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.



WarnemündeA little bit of fun for Christmas - a signal box that isn't a signal box. This curious building looks so like a signal box. but isn't. So what is it?

Apart from the tongue in cheek comments about controlling the Purley Gates and the Purley Kings and Queens, there were many responses identifying it as a stone hopper. The randomly selected winner was John Allen.


The November quiz asked the name of the most recently opened signal box that uses the Absolute Block system. The answer is Kirkby Thore on the Settle and Carlisle line. It is a two storey Portakabin box, equipped with a switch panel and works Absolute Block to Culgaith and Appleby North.

The first correct answer came from Jon Dean.

This quiz question was set by Robert Davey.


A simple question for October, or was it? The question concerned three aspect colour-light signals mounted at ground level, asking which lamp was the red one.

The correct answer was the top one (there are always exceptions, of course) rather than the lower one on a conventional-height signal. In both cases, the lred light is placed as close to driver's eye level as it cvan be.

Anthony Koch, all the way from Australia, was the selected winner.


WarnemündeThe September quiz showed a picture of a preserved European signal box - but what country was it in?

Graham Harris was one of many to identify the location as Germany and has been selected as the winner.

The location is actually Warnemünde, on the Baltic coast, photographed in September 2003. Click on the image for a larger view.


August quizStuart Ward set the question this month, asking the function of an interesting signal on the steam railway at Swanage.

From many correct answers, Peter Gibbons' name was pulled out of the hay - his answer was that it repeats shunting signal ahead that may be obscured by a train on the adjacent (platform) line.

Click on the image for a more general view.

JULY 2003

Searchlight signals are getting a bit thin on the ground these days, but a whole pocket of them can be found on . . . well, it was your job to tell me that! This photograph was taken earlier this year, at Alresford on the Colchester - Clacton line.

Quite a few participants even managed to identify the exact location, although only the area or line was required for the answer.

The selected winner this month was David Smith.

Click on the image for a larger view

JUNE 2003

Mystery diagramMany will have declared the June competition as too easy, but the quiz has to cater for all levels of knowledge.

The mystery diagram gave its clues with the swing bridge and octagonal signal box. This is Boston Docks Swing Bridge and is still in occasional use although not owned by Network Rail.

The selected winner was David Parker.

Click on the image for a larger view.

MAY 2003

Romily JunctionFor May, the identity of a signal box was called for from a distant photograph.

The arrangement of the junction in the background certainly confused a few people, but many people were able to identify it correctly as Romily Junction.

Selected randomly, this month's winner was chosen as Stephen Parascandolo

APRIL 2003

The April quiz asked the names of three signal boxes controlling the corners of a triangular junction. There are several locations in the UK that fit the bill, so this wasn't too hard a question! Out of the many correct answers received, Chas Gilbert's name was pulled out of the hat - he quoted Norton South, Norton East and Norton West as one example.

MARCH 2003

Option CFor March, a question about Austrian Point Indicators - asking what indication was given on the reverse of a point indicator showing the indication on the right. The correct answer is that it would show the same indication on the rear. Tim Hayes was the winner.

More information about these signals will be found on the page about Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof signal box


Tower 18The February quiz brought the last of the current series of caption competitions for locations in the United States. This one showed Tower 18 on the Chicago Transit Authority system, controlling a literal "crossroads" on the overhead railway.

As always, there were many excellent entries, but only one can be the winner - and that came from Julia with the caption Is that MY rear cab?
Julia - please get in touch as the email about your prize is unanswered.

Some other entries that were just too good to lose in the mists of time were:
Chris Owen: The SRAs capacity utilisation study showed that the line to the left of the photo should be closed.
Graham Harris: Burger & Large Fries to go, please.
Mick Charlesworth: Signaller to S&T fault team " What gap between trains?"

Click on the image for more information about Tower 18


View of junction at Appleby NorthThe January competition showed a recent view of a junction and signal box, and asked what (according to Railtrack) item in the photograph was the last of its kind in existence and had recently had a full overhaul.

Many submissions correctly identified the frature as the Economical Facing Points (with the FPL and Points worked by one lever) which the train in the view has just passed over. The winner, selected randomly, was John Salmon.

The careful wording of "according to Railtrack" is mentioned because it is thought that a few examples exist elsewhere in the country, although possibly of differing design.

Click on the image for a larger view.
Photograph by Richard Putley, 2002.