For those of you who never had the experience of visiting Rhyl’s signal Box (and I am unfortunately in that category) Alan Roberts gives a silent walk through of the box which lies just beyond Platform 1 and before the Grange Road Bridge. It backs on to the car park.
You get some impression of how important Rhyl was as a railway site from the number of levers in the box. The red levers control signals, as does the yellow lever – which covers a distant signal (traditionally a yellow semaphore signal with a black band and a notch cut in the end. The black levers control points and blue ones control facing point locks. The white levers are signals that have been taken out of operation.
When you consider that there was a second box at the other end of platform 1 of a similar size which controlled the old engine shed and the sidings, as well what was until the late sixties a four track mainline, you get some impression of the complexity and responsibility that the signalmen and women had to control.
Alan Roberts, a Rhyl signalman, and Adrian Schofield, took these pictures on the last day of operation at the box on Friday 23rd March 2018. Alan worked the 0600 to 1800 shift.
Over the weekend all the old semaphore arms will be taken out of use and the lines will in future be controlled by the coloured light signals shown in the final picture.
Thank you Alan, and all your colleagues who have kept this section of track safe over the years.
Since it opened in 1848, the North Wales line has been controlled from signal boxes, spaced every few miles along the coast. The line has enjoyed a very good safety record thanks to the efforts of these signalmen and women.
On Friday 23rd March 2018, all this history comes to an end as the signal boxes will be finally switched out, to be replaced by one of the regional signal boxes. Eventually all the lines in the UK will be controlled by just 10 boxes.
I’d just like to thank all those who have provided for our safety over the years.
I’ve always been fascinated by what happened in those boxes, the pulling of levers, the ringing of bells. I remember when Rhyl had large gantries of signals by the Grange Road and H bridge . These could be seen for miles and would be in action every few minutes in summertime. Rhyl No 1 and Number 2 boxes were responsible for them and all the movements in the shed, carriage shed and the yard.
Robin Harrison has put together this video, based on some of the local signal boxes.