Southern Signals
Semaphore Signals

Some more single post signals.
Signal A starting signal mounted on a lattice post with a slightly smaller second arm underneath the main arm. This could be either a "Warning", a "Shunt Ahead" or a "Calling On" arm, depending on requirements, with the box on the right of the signal post displaying either the letter 'W' 'S' or 'C' as appropriate when the lower arm is off.

Photographed at Sandown, IoW, May 1977.

photograph by Clive Standen

The warning signal was used to inform a Driver that the line ahead was only clear until the next home signal. When raised under the signal controlling the entrance to the section ahead (which, of course, cannot be raised) the Driver would know that the section was clear but that the station or junction ahead was blocked. This warning signal would not be pulled off until the train had been brought to, or nearly to, a stand at the signal.
The shunt ahead signal was used to authorise a Driver to pass the main signal at Danger for shunting purposes only. His train could not proceed on its journey until the signal controlling the entrance to the section had been pulled off.
The calling on signal allows a driver to make a movement into an occupied stretch of line.
Another, similar, signal also photographed on the Isle of Wight, though this has a more modern rail-built post. This photograph was taken at Shanklin on 30 may 1966.

photograph by Ray Soper

Starting signal Left: The bay starting signal at Exeter Central which was where the Exmouth trains would start from. Nowadays they begin their journey at Exeter St Davids! Or run through from Barnstaple.

Right: A gallows signal at Exeter Central. This was an alternative to the bracket signal more normally used.

photographs by Paul Martin

Starting signal
Sometimes a bracket would be used in a situation like this, but here at Tunbridge Wells West two starting signals, with accompanying shunt dummies, stood alongside each other at the end of their respective platforms, photographed during August 1975. They are classic Southern Railway rail-built posts with Upper Quadrant arms and Westinghouse dummies at their base. There is another Westinghouse dummy on the right of the photograph, partly in the shadow of a 'Thumper' that is just arriving. Under the bridge can be seen another single post signal, this time with a main arm and a subsidiary arm.

photograph by Clive Standen

Signal A closer view of the signal referred to above shows the subsidiary arm carries the letter 'S'. This identifies it as a "Shunt Ahead" signal where the identification is on the arm itself, as opposed to an indicator alongside a plain arm.

photograph by Clive Standen

Signal The Up Starting Signal at Parkstone showing the front view and, on the right, the finial and rear view with 34046 Braunton in the platform.

The plate on the post above the arm informs drivers that Intermediate Block Section Rules apply on the route ahead. IBS was quite common at one time on the former L&SWR routes where there were long stretches between 'boxes and a relatively high line speed, though very rare on the former LB&SCR and SE&CR routes with their shorter distances between 'boxes.
The IBS plate and Rule 55 Diamond look a lot cleaner than the signal arm, so maybe they had recently been replaced.

photograph by Michael Blackbourn


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This page was last updated 17th November 2008

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