Box Directory, by Peter Kay. Signalling Record Society 2010
  • Signal Box Register – Volume 1: Great Western, by Signalling Record Society. Signalling Record Society 2011
  • Signalboxes for the Modeller, by Michael A Vanns. Ian Allan, 2011
  • Signalling and Lever Frames, by Jeff Geary. Noodle Books, 2011
  • Sussex Signalman: The Ted Cook Memoirs, by Ted Cook Buggleskelly Books 2011
  • London, Tilbury & Southend Railway Signalling, by Peter Kay. Peter Kay, 2011
  • Norwich to Ely – The End of an Era, by Michael Rhodes. Blurb, 2011
  • Signal Box Register – Volume 3: LNER (Southern Area), by Signalling Record Society. Signalling Record Society 2012
  • Signal Box Register – Volume 6: Scotland, by Signalling Record Society. Signalling Record Society 2012
  • Out of Control, by Dave Borshik. Anazon Kindle, 2012
  • The Crossing Keeper, by Ted Cook. Ted Cook 2012
  • Goings on at Amberley, by Ted Cook. Ted Cook 2012
  • Signal Boxes on Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Lines: North and West of Manchester, Part One: L&YR Western District Lines, Salford to Wigan (No1) via Atherton, Salford to Euxton via Bolton and branches, by Chris Littleworth. The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Society, 2013
  • ABC Signalboxes 2nd Edition, by Michael A Vanns. Ian Allan Publishing 2013
  • Leicester Signalman, by Ted Cook. Ted Cook 2013
  • We Didn’t Build It!!!, by Ted Cook. Ted Cook 2013
  • Signal Boxes on Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Lines: North and West of Manchester, Part Two: L&YR Central District Lines, Clifton to Bacup and Castleton to Bolton via Bury, Manchester to Radcliffe, Rochdale to Bacup and branches, by Chris Littleworth. The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Society, 2014
  • Diary of a Young Railwayman, by Ted Cook. Ted Cook 2014
  • A London Trip!, by Ted Cook. Ted Cook 2014
  • Sojourn’s of a Railway Signalman, by Anthony Cook. Sojourn Publishing 2014
  • Signal Box Register – Volume 9: Ireland & Isle of Man, by Signalling Record Society. Signalling Record Society 2015
  • Signalling the Caledonian Railway, by Jim Summers. Lightmoor Press/Caledonian Railway Association, 2015
  • Lincolnshire Signal Boxes, by Dafydd Whyles. Amberley Publishing, 2015
  • A Railway Lifetime, by Gordon Ferris. Kindle, 2015
  • Resignalling Britain, by Michael Rhodes. Mortons Media Group, 2015
  • Journey of a Railway Signalman: A History of Railway Signalling on Merseyside and in North-West England, by Tony Cooke. Cook Publishing, 2016
  • Relief Signalman – A Life on the Railway, by Mick MacSorely. Kindle 2016
  • Samuel Telford Dutton, Railway Signal Engineer of Worcester, by Edward Dorricott. Signalling Record Society, 2016.
  • Signal Boxes and Semaphore – The Decline, by Gordon D Webster. Amberly Publishing, 2016
  • Modelling Signal Boxes for Railway Layouts, by Terry Booker. The Crowood Press, 2017
  • Britain’s Last Mechanical Signalling – Salute to the Semaphore, by Gareth David. Pen and Sword Transport, 2019

There must be more to add – please let me know of any you spot that are missing –  just Telegraph the Signalman.


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