A History of North Eastern Railway Signalling
This book is the first to be devoted exclusively to the historical development of signalling on the North Eastern Railway. It is the product of many years of extensive primary research, drawing on original source material whenever possible, and has been written to interest a broad cross-section of readers. Those with a general interest in the NER will find detailed insights and explanations of this little understood subject. Signalling professionals and serious students have not been overlooked: there is ample technical information. For modellers there is a wealth of material including scale drawings, and a chapter covering the special techniques involved in making miniature versions of the distinctive NER slotted post signals. Adherents of other railways will find much of interest to compare with their own favourite lines.
From its rudimentary beginnings the development of signalling in north-east England is placed in its historical context and brought to life. The sceptical attitudes of the NER management towards signals, interlocking and the block system are examined and contrasted with the views of the Board of Trade and the public. Further new ground is broken with a fascinating account of the development of relevant signalling rules & regulations, followed by descriptions of telegraph and block signalling equipment, lever frames, and the wide variety of signals themselves. The broad range of signal cabin styles is carefully analysed and illustrated. There are numerous track and signalling diagrams for a representative cross-section of locations from simple block posts
and wayside stations to iconic centres such as York and Newcastle.
Exceptionally, a chapter is devoted to the history and organization of the men and management, highlighting how signalmen's conditions of employment were enhanced by the NER's pioneer acceptance of union representation. Analysis of a selection of relevant accidents has been used to show the heavy reliance placed on the skills and abilities of staff, and the often draconian punishments for those who made even a simple error. The adoption of new technology in the early Twentieth Century is also covered, demonstrating that by the end of its independent existence in 1923, the company had some highly advanced systems in operation, though still clinging to such outdated features as slotted posts and board signals.
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Updated: 1 January 2021