Maidstone East signal box

Maidstone East signal box was opened by British Railways on 8th April 1962. located 46 yards west of the previous Maidstone East signal box it replaced. It was built to the British Railways Southern Region type 18 design and was fitted with a 47 lever Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company Style 'L' miniature lever power frame.

This signal box is still open {January 2015}; the frame still controls station area. (This one and Liverpool Lime Street are the last two 'L' style lever frames working on Network Rail.)

Above: Views of Maidstone East brick built signal box above by kind permission of © David A Ingham seen here on the 7th March 1989.

The frame is a Westinghouse Style 'L' miniature lever power frame which is all electrically locked. The frame was formed of 4 x 12 way section which making a total of 47 levers, {4x12}-1 = 47 levers, as the last "lever" space is unavailable. 12 of these levers worked the points, 25 signal levers operated the coloured light signals, there were two special levers and 8 spare levers when the frame was supplied and installed. This made the working lever total of 39.

Maidstone East

The Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co. Ltd lever frame, with its indicators behind the levers, the glass roundels showed the signal aspect, being Red and Green reading from bottom to top. 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.

Maidstone East The train describers are built into the NX Panel Emergency bell plungers are provided next to adjacent signal boxes, again built into the NX Panel. Panel 1 was added on December 18th 1983 to control Borough Green to Maidstone East. pictures by kind permission of © David A Ingham on the 7th March 1989.

Maidstone East

Pictured above is a closeup detail of part of the frame showing the Sykes full bock instrument to Bearsted Station, which in this case release lever 26 the advance starting signal at Maidstone East. This was taken before the NX panel was added.

Maidstone East miniature lever frames still needed block instruments for working with adjacent semaphore signal boxes. To achieve this new miniature Sykes instruments were installed into the 'console' panelling. The tablets and treadles of these instruments did not drop with the 'Thud' of their normal counterparts, and were therefore referred to as the 'Silent Sykes' block instruments.

Maidstone East

An ML Engineering entrance-exit panel was installed in 1983 to replace West Malling and Wrotham signal boxes, and was planned to be extended in two stages in April 1984. On 14th April Bearsted and Hollingbourne signal boxes were to close and Sykes lock and block was to be replaced by track circuit block working to Lenham signal box, and then on 28th April Lenham and Hothfield signal boxes were to close and Maidstone East was to work track circuit block to Ashford signal box. Bearsted, Hollingbourne and Lenham signal boxes closed as planned but Lenham signal box remained open until 15th February 1985 due to problems installing the equipment. It is still operational with Network Rail. Picture by kind permission of © David A Ingham on the 7th March 1989.

Maidstone East

The last picture is a sideways on picture of the lever frame; picture by kind permission of © David A Ingham on the 7th March 1989.

Adjacent boxes

To the West,

Barming signal box (2m 548yds away) was the adjacent signal box until 25/04/1982 when
West Malling signal box (5m 304yds away) became the adjacent signal box.
On 16/12/1983 West Malling was closed and Victoria Signalling Centre became the adjacent signal box.

To the East,
Bearsted signal box (2m 1306yds away) was the adjacent signal box
until 14/04/1984 when Bearsted was closed and Lenham signal box (9m 339yds away) became the adjacent signal box.
On 28/04/1984 Lenham was closed and Hothfield (15m 1539yds away) became the adjacent signal box.
On 16/02/1985 Hothfield was closed and Ashford signal box (19m 861yds) became the adjacent signal box.

Ashford signal box was closed 12/12/1995 and Ashford Integrated Electric Control Centre became the adjacent signal box.