THE SIGNAL BOX

PHOTO GALLERY

British Railways (Southern Region)

SHALFORD

Opened: 1954

Closed: 1999

Location code: S47/15

Shalford signal box
Photograph by John Hinson, 1976

Shalford station is on the outskirts of Guildford, on the line towards Reigate and Redhill. This box was erected in 1954 when a new freight marshalling and staging yard was built on the Up side in connection with great plans for the future of railway freight traffic that never materialised.

The architecture of the box is interesting. Whist in the same general style as Belvedere, it doesn't appear so austere. This is really just an illusion caused by the provision of the landing and staircase area, breaking the plainness of the design. The landing area is intriguing, for it has been glazed to reduce draughts, but not roofed! As can be seen, the glazing was hinged, too.


Interior of Shalford box
Photograph by John Hinson, 1976

The interior of the box reveals the Westinghouse A3 type of frame, a technical development of the A" (seen at Dorking) although visually similar. The layout had been rationalised by the time of these 1976, photographs, and many spare (white) levers are evident.

The signalman (thought to be Dave Hooker) is operating the Down Starting signal (lever 3) which, like the home (lever 2, already pulled) is colour-light, and has a short handle to signify that the lever will operate without effort. The colour-light signals had been installed when Shalford became a fringe box to Guildford power box in 1966. In the foreground, the Up signals (also colour-light) have also been cleared.

On the instrument shelf in front of the signalman, the green-coloured box is the Train describer equipment for the identification of trains between here and Guildford power box. The Absolute Block system applied between here and Chilworth, although the instrument is not in view.

Shalford box closed in January 1999. High on the wall inside was written:

No crash of the levers,no clang of the bell.
Gone are the good times we all know so well.
To Tommy,John,an Peter,this I must say.
So long my ol mates of Dorking P.way.
Not forgetting old Monty who blocked for T3s.
Now up in heaven,may he so rest in peace.
To Tom & Alice who Ill never forget.
The nicest two people I ever have met.
Our work here has ended,our work now must cease.
Just hark at the silence, just rest in peace.

About the photographs

Additional notes by Alan Weekes and Alan Bookham (signalman at Shalford 1988-1999)

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson



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