THE SIGNAL BOX

LEVER FRAMES

BRITISH RAILWAY LEVER FRAMES

London, Brighton & South Coast Railway lever frames

LB&SC 1879 pattern frameLB&SC 1879 Pattern

From around 1879, the LB&SC started manufacturing a few frames to supplement the supply from Saxby & Farmer.

Intriguingly, these were almost straight copies, in looks, of the Saxby & Farmer Rocker frames introduced in 1872, but these had straightforward tappet locking. The most significant visual difference was that the catch handles were of smaller proportions, and mounted higher up the lever.

The usual "rockers" between the levers were absent, of course, but this was not so significant a feature for identification as the LB&SC had replaced most rocker locking with tappet by 1910, anyway.

The example illustrated here was at Mitcham, details of which can be found in the Photo Gallery.

LB&SC 1898 pattern locking frameLB&SC 1898 Pattern

Along with a completely new design of box, the LB&SC adopted a completely new style of lever frame in 1898. This was very much based on the Stevens & Sons standard model in both looks and mechanism, but it was not. One significant difference was the presence of twin catch block guides on the quadrant plates. The physical dimensions were also quite different.

Several contractors participated in the building of this type (but not Stevens!) and it maybe that none of this pattern were produced by the LB&SC themselves.

This example was installed by the Southern Railway at Mitcham Junction, details of which can be found in the Photo Gallery.

LB&SC 1901 pattern frameLB&SC 1901 Pattern

A small number of frames were manufactured to this design between 1901 and 1904. Little is known as to their why and wherefore - they seem to be an interim between the 1898 and 1905 versions.

What is interesting is the stand of the levers. Other company's products quite frequently stood with levers leaning well back in the normal position, but nearly every product used by the LB&SC stood vertically, or near-vertical when normal. From the signalman's point of view, this makes operation of heavy levers much easier, as it is not necessary to lean across the quadrants so far to reach the levers.

Note the slight curve in the catch handles, which was perpetuated on the 1905 design.

It is not known if these few frames were manufactured by contractors or by the LB&SC themselves.

This example was at Bosham, details of which may be found in the Photo Gallery.

LB&SC 1905 pattern locking frameLB&SC 1905 Pattern

In 1905, the Brighton concern introduced what was to be their final frame design.

Based quite closely in principle to the 1898 model, this was (as far as is known) only built by the company themselves. It is believed that from this date, no further frames were bought in by the company.

The main difference from the 1898 type was in the quadrants themselves. There were no raised catch guides, for the catch blocks were secured by dropping into recesses. The remainder of the surface was covered in a "tread" pattern which allowed the signalman to comfortably walk on the locking frame to access his signalling instruments. As can be seen here, a busy box with many levers "reversed" presents a nuisance factor for clambering around levers to access the instruments and a clear path is provided to walk along the quadrants.

This type of frame continued in production through to the early days of the Southern Railway.

The example seen here was at Earlswood, details of which can be found in the Photo Gallery.

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