by Danny Goodrum

Ely Dock Junction signal box
Photograph by David Stenning

Dock Jct was the southernmost box at Ely and controlled the Junction with the Bury line, the Down Goods loop and the entrance to Ely yard. Ely Dock Junction worked to Ely South, Soham and Waterbeach. It became the fringe box to Cambridge panel when Waterbeach closed in 1982. Before the closure of Ely South, the Dock Junction Down direction Starting signals were neither locked by Line Clear on the block nor slotted by the South box, and this was the only box I worked with "free" levers.

Signal box diagram at Ely Dock Junction
Photograph by David Stenning

The Bury branch to Soham (top right on the above diagram) was worked by Key Token but was later converted to Track Circuit Block with direction levers. This was welcomed by the signalmen as it saved having to go out with the token on cold wet winter nights! Ely Dock Jct had a really splendid array of semaphore signals and was regularly visited by parties of trainee signalmen from the Ilford signal school as it was one of the last mechanical boxes in East Anglia of much size or complexity that was easily accessed from a station.

Later diagram at Ely Dock Junction
Photograph by David Stenning

Above is the new (and rather larger) diagram provided when the box became a fringe to Cambridge PSB.

Interior of Ely Dock Junction
Photograph by David Stenning

The frame at the Dock was a Westinghouse type alleged to have been displayed by the L.N.E.R at the Great Exhibition alongside showpiece 4472 Flying Scotsman before being installed at Ely. I personally liked the frame it had quite long levers, as being a little short and stout it gave me a good swing on the quite heavy points and signals.

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson