West London Junction signal box

West London Junction signal box with its Westinghouse Brake & Saxby Signal Co. Ltd. Style 'L' Power Lever Frame was opened in 1912 by the London & South Western Railway fitted with a 48 lever British Pneumatic Railway Signal Company power frame. The power frame was replaced by a 59 lever Westinghouse 'L' frame (frame number 68) in 1936. .

West London Junction, and Clapham Junction 'A' signalbox with their Westinghouse Style 'L' frames were both commissioned on the 17th May 1936 and continued in use for 54 years until Stage 7b of the Waterloo area resignalling scheme. West London Junction finally closed on the 25th May 1990 and the signalling of the are was taken over by the Waterloo signalling centre located at Wimbledon.

West London Junction  signal box exterior taken in 1988, with its Westinghouse Brake and Signal Co. Ltd miniature power lever frame.

Over the years there have been several bridge cabins on the London south Western main line between Waterloo and Clapham Junction, but only West London Junction and Clapham junction 'A' survived into the late 1980's. West London Junction was originally built and opened around 1912, it defies architectural definition, consisting merely of a series interconnecting sheds on a bowstring girder bridge. During World War II a steel roof weighing around 40 tones was added as an air raid precaution. The framework for this can is clearly visible. The steel roof was removed around 1965 following the collapse of Clapham Junction 'A' leg strut - see Clapham Junction A for further info..

West London Junction  signal box taken in 1988, with its Westinghouse Brake and Signal Co. Ltd miniature power lever frame photograph  an train describers and diagram.

All picture are by kind permission of David Ingham, © David A Ingham. The track diagram is located above the lever frame and train describers are ontop of the lever frame. There is an enhance picture further down this page showing the track diagram in more detail.
The frame is a Westinghouse Style 'L' Power Frame which is all electrically locked. The frame was formed of 5 x 12 way section which making a total of 59 levers, {5x12}-1 = 59 levers, as the last “lever” space is unavailable. 16 of these levers worked the points, 32 signal levers operated the coloured light signals, and 11 spare levers when the frame was supplied and installed. The working levers totalled 48.

West London Junction signal box taken in 1988, with its Westinghouse Brake and Signal Co. Ltd miniature power lever frame closeup detail photograph of levers and train describers.

The Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co. Ltd lever frame, with its indicators behind the levers, the 4 glass roundels showed the signal aspect, being Red, Yellow, Green & 2nd Yellow 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. The train describers sending boxes are fitted on top of the frame box along with the receiving train describer units.

Of interesting note about the frame in West London Junction box were the king levers. They only featured in one other 'L' frame, at Norwood Junction signalbox. Painted brown and white a king lever is allows things to happen that interlocking normally prevents. The King levers function did allow the box to close by switching through the signal post telephones to the monitoring signal boxes and there was one king lever for each line, the signals were already all Semi auto for the through routes. The Up Windsor Local line had no controlled signals on it and it is believed that the auto's were plated for Queens Road. The king levers were provided 16.6.74

West London Junction  signal box taken in 1988, with its Westinghouse Brake and Signal Co. Ltd miniature power lever frame photograph  an train describers and diagram, this picture has been enhanced to help amke the diagram clearer.

Above is an 'enhanced' image to show up the track diagram layout, picture by kind permission of David Ingham, © David A Ingham.The train describers in West London were only repeaters of the through circuits between Clapham A and Queens Road boxes and by operating a switch these would continue to work with the box switched out but would allow a track circuit on each line to clear them out this way when the box re-opened they would (should) always be up to date. There was four huge Sykes style closing switches, two physically linked together by a joining arm for the Windsor side and another two also joined for the Mainline side.

Graham Floyd supplied the following interesting item. - When I started on the railway west London closed out each night and re-opened each morning. This must have been the only box in the country that could close out on 8 lines and was a class "F" at that! When I visited the box I found it boring as the only regular moves which required the signalman to intervene were onto and off the carriage lines to Clapham Yard. Until that is I foolishly remarked about this and then the signalman on duty switched the train describers into manual clearout and put all the signal levers back and told me to get on with it and not to allow a signal to re-clear again without having replaced it and re-pulled it when the "F" light came up. What a mistake to make!! - Thanks Graham.

Diagrams

Attached is Southern Railway signal instruction 18 notice and signal instruction 18 track diagram this can be downloaded in PDF format, this covers the opening of Clapham Junction 'A' and West London Junction signal box. 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

Main and Windsor Lines (northbound)
Adjacent signal boxes (in 1934) were Queen's Road West (706yds away) to the north, was re-named Queen's Road on 17/05/1936.

Main and Windsor Lines (southbound)
Adjacent boxes (in 1934) were Clapham Junction 'A' box (1056yds away)

West London Extension line
The W L Extn line had been removed before the L frame opened (pointwork taken out 1.3.36.) so is not relevant here.
When Brighton signalbox opened it worked to:-
West Coast line
Hove East (1m 80yds away). Hove East (but re-named Hove "A") box was closed on 16/03/1985 and Three Bridge Signalling Centre became the adjacent box. This lasted until Brighton box closed.

East Coast line
London Road (796yds away). London Road box was closed on 16/07/1933 and Kemp Town Junction box (1312yds away) became the adjacent box. Kemp Town Junction box was closed on 10/10/1971 and Falmer box (3m 552yds away) became the adjacent box. This lasted until Brighton box closed.

London line
Preston Park (1713yds away). Preston Park box was closed on 17/03/1985 and Three Bridge Signalling Centre became the adjacent box. This lasted until Brighton box closed.