Great Southern & Western Railway

by Simon Lowe

Roscrea signal cabin
Photograph by Simon Lowe, 6/5/00

Roscrea signal cabin was constructed to a style which is an adaptation of a design by the Railway Signal Company. The timber post seen here outside the cabin carries the loop up starting signal, number 18.

Layout diagram in Roscrea signal cabin
Photograph by Simon Lowe, 6/5/00
(Click on the diagram to view a larger scale image)

The signal cabin diagram is drawn in the modern style and shows that Roscrea possesses not a single track circuit. It will be seen that the main up starting signal, number 22, is unusually positioned just in advance of facing points. The diagram reveals that this signal cabin is actually identified as Roscrea 'A', and that a second cabin, Roscrea 'B', exists at the Ballybrophy end of the station. 'B' cabin, which is no longer in use, was not itself a block post, only a subsidiary frame released from 'A' cabin.

Lever frame at Roscrea
Photograph by Simon Lowe, 6/5/00

A 24-lever RSCo tappet frame is inside 'A' cabin. As shown on the diagram, levers 7, 8 and 17 are spare, although it would appear that on the day they were taken out of use, white paint was in short supply. Levers 8 and 13 represent one of various colouring methods used by Irish Rail for levers working points with economical FPLs (black with a broad blue band towards the bottom of the lever). In fact Roscrea no longer has any economical FPLs. The badge on lever 13 still reads "Crossover and FP Lock" despite the fact that number 13 points are now only single ended, and the FPL is worked by a separate lever, number 12.

View showing staff release mechanism
Photograph by Simon Lowe, 6/5/00

The large staff still in its lock at the end of the frame was formerly used to release 'B' cabin.

Electric Train Staff instrument at Roscrea
Photograph by Simon Lowe, 6/5/00

Once this staff had been withdrawn from its lock it was inserted into the large Webb-Thomson staff instrument seen here. The instrument's column has been endorsed with blue and black stripes to indicate that it acts as a release, rather than being involved in the working of the single line. Roscrea 'B' cabin used to have a similar instrument inside it. The large ETS instruments at Roscrea are believed to have been the last working examples in Western Europe, excluding those on preserved lines.

Derelict ground frame at Roskrea
Photograph by Simon Lowe, 6/5/00
Semaphore repeater signal at Roscrea
Photograph by Simon Lowe, 6/5/00

This (above left) is all that now remains of Roscrea 'B' signal cabin. The erstwhile hut has gone, leaving this 7-lever frame of unusual design open to the elements. All the outside functions formerly worked from here have now been removed.

At the opposite end of the station, sighting of the up home signal is restricted by the overbridge seen in the background. To overcome this, the repeater signal pictured here (above right) was provided on the approach side. As was standard Irish practice, a repeater signal is the same form as the signal it repeats, but with an additional plate worded 'Repeater'. The fixed distant signals at Roscrea are both in the form of a square board bearing a picture of a red fishtailed arm. A lamp with a yellow lens is provided for use during darkness.

Comments about this article should be addressed to Simon Lowe