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.



Click here for larger viewThe January quiz featured some interesting signals photographed not long before the quiz was published, asking which country the signals are in.

It wasn't a difficult question, the answer is Australia and many people answered correctly.

There can't be many blue-painted signal arms in the world, and these here serve a special, possibly unique, function on the preserved Zig Zag Railway in New South Wales. The blue-painted miniature arms, with a white letter "U" superimposed, indicates to train crews that Top Box is unmanned, and that they will have to operate the lever frame themselves when they return.

The winner of this month's competition was chosen at random - the lucky winner is Andrew Wallace.

Photograph and information kindly provided by Mike Romans

Click on the image for a larger view


Click for larger imageFor February, you were shown some pictures of an interesting structure next to the line at Plockton, on the Kyle of Lochalsh line. It has clearly been built deliberately in the style of a Highland Railway signal box, although rather over-sized. The quiz asked what function it serves.

The answer is that it is a bunkhouse; the plate on the end wall names the building "The Bunkhouse" although I made sure that this wasn't legible in the photographs.

For those not familiar with this term, it is basic accommodation for hikers.

The first correct answer came from Mick Boyd who is declared the winner.

Click on the image for a larger, general view, or here for a general view.

MARCH 2006

SwindonDanny Scroggins provided a "modern" subject for the quiz this month, in the form of a view of a VDU train describer at a certain signal box. All you had to do was identify the name of the box.

The view is of part of Swindon SB's layout, not to be confused with Swindon "B" which isn't far away.

The winner this month is Andrew Tigwell.

Click on the image for a larger view (with the previously edited-out "clues" in place)

APRIL 2006

Back to the history books for April - and the question asked which pre-grouping railway had three signalboxes named London Road Junction, located in three different cities.

The answer was the Midland Railway, with boxes and Derby, Leicester and Nottingham.

And the name chosen at random from the many correct entries was Nick Patching, who receives the prize this month.

MAY 2006

Northwoood CrossingMay was another caption competition, for a rather old (and perhaps embarrassing) view of your webmaster at Northwood Halt on the Severn Valley Railway.

Many amusing entries were received (some of them unprintable) but the best entry came from John Walker who suggested Sorry, I think one rendition of "I'm a little tea pot" is enough don't you!

Click on the image for a larger view

JUNE 2006

Signal in South AfricaThe June competition showed an interesting semaphore signal photographed recently by Rod Mackay whilst on holiday, and you had to identify which country it was in.

The correct answer was South Africa and for the many correct answers Andrew Gladwin was chosen to be this month's winner.

Photograph by Rod Mackay
Click on the image for a larger view

JULY 2006

GunthorpeFor July, we returned to the popular "identify the location" competition, but for a change the view was of a long-closed cabin now in private ownership.

The location is actually Gunthorpe in Norfolk, on the former Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway.

The winner, chosen at random, was Ian Dykhoff who won this month's special prize of a voucher for a complimentary tea and cake for two at their newly opened tea-room in the adjoining garden.

Photograph by Heather Duffield
Click on the image for a larger view


The August quiz started a series of questions which we will return to at regular intervals. The first showed illustrations of four boxes starting with the letter A and asked their date of construction. The correct answers were as follows:

  • Abbey Mills Junction: 1895
  • Acton Canal Wharf: 1895
  • Amberley: 1934
  • Ascott Under Wychwood: c1883

This months winner was Frank Maslen - the first to have submitted a full set of correct answers.


Click for full-size viewThe September quiz returned to the identification of a mystery signal box - not a mystery to many it seems. A picture was provided of Carmarthen Junction with a little piece of "digital enhancement" to conceal the name.

Of the many correct answers received, Mike Dickenson was chosen at random to be this month's winner.


In October, you were asked:
It is Tuesday (well, if it isn't, you will have to pretend it is!) and you buy a ticket at Norwich for a journey to Ely. During your journey you notice you pass a number of semaphore signals. How many of those signals were operated by a lever with a white band painted on it?

The day of the week was obviously a red herring! Quite simply, each signal box controlling the admission to an absolute block section has one lever with a white band. There are eight such signal boxes, but two have colour-light signals serving that function so they don't count. The correct answer is six.

The correct answer to the quiz was provided by Alex Howells who is awarded the prize this month


The November quiz returned to our regular series requiring you to guess when four signal boxes were built - this time we offered four boxes beginning wioth the letter B. The correct answers were as follows:

  • Blankney: 1928
  • Birkenhead North: 1888
  • Battersea Park Junction: 1906
  • Bramley: 1917

Was I guilty of trickery this time? Blankney fooled many of you for many LNER boxes of that era looked much older, whilst Battersea Park Junction was an early power signalling installation which led many to offer a later date.

We only received on submission with all four answers correct, and that came from David Ingham - well done David.


We had a little fun for Christmas - you were required to identify three signal boxes, past and present, from some crypric questions:

  1. Name a signal box, now closed, whose windows should have all been south facing (but they weren't!)
    Answer: North Pole Junction
  2. SANTA had to GET a TON of coal and then re-arranged the words in capitals to make the name of a large shunting frame, once a signal box.
    Answer: Stanton Gate
  3. Santa took his surname (Noel, Noel) and made his way to a level crossing that once existed between Reading and Swindon. What was that level crossing called?
    Answer: Causeway Crossing

There were plenty of correct answers this month, and the winner's name pulled out of Santa's hat was Dave Bulgin.