Bombay, Baroda & Central India Railway

by John Hinson

Interior of Andheri "B" cabin
Photograph by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour 9/46,

A view taken inside Andheri "B" cabin shows the lever frame of 65 levers, spaced at 4" intervals, manufactured by the Railway Signal Company in the UK.

The instrument shelf is provided with an number of electrical repeaters for signals and points, and a pair of unusual Sykes Lock & Block instruments working to Goregaon on the Through and Local lines, one of which is illustrated in closer detail below.

Above is an illuminated diagram in a style very similar to those used by the London, Midland & Scottish Railway in Britain, with the track layout painted in white on a black background. At the time of these photographs there was automatic signalling south of this box, through past the "A" cabin to Churchgate in the direction of Bombay. Although most of the signals are colour-light, the handles have not been shortened as might be expected.

Combined, these give the entire view a remarkably British character, and only the unglazed, gauze covered toplight windows and open eaves give a clue to the warmer climate of this box's location.

Sykes Lock & Block instrument at Andheri "B"
Photograph by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour 23/7/53

This close-up view of one of the Sykes Lock & Block instruments, which were installed in 1910, is unfortunately affected by the bright back-lighting, but hopefully the detail is still clear.

These Sykes instruments differ from those in the UK by being housed in cast-iron cases rather than the more usual varnished wood. The use of metal cases for instruments is not uncommon in India, and this probably relates to the climate which might have an effect on the delicate instruments. Not only is the instrument itself so encased, but the rodding that runs down to interlock with the levers is also enclosed - looking rather like a grandfather clock!

The examples here are "combined" instruments, showing indications from both Up and Down trains. This example reads:


The bell, on the other hand, appears to be timber-cased and differs from the bells so commonly found around the Southern Railway in the UK only by the provision of a tapper.

About the photographs

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson