THE SIGNAL BOX

OVERSEAS

SIGNALLING IN FRANCE

Index to pages

  1. Chemin de Fer Alsace-Lorraine
    1. Reding Postes 1 & 2
  2. Chemin de Fer de l'Etat
    1. Maitre Ecole
  3. Chemin de Fer du Midi
    1. St Flour
  4. Chemin de Fer Paris, Lyon, Méditerranée
    1. Arvant
  5. Chemin de Fer du Nord
    1. Hestingeul Poste 1
  6. Chemin de Fer Paris-Orleans
    1. Volvic Poste "A"

Signalling in France is completely different principle to that in the UK, although many of the lever frames are familiar as John Saxby moved to Paris from the UK and established a company in Creil outside Paris in 1878. Some lever frames were imported from the UK, too.

The majority of double lines appear to have been provided with the Lartigue block system. Two semaphore signals would usually be mounted on a single post, indicating the state of the section ahead and worked directly by the instruments. These signals would normally be located near the signal box or station office housing the instruments. A Palette signal would be provided as the equivalent of the British distant signal.

The block system on lesser lines was maintained by Block Telephonique - a strictly disciplined system of telephone messages.

Other than the block signal described above, almost all signals comprised boards of different shapes, which revolved through 90° when cleared. These applied to the actual track layout and not the block working and although intermixed with the block signals would appear to have been worked completely independently. Signals protecting a station and controlling departure from the station may well be showing "stop" whilst the block signals on the platform could well be showing "clear".

When in the "on" position, French signals are described as Fermé (closed) and when "off" Ouvert (open).

Additional notes by Per Olofsson