NEWS 2024

(Clicking on photos below will open a full-size version in a new window;
closing that window will bring you back here.)


Restoring the LNWR Signal:

 Once the signal was erected (see photos in June below) scaffolding was professionally erected all round the signal to give safe access to restore the arms, the operating rods and the signal lamps back to the signal. 



  Now seen completed and in working order, from the garden (left) and from the road (right) where it can be admired by commuters as they head to the station!



Bonus views: 
Having finished the works, several volunteers took advantage of the scaffolding to get some views not otherwise obtainable, in particular of St Albans Abbey and the box and its grounds.


A lot more visible work in this month, preparing the base to mount the LNWR signal and getting the signal hoisted into place.

Firstly - putting 'The Boot' in on the bottom of the signal post as a tryout and taking it off:  

We use 'boots' to take the bottom of our signal posts and hold them to large blocks of concrete as their base. This cuts out burying wooden posts in the ground where they tend to rot..... This 'boot' was made for us by a local steel fabrication company. The next step, of course, is to provide:

The Concrete Base
From left to right - the hole with studding to hold down the boot, filling the hole with concrete and adding the boot:

Hoisting the signal into place on June 26th:

From left to right we see the post placed on a couple of trolleys to be moved near the base, the HIAB (hydraulic crane) on the back of the hired lorry being set up, strapping the top of the post to the HIAB, and two stages in lifting the post.

With the signal now vertical, it is steered over the base and lowered into place. With the crane disconnected minor adjustments are made with wedges to get it vertical. Finally two views of the signal from the carpark and from the box; once the arms are fitted people walking up to the station will get a good view of it!

  Off-site a member has been cleaning up and repainting the two arms and working on the two lamp casings for the LNWR signal. One lamp is a dummy, the other has a lens and another member has fitted the lamp with an LED lamp in the same way a number of our other signals are equipped.


 A new sign, recently donated to the box: 

Visitor Figures: In the first half of the year 1,150 visitors came to the box.


May 9th: Royal Scot passes by
While entertaining a party of railway managers past and present, we were lucky to have the steam engine 46100 'Royal Scot' pass the signal box.
It was a light engine move, with its support coach, as 5Z70. It came from Barrow Hill, passed us at about 2.40pm, and went on to Southall.

Much of May was taken up with various preparatory works, particularly for the LNWR signal. Not, alas, very easy to photograph, so we end May with more flowers in blossom - this time by our two carparking spaces:

March and April

Again we're merging the news from two months as several projects continued across them - as did the rain!

LNWR Signal works
The restored metalwork is now being fixed in position and the post is having its final coat of paint

The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring
A few photos taken over recent weeks:

New Signs
Two new signs now on display:
(The Harpenden 'Running-in' board was acquired last year, the Bedford sign this year.)

Unusual Notice Board
When the Euston Power Signalling Box was closed some while ago, the notice board for the National Union of Railwaymen was rescued and stored. It has eventually arrived with us for long-term preservation.
Being delivered, placed in position on the operating floor and a close-up - taken at a low level to avoid window reflections!
But we don't have a key to be able to be open it to catalogue the contents!

More Work Ahead!
With the increasing hours of daylight and the occasional beam of sunshine, two more jobs have raised their heads:
The Nameboard at the south end of the box is showing signs of significant rot and nearby the tread plates on the steps all need a repaint.

Another Interesting Train
Seen on the 10th of April:
This is Network Rail's Inspection Saloon "Caroline", a rare visitor. The loco was a bit different as well.

Work on our own railway - new 'Chuffs' for Thomas and Percy
Talking of trains, we've recently undertaken an enhancement and rewire of 'Clarabel' - she provides both battery power and the 'chuffs' for either Thomas or Percy on our garden railway. Speed control on the left, 'Chuff' system on the right. (Note Sir Topham Hatt on the platform supervising the trial run of the new system!)


Much of the work undertaken (despite plenty of rain) took place over the two months, so we are presenting the various works as a combination of the two months.

Window-cleaning Gallery on front of box
Last year we reported on the rotten timbers found during our yearly safety check (first photo below) and the following two pictures show their replacement. The following Wednesday afternoon the windows were at last cleaned!


LMS Ground Discs 
The triple LMS Ground Discs signal, moved to the lawn last year, has now been connected to the LNWR Ground Frame:


LNWR Signal

With the post almost complete, the metalwork is being cleaned up and repainted.
1.   2.   3.   4. 
1 and 2. The two spectacles (These hold the coloured glasses in front of the signal lamp).
3. The lengthy ladder is also being tackled.
4. The post almost ready.

Midland Railway 1890s Signal
This signal, one of our earliest restorations, is the one worked from the spare lever 32 in the box and is electrically lit. In January we noted the lamp had lost some of its brightness. An investigation showed problems with the bulb-holder and with the lamphousing. Remedial work has been done, and the signal is now well -illuminated

Another New Signal
We have recently acquired on long-term loan a ground disc from Chesterton Junction. It has gone to the North end of the site where it is worked from the Midland Railway ground frame. 


Passing Trains
We've not been so busy that we've not been watching the trains go past. First photo is of a brand-new South-Western electrical unit (third-rail equipped only) being towed off for acceptance testing. The other is of a single-unit based track survey train at work.

Open Afternoons: On Sunday 14th January, we saw some 86 visitors come to the box - this number is second only to the 151 who came in January 2020. Sunday 11th of February produced about 120 visitors and the Wednesday half-term opening on the 21st gave us another 100+.