British Railways (London Midland Region)


Opened: 1953

Closed: ——

Location code: LM26/20

Penmaenmawr signal boxA new signalbox at Penmaenmawr was erected in unusual and unfortunate circumstances.

A serious accident occurred here in 1950 where the Irish Mail collided with a locomotive standing on the Up Main which the signalman had thought was in the sidings. The conclusion of the Public enquiry was that the signal box, which had been in operation since the 1880's, was not suitably positioned as it was at the far end of the station and the signalman's view was obstructed by the station footbridge.

Freight train approaching Penmaenmawr signal boxAccordingly, a new box was built immediately opposite the yard connections at the east end of the station. This was to the London Midland Region's standard all-brick design introduced in 1948. It should be noted that the window arrangement seen in the view above has been modified at a later date - this picture shows the original condition.

Inside Penmaenmawr signal boxLooking inside the box, we find a 25-lever frame of the London Midland Region's standard design controlling the layout. These frames were a development of the REC type of the LMS illustrated at Kettering Junction, introduced in 1949. As was common practice on post-war lever frames, the lever handles were encased in a white plastic sleeve for cleanliness.

The illuminated diagram is also a standard LMR product, produced in a plastic substance which allowed alterations to the original to be easily made. Apart from the layout and signals being shown, a gradient profile can be seen - this is provided to assist the signalman in making judgements in the case of a runaway train or wagons.

The block instruments are not an LMR product, however. The BR plastic-cased modular instrument had not been introduced when this box was erected, so standard LNWR instruments (as also used by the LMS) have been provided.

Elevated yellow disc as PenmaenmawrGuarding the exit to the Marshalling Yard is an interesting shunting signal. This is a standard LMS shunting disc which has been elevated from its normal height to improve the view to drivers. A standard height disc can be seen just to the left of the box in the topmost view above.

The disc face is enamelled steel for long life - notice the stripe representing a signal arm is yellow instead of the usual red. This indicated to drivers that they may pass the signal at danger when the points ahead are in the "normal" position but must obey the signal for movements over the points in the "reversed position". Generally, this feature was applied to allow movements to take place along sidings or a shunting neck without involving the signalman.

This signal may no longer survive, but Penmaenmawr signal box is certainly still in use.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated