Chemin de Fer Paris, Lyon, Méditerranée

by John Hinson

General view of Arvant station and signal cabin
Photograph 3/65, from the collection of Dr. J W F Scrimgeour

A general view of the signal box controlling the junction at Arvant and the station of the same name, looking towards Clermont Ferrand. The track on the left is the Paris Orleans branch from Neussargues, whilst on the right the single line from Nimes splits to become double line through to Clermont Ferrand and beyond.

The ironwork between the ground-level cabin and the level crossing seems to be an assortment of weighted bars which must be associated with the signalling.

Arvant signal box
Photograph 3/65, from the collection of Dr. J W F Scrimgeour

A closer view of the junction box which controlled the south end of Arvant station. Owing to the gable of the roof being at right-angles to the line, a small extension at the north end of the box has resulted in a lopsided appearance.

A chequered Carreé signal protects the single line of the Paris-Orleans Railway towards Neussargues.

Photograph by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour 11/8/64

The box was provided with a 13-lever Vignoles frame to control the layout, also at right-angles to the lines outside.

At the far end of the frame is a PLM signalling instrument, described below.

PLM single line block instrument
Photograph by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour 11/8/64

The main Chemin de Fer Paris, Lyon, Méditerranée line southwards was single throughout to Nimes, and controlled by that company's design of block instrument. This instrument worked through to the next box at Brioude.

Lever 1 controls the semaphore protecting the single line and is directly interlocked with the instrument.

Notice the cast lever description plates are marked Fermé (closed) and Ouvert (open) where the terms Normal and Reversed would be used in the UK.

The Paris-Orleans line to Neussargues is worked by Block Telephonique and the lines through the station to the cabin at the north end are controlled by Jousselin Bells, described below.

Jousselin Bell Instruments
Photograph by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour 11/8/64

The lines through the station are not controlled directly between the two cabins in British fashion but are managed from the Stationmaster's office. Instructions from the station Master are conveyed to the two signalmen by these Jousselin Bell Instruments, which work in a similar fashion to early British train describers. The pointer rotates and rings a bell for each movement to give instructions to the signalmen, which are stated around the outside of the clock-like face.

About the photographs

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson