Caledonian Railway

SIGNALS:

Caledonian Railway signals

Distant signal

This lower-quadrant signal, once at Coupar Angus, represents a typical Caledonian Railway signal, almost certainly manufactured by Stevens & Sons. The lightweight, but strong, lattice post is a typical product of theirs, but the decorative finial usually provided at the top of the post appears to have gone missing.

Stevens & Sons had a Glasgow factory (in addition to their London one) and supplied most of the Scottish Railway companies with signalling equipment.

Caledonian Railway Distant signal at Coupar Angus, 1981
John Hinson

Coupar Angus was on the Caledonian Railway’s main route to Aberdeen, but by the time of this photograph the through route had closed and the line only ran to Forfar as a single goods line. Owing to its reduced importance, the signal had become “fixed at caution”. The down-rod is still connected to the balance weight, but there is no wire running down to connect the weight bar with the signal box.

Co-acting Distant signal

Where sighting was difficult a pair of arms would be provided so that one arm could be clearly seen by drivers from a distance, and the other when the train was closer.

In this instance, a bridge across the line was the problem – and the top arm would be seen high above the parapet of the bridge. However, this wouldn’t be visible when the train was closer to the signal – instead the lower arm would be seen through the bridge arch.

Caledonian Railway Co-acting Distant signal at Alyth Junction, 1981
John Hinson

The signal once carried two other co-acting arms, acting as Alyth Junction Up Starter, worked by lever 56 in this once important box. Being located on the same line as Coupar Angus (above) most of the signalling was removed when singling took place, but the distant arms here were retained to protect a level crossing.

The weight bars that slotted with the now removed starter arms remain. The down-rod connecting both arms with the bar is also clearly visible. The lower arm (which is shorter than the norm) is, like the author, drooping with old age.

Bracket signal

A divergence of route is generally made clear to drivers by the use of bracket signals. In this instance, the highest arm (on the main post) is the main route, and the left-hand divergence (leading to a goods loop) is provided with a miniature arm. Whilst the main arm had been renewed with an LMS upper quadrant arm, the miniature arm remained in its original lower quadrant condition. Two LMS shunting signals also existed at the foot of the post providing for shunting movements.

Caledonian Railway Bracket signal at Stirling, 1982
John Hinson

The signals applied from the “Platform Line” at Stirling Middle.

This signal was the last survivor of working lower quadrant signals in Scotland, and amazingly was still in use until 2000. It has now been moved to the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway for preservation.

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