Stop and think!


Previous competitions have covered a variety of signalling subjects.

Details of the questions and the correct answers will be found below, together with the names of the winners.

Any bright ideas for future quizzes will always be appreciated!



This month's quiz asked where, in the UK, are trains still signalled between boxes by the Lock & Block system. This was a little bit of a trick question as no conventional double-line sections of Lock & Block remain, but there is one single-line section still signalled by GWR Lock & Block instruments. Geoff Marsh was the first of nine with the correct answer; the section concerned is between Malvern Wells and Ledbury.


Caption competition
Click on the image for more detail.

Another caption competition brought some interesting solutions. The photograph was taken in the early 1900s inside La Salle Street Tower in Chicago, USA

Selection was difficult, but Dave Harrison's entry was chosen as the winner:

Got it, I've hooked the teddy bear

There were so many other good entries, it seems a shame not to share them, so here are six of the best:

  • Adrian Lee: I still think that there is air getting into this Radiator somewhere, Stanley!
  • Jeff Hirons: ...then if you jiggle the locking a bit using number 43, you should be able to pull your braces back out with the slide
  • Chris Hunt: These new fangled knitting machines sure keep you busy between trains, beats cutting hair......
  • Tim Lockley: He won't accept the train, kid? No Sweat! I'll make him an offer he can't refuse!
  • Simon Robinson: That's another fine box you've got me into, Stanley
  • Steve Ryszka: We've got the sleeves, when do we get the rest of the jackets?

Interior of mystery signal boxThe October quiz showed the interior of a box, and asked the identity. A couple of clues were offered in that the box appears in the Photo Gallery and is still operational. All this was clearly much to easy, for eleven correct entries identified the location as Barrhill. Pulled out of the hat, from these eleven, was David Parker's entry - duly declared the winner!

Click on the image for more detail.


Midland Lower Quadrant signalBy way of a change from the "spot the location" of a signal box, a signal was the star of the September Quiz. The winner this month was Graham Floyd who correctly identified thesignal as being a Midland Railway Lower Quadrant at Ketton.


Bedford St JohnsThe August quiz asked the identity of a location that has changed so much over the years that it is barely recognisable. The box is still in use, although it doesn't look anything like the same as the top portion was renewed after a fire.

Jeff Hirons wins the prize, being the first person to correctly identify the location as Bedford St Johns.

The photograph comes from the collection of the late Dr. J W F Scrimgeour.

Interesting signal at Exeter City basin

The function of this interesting signal at Exter City Basin was the subject of the July competition. Amongst the many correct answers received, Michael Andrew's submission was chosen as the winning entry. He wrote "Its function was to act as a repeating signal for the signal from the leading from the docks branch, it could be described as acting in the same way as a banner repeating signal" which sums this signal (which was only 145 yards from the signal it repeated) up perfectly.

Falsgrave signalbox, Scarborough

Identifying a location from a photograph is always popular, and there were plenty of clues in the June competition to help identify this signalbox. However, there was a small catch, for although the box is located on the platform of Scarborough station, that is not its name! The correct name is Falsgrave, and Simon Robinson was the lucky winner.

Splitting distant signal at Eridge Yellow-armed shunting signal at Lingfield

Two pictures of signals were displayed this month, with a range of rather silly-sounding explanations of their indication. However daft they may have all seemed, one was correct for each signal.

These are:
Turn right at the next junction (left illustration)
Proceed past the signal if the points are set one way, but stop if they are set another way (right illustration)

No less than 78 correct entries were received, and the winner (pulled out of the hat) was Robin Mayes.


The April competition asked the identification of the location and also asked the cause of the box being in poor condition. This sad-looking boarded up box is at Seaford and is now permanently out of use following gale damage (November 2000) which has caused the box to lose its shape and made it necessary to be supported by large baulks of timber. Even in these small pictures, it can be seen that the box is not vertical compared with the signals.

The winner, chosen at random from a number of correct entries, was Peter Churchman.


This month, the Odd (Wo)Man Out had to be identified from the following list:
Algernon, Hilda, Isabella, Maud Foster, Rose Heyworth.

These were all signalbox names, and the first correct answer came from John Armistead who identified Rose Heyworth as being the only listed box not on LNER territory. Another equally correct answer subsequently received was that Rose Heyworth was the only box in Wales whilst an interesting alternative offered was that Maud Foster was the only box not serving a colliery.


Mysery objects at Willesden New Station boxThis picture shows two of mystery objects mounted on the instrument shelf at Willesden New Station box, which remained in use until the box closed in closed in 1988.

This month's winner, selected at random from twelve correct entries, was Steve McClary, who wrote:
"Generally used to release the approach locking of a signal in a mechanical signalbox, in cases where the signal lever is replaced without the passage of a train. The timer ensures the train as come to a stand at the signal before other conflicting routes are released. There are still four of these devices in use at West- Footscray signal box in Melbourne; and probably numerous other examples throughout Victoria."

Great Northern somersault signals at Spalding Great Western centre-pivot signals at Droitwich Great Eastern signal at Mistley Great Central signal at Neasden

The first quiz for 2001 was proved a little easier than the December challenge. Four signals originating with four railway companies were illustrated, which had to be identified.

No less than 21 correct entries were received, identifying these as being Great Northern, Great Western, Great Eastern and Great Central in origin.

The name pulled out of the hat for this month was Brian Eves.