Borough Market Junction signal box

Borough Market Junction signal box with its Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co. Ltd. Style 'K' Power Lever Frame was built to the South Eastern Railway Type design. Colour light signalling operated from a 21 lever mechanical frame (apart from the Up distant signals) was introduced on 27th June 1926 as part the re-signalling of Charing Cross and Cannon Street stations. London Bridge 'A' signal box was closed on 17th June 1928 and it's area of responsibility was taken over by Borough Market Junction which required the mechanical frame to be replaced by a 35 lever Westinghouse Brake & Saxby Signal Co. Ltd. Style 'K' Power Lever Frame.

It continued in continuos use for 48 years until its operation was take over the London Bridge Signalling scheme on 19th April 1976. The box was single manned on three shifts, and was a very busy signalbox in terms of train patterns. This famous bottleneck handled 41 up and 48 down trains between 17:00 and 18:00 in the late 1940's.

Borough Market Junction signal box taken arond 1950's, with its Westinghouse Brake and Signal Co. Ltd miniature power lever frame

The signalbox depicted above was the original structure that housed the original mechanical lever frame, this structure was retained and re-equipped when the Westinghouse Style 'K' power frame was installed. Since its decommissioning in 1976, the top section has been preserved at the National Railway Museum at York.

After it closed in 1976 the wooden box was shipped up to the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York, where it sat outdoors for the past 40 odd years.

The NRM has replaced rotting woodwork, painted it and cleaned up the interior, which is otherwise largely untouched from when it was an operational box.

The height wasn't just to allow signallers to have a good view, as unless you know your signal boxes, you might not be aware that the tall brick base they stand on would have originally been filled with a massive metal interlocking rack that turns the human actions above into commands for the signals and switches along the railway, and ensures the wrong levers can't be pulled when they shouldn't.

Network Rail recently donated original bricks from the box's foundations in London as part of a project to move it indoors, build a new base and provide access for visitors. Once completed, the box will once again sit at its original height.

"The bricks recently presented to the museum from the remnants of the base will become part of the new base once the box is moved into the museum's Great Hall."

The frame is a Westinghouse Style 'K' Power Frame and was mechanically interlocked between levers with electrical lever locking, The frame was formed of 3 x 12 way section which making a total of 35 levers, {3x12}-1 = 35 levers, as the last “lever” space is unavailable. 11 levers levers worked the point, and 23 levers worked the signals and one spare lever {No.15}.

Borough Market Junction signal box internior taken in 1950's, with its Westinghouse Brake and Signal Co. Ltd miniature power lever frame, notice the train describers in this comapct setup

The Westinghouse Brake & Saxby Signal Co. Ltd style 'K' 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 two aspect indicators showed the 'N' and 'R' to indicate the points as either being Normal or Reverse, The train describers sending units are fitted on top of the frame box with the receiving units on the right hand side at 45 degrees. Emergency bell plungers are provided next to adjacent signal boxes in the middle of the instrument shelf. As at North Kent East, the signals (and roundels) here would have started life as, from bottom up, Y, R, YY, G.

The signalman's diagram {above} is clearly visible with a train on the down direction from Charing Cross to London Bridge. A trains is also in Platform 1 at London Bridge. London Bridge is at the right hand end of the signalling drawing, with 4 tracks to Canon Street at the top left hand end, and 2 tracks to Charing Cross below left.

Certainly in the 1940’s and 50’s, the box was double manned on early and late turns, single at night. One man worked the Up service, one the Down, with the spare lever (15) forming the demarcation line on the frame. The whole process ran almost without a word being spoken between the two men, such was their knowledge of the timetable and concentration on the job.

Borough Market was doubled-manned, not single-manned, except overnight. To plug the gap before the early turn man took duty, someone came round from Cannon Street box from the service start-up. One man worked the Ups, the other the Downs (until the London Bridge Resignalling, the tracks were paired by direction, as shown on the diagram). Detonator placers were provided at the signals because of the very short overlaps. Source of information: booklet handed to commuters by Southern Region in about 1965 or 1966

Borough Market Junction track signaling diagram

Reproduced here is the original Southern Region track & signalling plan, notice the 'Up Fast Through' track labelled '5' on this drawings at London Bridge station is not on the signalman's track diagram above in the previous picture. therefore by definition signal 24 and points 22 are missing. Meanwhile on the 'Down Line' the crossover number 8 is also missing and therefore signal 6 would also be out of use / not used.

The layout plan is “Southern Region”. So it cannot be original, e.g. as D4/5/6 and D12/14 are shown as single heads with route indicators rather than the multiple cluster heads shown in the photo below the plan. Note that the signalbox symbol on this plan is the wrong way up, the power frame was in the back of the box, having replaced the old mechanical frame in the front.

No5 road was Taken Out of Use 4.10.52, signals D24 and D31 abolished 7.12.52. No8 crossover TOU 26.4.53, abolished 3.5.53. No22 points abolished 19.4.53.

One of the 4 Aspect 'Cluster' signals near London Bridge.

One of the 4 Aspect 'Cluster' signals near London Bridge.

See the track plan above for information about which aspect is Red , Yellow, double Yellow and Green.


Attached is Southern Railways signal instruction No19 of 1926 notice and signal instruction No19 of 1926 track diagram and signal instruction No20 of 1928 notice and signal instruction No20 of 1928 track diagram this can be downloaded in PDF format, this covers the introduction introduction of colored light signals between Charring Cross, Cannon Street and Brough Market Junction of 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

Towards Charing Cross station,

Metropolitan Junction signal box (464yds away) was the adjacent box until closure.

Towards Cannon Street station,

Cannon Street signal box (609yds away) was the adjacent box.
On 15th December 1957 a new Cannon Street signal box (253yds away) was opened and was the adjacent box until closure.

To the South,

London Bridge signal box (642yds away) was the adjacent box until closure.