THE SIGNAL BOX

BRANCH LINES

ELY STATION NORTH

A TRIBUTE TO DAVE STENNING
by Danny Goodrum

Ely Station North
Photograph by David Stenning

Ely Station North controlled the northern end of Ely Station until the demise of Ely South when it was resignalled and took over the south end also. The North was staffed by signalman and a gate lad on early and late shifts, but at night the signalman had to work the gates himself.

The photograph of the box diagram (below) dates from around 1980, but the exterior view above was taken later, after the gates had been replaced by lifting barriers.

Box diagram at Ely Station North
Photograph by David Stenning

Both the North and South boxes once had their block shelves filled by Tyer's three-position pegging instruments (of Great Northern design) but these were latterly replaced by the B.R. standard bakelite ones. Each line had separate pegging and repeating instruments with their own bells and tappers.

Station North and South used slotted signals to control entry to the platforms and Down through line, and there was an Up goods line worked under no-block regulations. All platform lines were permissive and could be used for wrong direction movements - this necessitated a large number of special bell signals which were specified in the box special instructions. T

A subway exists at Ely Station North to allow the level crossing to be by-passed by cars. This is the notorious Stuntney Road bridge, once the second most "bashed" bridge on B.R. On many occasions a vehicle of 9' 7" or more would try to use the limited clearance of the underpass to avoid a lengthy wait for the gates to open. When some unfortunate vehicle got stuck underneath the bridge prior to the revised instructions, the Permanent Way, Signal & Telegraph and platform staff, together with anyone else with a bit of weight to them would be summoned and would all climb in or on the vehicle in an attempt to compress the springs and release it from the grip of the bridge. Should this happen in the night when less staff were available, the only solution was be to let the tyres down and apply much revving and clutch slipping to effect an escape!

Ely Station North No34 sugnal
Photograph by David Stenning

Station North Starter and Ely North Junction Distants. I believe to be unique in having the three way split. Shot shows signal cleared with Ely North Junc all off for the Down March line.



Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson