London, Tilbury & Southend Railway


Opened: 1892

Closed: 1977

Location code: LM112/24

Ockendon signal boxAll signal boxes built after 1889 on the London, Tilbury & Southend Railway were erected by the Railway Signal Company to their standard design, although (as at Hoylake) without the additional row of small windows below the main set and, with this example, also without the decorative bargeboard feature.

The LTS was taken over by the Midland in 1912, and subsequent boxes were built to their design. Midland ownership caused the LMS to have a curious outpost in LNE territory, this odd arrangement not being put right until the formation of British Railways in 1948, after which it was transferred to the Eastern Region.

Ockendon box was located on the platform at a passing loop on the single line between Upminster and Grays, and was the only place on the LTS network that had any feeling of being a branch line. At the time of this photograph the old nameboard from the front of the box, with cast iron letters, and the Eastern Region painted boards from the ends, had recently been replaced and were being used as firewood. Fortunately, permission was granted for the removal to safe keeping of what remained

Inside Ockendon box The loop was controlled by a 19-lever frame basically of Railway Signal Company design (similar to Caergwrle), although all of those found in LTS boxes had an unusual backward kink in the catch-handle.

Commanding attention in this view is the Webb-Thompson Train Staff instrument controlling the single line. In the vertical slot up from floor level can be seen (end-on) a large number of train staffs, one of which could be withdrawn at the top of the instrument upon a release being given by the signalman at the other end of the section.

Electric Train Staff instument at OckendonThe large red contraption to the left is a switching-out instrument, allowing the box to be closed during quiet periods, and allowing the railway to be worked as one single line section between Upminster East Junction and West Thurrock Junction. In order to close, the Ockendon signalman has to withdraw a staff for the section on either side and place them in this device. This will release the interlocked slides which will allow the signals to be cleared in both directions, and also permits the single-line instruments in the adjacent boxes for the through section to become operational.

The other Electric Train Staff instrument in the box differed slightly in that it was of a later design with a greater capacity for staffs as they could be stacked in two columns.

A staff delivery hoop, paraffin handlamp and signal lamps awaiting trimming complete the scene.

The box suffered fire damage during 1977 and was abolished on Christmas Eve that year.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated