Norwood Junction signal box

Norwood Junction signal box with its Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co. Ltd. Style 'L' Power Lever Frame was opened by British Railways on 21st March 1954 at the same time as Gloucester Road Junction It was built to the British Railways Southern Region Type 15 design and was fitted with a 107 lever Westinghouse 'L' frame (frame number 130).

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.

It replaced the following former London, Brighton & South Coast Railway signal boxes. Norwood Junction North opened in 1904 fitted with a 68 lever frame, and Norwood Junction South opened in 1881 fitted with an 87 lever frame.

An entrance-exit panel was installed on 15th June 1969 to control the Forest Hill and Sydenham areas, it was taken out of use on 20th July 1975 when control of the area passed to London Bridge power signal box. A second entrance-exit panel was installed on 13th July 1969 to control the Crystal Palace area, it was taken out of use on 09th August 1981 when control of the area passed to Victoria Signalling Centre .

The signal box was closed on 28th April 1984 after 30 year when signalling in the area was taken over by Three Bridges Signalling Centre.

The web site author had the privilage for being stationed as an apprentice in the Signal and Telegraph department in 1969/70. The S&T mess room was located in the signal box in the downstairs rooms nearest the camera . The S&T and the signalmans cover was two people 24hours, during the day there was also a train register booking clerk

Norwood Junction

Front or Down main side of the 'Odeon' style box is seen here with an apparent all round clear view of the surrounding tracks. The box was usually double manned by two signalmen.

Norwood Junction in 1954

Looking south from platform 3 on the 6th March 1954, we see the new signalbox, the old South box is only just visible behind the new box. one can just make out the 3 new down line signals underneath the mechanical signals, The Down Relief line is farthest left, then the down local, then the down main, the up main is alongside platform 3, and the up local is behind the station name board on the extreme right. Picture from D Cullum, © D Cullum, reproduced by kind permission of Middleton Press, from their London Bridge to Addiscome book in the London suburban railways series published in 1993 ISBN 1873793200

BR(SR) Norwood Junction signal box - c.02/1980.

Rear View from Down side Norwood Junction signal box - c.02/1980. Picture reproduced by kind permission of © John Turner 53A Models of Hull The actual date the image was made is unknown; the indication given is based on the film processing date imprinted on the original slide.

SR Signalling Project Track diagram

The map reproduced above is from the 3 page document called 'Colour Light Signaling in the Norwood Triange' orignally published by the Railway Magazine in May 1954. This is available in a PDF file format for further study by pressing the link above.

Gloucester Road Junction, Norwood Junction & East Croydon basic track diagram

The complex track layout is shown above, with Norwood Junction, Selhurst & East Croydon clearly visible. East Croydon signalbox was located at the London End of the station adjacent the 'East' {Croydon Station) word on the map. Picture from the Railway Magazine, reproduced by kind permission of Middleton Press, from their Victoria to East Croydon book in the Southern mainlines series published in 1987 ISBN 0906520401

BR(SR) Norwood Junction signal box panel - c.02/1980.

BR(SR) Norwood Junction signal box panel - c.02/1980. This is the earliest internal picture that I have been able to obtain. By this date yje large Green NX Panel had been installed to control the Crystal Palace and Forest Hill areas. this addition also contained additional train describers. This picture is after the London Bridge NX scheme had been installed so the Forest Hill / Sydenham scheme had been removed tom the green panel and the London Bridge train describers installed. However we have been able to work out what each panel does (hopefully)

So starting from the far end of the signal box above the frame we have the London Bridge train describer set at 45 degress to the frame, Then the 2 wooden Train describer transmitters to Gloucester Road Junction. Then comes the large Westinghouse produced control panel which comprises of several sections; as follows from the far end
1) Train Describer (TD) from Streatham Junction 2) Crystal Palace NX Route setting panel 3) TD to Streatham Junction which included the emergency block bells 4) BLANK PANEL (more later) 5) TD to London Bridge 6) emergency block bells to London Bridge and Gloucester Road Junction. Lastly 7) TD to / from Beckenham Junction signal box. Finally comes the SGE wooden train describer receivers from Gloucester Road Junction for the up direction traffic.

We think that when the Forest Hill / Sydenham panels were fitted, that panel Panel 4 was the TD receiver form New Cross Gate, 5) was the Forest Hill / Sydenham NX Route setting panel 6) was the TD transmitter to New Cross Gate we also think panel 6 contained the emergency block bells to New Cross Gate and Gloucester Road Junction.

Also of note is the track diagram, Crystal Palace is just visable far end bottom of drawing, and Norwood Junction at this near end of the diagram. The main line are just about visable towards to top far end of the diagram. More details on the Diagram is futher down the web page and the signalling plans over the years.

Picture reproduced by kind permission of © John Turner 53A Models of Hull The actual date the image was made is unknown; the indication given is based on the film processing date imprinted on the original slide.
Click on picture above for larger image

Norwood Junction

Above we have the signal box at a later date circa 1980-83. by which time the TV screens had appeared and unfortunately all the large green Westinghouse NX and Trains describer system had been replace with visual display unit. Frankly I think it looks a mess compared with the previous picture, but hay ho they call it progress!

The frame is a Westinghouse Style 'L' Power Frame which is all electrically locked. The frame was formed of 11 x 12 way section which making a total of 107 levers, {11x12}-1 = 107 levers, as the last “lever” space is unavailable. 26 of these levers worked the points, 64 signal levers operated the coloured light signals, and there was 3 'Release' levers and 14 spare levers when the frame was supplied and installed. This made the working lever total of 93. Picture above by kind permission of G Williamson

Norwood Junction

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 train describers sending boxes are fitted on top of the frame box whilst the receiving train describer units are housed between the signalling diagrams. 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. 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. The desk for train recording is situated in the immediate front area.

Norwood Junction diagram

This is late on in the life of the signalbox around 1980-83 the left end of the diagram now connects with the London Bridge signalling scheme. and the Crystal palace line with the Victoria signalling scheme with most of the train approaching information being presented on the TV screens. Click on image for larger picture of track diagram in a new window. Picture above by kind permission of G Williamson.

Norwood Junction

King Levers
Of interesting note about the frame in Norwood Junction box were the king levers. They only featured in one other 'L' frame, at West London Junction. Painted brown and white a king lever is allows things to happen that interlocking normally prevents. These were all king levers, being releases for wrong direction moves to Down Beckenham, Down Relief and Down Local . I think the king levers at West London Junction allowed controlled signals to operate as automatics and enabled the box to switch out of circuit.

NX Panel 1
was commissioned 15th June 1969 to control the Forest Hill signalbox area, which included Sydenham station and Junction to Crystal Palace, This panel was abolished on 20th July 1975 when control transferred to London Bridge Signalling centre.

NX Panel 2
was commissioned 13th July 1969 to control Crystal Palace station area. Crystal Palace NX Panel "Fringed" with Streatham Junction, where there was also a small NX panel controlling the Tulse Hill Area.This panel abolished August 9th 1981, when control was transferred to the Victoria Signalling centre.

I think when Bromley Junction was abolished, the points and signals were added to the lever frame at Norwood Junction, rather than on the NX Panel.

BR Poster from 1955, of Norwood Junction called 'Signal sucess'

Terance Cunoe was commissioned by British Railways to paint a picture to reflect on the signalling just being commissioned in the 1955.

The picture shows Norwood Junction signal box just south of the station. The electric unit is on the up fast line, the down fast signal is at red, the green signal with white route lights is the down local line set to cross to the down main. The down local line has a subsidiary single yellow aspect light showing to access the down goods line.


Attached is British Railways signal instruction No1 of 1954 notice and signal instruction No1 of 1954 track diagram this can be downloaded in PDF format, this covers the opening of Norwood Junction, and Gloucester Road 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

Attached is British Railways signal instruction No 4 C.D. of 1969 notice for the alterations to colour light signalling between New Cross Gate, Norwood Junction and Crystal Palace (Abolition of Forest Hill signalbox and an entrance-exit panel was installed on 15th June 1969 to control the Forest Hill and Sydenham areas, .

Attached is British Railways signal instruction No 5 C.D. of 1969 notice for the introduction of clour ed light signalling within the area Gipsy Hill, Norwood Junction and Beckenham Junction (including Crystal Palace) and entrance-exit panel was installed on 13th July 1969 to control the Crystal Palace area

Adjacent boxes

London Bridge (up / down Thro Lines, up / down Local Lines ) Northbound

To the north Forest Hill signal box (2m 1571yds away) was the adjacent box except on the Down Local line where the adjacent box was Penge West signal box (1m 1030yds away). Penge West was closed on 21/08/1966 and Forest Hill signal box became to adjacent box and on all four running lines. Forest Hill signal box was closed on 15 June 1969 (controlled from a panel in Norwood Junction) and New Cross Gate (6m 151yds away) became the adjacent signal box. New Cross Gate signal box was closed on 20/07/1975 when London Bridge power signal box became the adjacent box.

London Bridge (up / down Thro Lines, up / down Local Lines ) Southbound

To the south Gloucester Road Junction signal box (1353yds away) was the adjacent box. Gloucester Road Junction was closed on 07/04/1984 when Three Bridge Signalling Centre became the adjacent box.

Bromley Line

Bromley Junction signal box (1315yds away) was the adjacent box. Bromley Junction was closed on 13/07/1969 the frame fringed to NX2 and then beyond that Streatham Jc (Tulse Hill panel). Balham was not involved. The box to the east at this date was indeed Beckenham Jc. Then with the closure of NX2 and the 6 levers working Bromley Jc (as mentioned above) on 9.8.81, Victoria ASC was adjacent, with the boundary halfway up the spur lines, so no longer a distinction between E/W bound.

Norwood Spur Line

Norwood Spur Junction signal box (1220yds away) was the adjacent box. The Norwood Spur Line was a single line unusually controlled by absolute block as it was for traffic from the Norwood Spur Junction to Norwood Junction direction only. It ceased to be used by regular traffic on 11/09/1959 and was taken out of use on 30/10/1966, the signal box was possibly closed on the same day.

Crystal Palace up and down branch line

On closure of Forest Hill and opening of NX1Panel on 15.6.69, Crystal Palace ‘C’ became the adjacent box for four weeks. Crystal Palace ‘C’ closed with opening of NX2 Panel on 13.7.69, hence NX1 then fringed to NX2; and beyond that once again Streatham Junction (TH panel). Closure of NX1 on 20.7.75 then left Norwood Jc frame fringe to London Bridge panel up the Main Line, and Norwood Jc NX2 fringe to LB panel between Crystal Palace and Sydenham. At its west end, NX2 still fringed to Streatham Junction (TH panel) until both were closed onto Victoria ASC, 9.8.81, as mentioned above under Bromley Line information.

Additional info:
Bromley Jc was removed from the frame on 9.8.81 and transferred to Victoria ASC, at the same time as NX2 and the Streatham Jc (Tulse Hill) panel