Balham signal box

Introduction

Balham signal box with its Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co. Ltd. Style 'L' Power Lever Frame was opened by British Railways on the 12th October 1952. It was built to the Southern Railway Type 13 design and opened fitted with a 43 lever Westinghouse 'L' frame It replaced the following LBSCR boxes, Balham Junction, opened in 1895 fitted with a 54 lever frame; and Wandsworth Common, opened in 1895 fitted with a 30 lever frame.

The 'L' frame was extended from to 67 levers on 19th November 1967 when Streatham Hill box (a LBSCR box opened in 1898 with a 42 lever frame) was closed and Balham box took over the signalling.

Balham box was closed on 7th June 1981 after 29 years use when signalling of the area was taken over by Victoria Signalling Centre. Southern Region Resignalling of the London to Brighton Line which occurred between 1950 to 1955 which aimed to abolish all the semaphore signalling from the south end of the London Bridge scheme and also from just outside of Victoria which met at Windmill Bridge Junction (latterly known as Gloucester Road Junction) north of Croydon, and continued to Coulsdon. The objective was to removing the Sykes Lock and Block working and replacing it with track circuiting and colour light signalling. The whole scheme cost £2 million pounds and involved 11 new signalboxes having a combined total of 841 levers, replacing 32 manual signalboxes with a total of 1,515 full sized levers.

Balham signal box taken arond the 1950's, with its Westinghouse Brake and Signal Co. Ltd miniature power lever frame photograph 1

Picture copyright © J Scrace, reproduced by kind permission of Middleton Press, from their Victoria to East Croydon book in the southern mainlines series published in 1987 ISBN 0906520401

The 'Odeon' style box is seen here with an apparent all round clear view of the surrounding tracks despite the use of illuminated diagrams and magazine type train describers. It was located at the Crystal Palace line junction just south of the station.

Balham signal box taken arond 1970's, with its Westinghouse Brake and Signal Co. Ltd miniature power lever frame photograph 2

A more recent colour picture 1970's by kind permission of © Graham Floyd.

SR Signalling Project Track diagram

The frame is a Westinghouse Style 'L' Power Frame which is all electrically locked. The frame was formed of 3 x 12 way and 1 x 8 way section which making a total of {3x12}+8}-1 = 43 levers, as the last “lever” space is unavailable. 12 of these levers worked the points, 27 signal levers operated the coloured light signals, and 4 spare levers when the frame was supplied and installed. In 1967 the lever frame was extended with the addition of 2 x 12 way sections increasing the levers to 67, this was to allow control of Streatham Hill area. After the extension and a few other alterations at the same time, the levers were 16 of these levers worked the points, 37 signal levers operated the coloured light signals, and 14 spare levers when the frame was supplied and installed making a total of = 67

Balham signal box internior taken post 1967, with its Westinghouse Brake and Signal Co. Ltd miniature power lever frame, notice the train describers

The Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co. Ltd lever frame, with its indicators behind the levers, looking 'North'. The 4 glass roundels showed the signal aspect, being Red, Yellow, Green & 2nd Yellow reading from bottom to top. The train describers sending boxes are fitted on top of the frame box whilst the receiving train describer units are housed each side of the signalling diagram. Emergency bell plungers are provided next to adjacent signal boxes, again mounted on the block shelf. Telephone concentrators are provided at each end of the frame at 45 degrees. Picture by kind permission of © Graham Floyd.

Balham signal box internior taken post 1967, with its Westinghouse Brake and Signal Co. Ltd miniature power lever frame, notice the train describers

This time we are looking South from lever No1, The desk for train recording is situated in the immediate front area is obviously visible. The top indicator behind the signal lever is the "F" light and this became lit when the lever was normal, all points in the route correctly detected and all relevant track circuits clear. You could pull the lever at any time provided that the locking was correct but the signal would not clear unless the "F" light was lit before the lever was pulled. The extension to Balham was carried out with parts from Euston after it had closed the change in the green paint between the two sections was most obvious as the LMR frames were a darker shade of green to the southern frames. This interior shows the signalman; this gentleman is called Ian Taylor and currently he works in Victoria ASC. Picture by kind permission of © Graham Floyd.

Balham signal box internior taken post 1967, showing the track diagram

The main line to and from Clapham Junction and eventually Victoria is shown on the left hand side of the diagram, the 4 track main line continues along the bottom edge of the drawing to Streatham Junction. The 2 track 'branch' line and one carriage shed road continue horizontally to Streatham Hill and leave the diagram at the far right of the drawing. Picture by kind permission of © Graham Floyd.

Diagrams

Attached is British Railways signal instruction No2 of 1952 notice and signal instruction No2 of 1952 track diagram1 and signal instruction No2 of 1952 track diagram2 and signal instruction No2 of 1952 track diagram3 this can be downloaded in PDF format, this covers the opening of Clapham Junction 'B', Balham & Streatham Junction signal boxes. These diagram(s) are taken from the website of the Signalling Record Society Research Note37. These images are copyright of the Signalling Record Society ©, and reproduced by permission.

Adjacent boxes

London Victoria to Victoria (up and down Thro and Local Lines ) Northbound & Southbound>

Clapham Junction 'B' box, 2m 641yds to the North,
Streatham Junction box, 1m 843yds to the South,
Clapham Junction "B" was closed on 28/11/1980 and Victoria Signalling Centre became the adjacent box.

Crystal Palace Lines (up and down lines)

Streatham Hill box, 0m 1073yds away, was the adjacent box until it was closed on 19/11/1967 and Leigham Junction (1m 738yds away) became the adjacent box. Leigham Junction was closed on 13/07/1969 when signalling of the Crystal Palace area was transferred to a panel located in Norwood Junction box which became the adjacent box.