Thursday, 30 June 2011

Track Diagrams: Wednesfield Midland

(Click on image to enlarge)

T - Tubular post signal
D - Doll (reduced-size shunting arm)

Although the Midland Railway fascinated me, it always seemed a bit 'foreign' compared with the London and North Western where I grew up in Wolverhampton.

The Midland had thrown out a branch from Castle Bromwich, on the main line from Birmingham to Derby, which reached right into Wolverhampton (also making a triangular junction with the London and North Western at Walsall). In between Wolverhampton No. 1 signal box (a no-nonsense L&NW design) and Portobello Junction (an 'A.R.P.' box by the time I knew it) lay Heath Town Junction box, controlling the junction between the Midland Branch and the Wolverhampton to Bescot line. And this box, right in 'Nor-Wessie' territory was an exotic-looking Midland box!

I'm sorry that I never had a chance to visit Heath Town Junction box, and that I didn't pay more attention to the sporadic freight working on the Midland branch.

In fact, it was June 1967 before I visited Wednesfield Midland station and recorded what I could see. Back home, I produced a 'fair copy' (oddly, using a blue fountain pen). By that time, the signal box was no longer a Block Post and just served as a Shunting Frame.

Of particular interest was the elderly Midland lower-quadrant 'gallows' signal, with the arm offset to the right and placed as low as possible, to improve sighting (presumably because of the road overbridge which would tend to obscure an approaching driver's view).