Glasgow & South Western Railway


Opened: 1908

Closed: 1985

Location code: Sc48/33

Elderslie No1 signal boxElderslie is a key junction to the west of Glasgow. Here, the Glasgow & South Western Railway's main line to Stranraer and, at one time, Carlisle (trains now reach Carlisle by a different route) is joined by the Canal line (from Glasgow via Paisley Canal). The Greenock branch also diverges here.

Between the two junctions was Elderslie station, and the layout was controlled by two signalboxes. This one, Elderslie No1, was called Canal Junction when it first opened in December 1908.

The box shows the later architecture of GSW boxes, introduced in 1901. As opposed to the type illustrated at Pinwherry, these reverted to a small timbered area between the windows and the eaves. This example features undivided plate glass window sections but some, such as Barrhill, had divided panes. This design continued to be used for new boxes right through to the formation of the London Midland & Scottish Railway in 1923.

Interior of Elderslie No1 signal boxThe GSW was early in adopting rear-located lever frames, allowing the signalmen an uncluttered view of their area of control. Here we see the 66-lever frame and its associated equipment. As can be seen, the equipment in a busy box occupies most of the shelf space; if the layout was viewed through windows behind this, it would not have been much of a view!

The GSW assembled their frames from parts supplied by Stevens & Sons in their own workshops at Irvine. These differ slightly from the standard S&S product and can be identified by the non-standard provision of two catch guides for each lever on the quadrant, together with (usually) the company's identification cast into the end section. A more detailed view of one of this type of frame can be seen at Challoch Junction.

Above the frame the instrument shelf contains as mixture of BR standard and early Tyer & Co. block instruments. The black and white modular instruments are for the Canal line to Ferguslie box, including a goods loop, whilst the older varnished wood instruments control the four-track section to Elderslie No.2. Also visible, at the left end, is a modern train describer for the automatic signalling to Paisley power box. Above these is a diagram of the layout, on which the track circuits are indicated geographically by lights. This is called an "illuminated" diagram.

Nearer the camera, the shelf is cluttered with LMS signal lamp indicators (the black boxes) and signal and slot repeaters (the round black-cased dials). These all assist the signalman in monitoring the indications of signals that are not within his range of view.

Glasgow & South Western block instruments at Elderslie No1The main and loop lines to Elderslie No.2 were signalled by antique GSW block instruments, manufactured by Tyer and Co. These were essentially two position block instruments, similar to those illustrated at Reedham Junction and Dorking, but had enhancements to enable them to show three indications equivalent to the more modern instruments.

The signalling in the Elderslie area was modernised in 1985 and this busy junction is now controlled from Paisley power box.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated