Most rail enthusiasts have at some point made the pilgrimage to Barnetby. With plenty of semaphore signals there and at nearby Wrawby Junction, and with freight trains outnumbering passenger services, Barnetby has always been one of Britain’s most popular railway locations. Sadly, the re-signalling of the Scunthorpe to Cleethorpes route at the end of 2015 will see not only the removal of the semaphore signals, but also the closure of ten signal boxes along the route. The local Network Rail staff wanted the boxes to be captured in action for posterity, and this programme is the result of that project.
In this DVD, you will see inside each and every box in the area. In the manual boxes, the Signallers are seen working the levers and block instruments in much the same way as more than a century ago in Victorian times. At the more complex boxes such as Barnetby East, Wrawby Junction and Brocklesby Junction, the Signallers explain the local layout and signalling operation.
The programme features all ten boxes along the 60-mile route that were due to close in December 2015 – Appleby, Elsham, Wrawby Junction, Barnetby East, Brocklesby Junction, Ulceby, Roxton, Stallingborough (including the original box with the gate wheel and semaphores), Marsh Junction and Pasture Street. And there’s a few more for good measure - Immingham Reception (the last surviving electrically-powered box with slide levers), Immingham West and the original box at Immingham East which closed in 2012. There’s also a quick look at the little-used Grimsby Light Railway. This DVD also includes a separate short introduction to the basics of railway signalling, including a demonstration at Wrawby Junction of how Absolute Block actually works.
The main programme highlights the sheer variety of the signalling in the area. Apart from Appleby and Elsham, no two signal boxes are identical. They are all fascinating in their own way and between them they cover virtually the entire signalling spectrum, including gate wheels, wooden staffs, hand-operated crossing gates and manual lever frames to the more modern Entrance-Exit panels. However, this programme is not just confined to the inside of the signal boxes - there are plenty of unique and previously unseen views of the passing passenger and freight trains that are usually only seen by the signalling staff. There is plenty of heavy freight traffic hauled by Class 60s and 66s with freight operators DB Schenker, GB Railfreight and Freightliner Heavy Haul working in and out of Immingham Docks and the Oil Refineries at Lindsey and Humber.
The featured signal boxes come in all shapes, sizes and ages, with the oldest structure dating back to 1883. Sadly, the sound of ringing bells and clunking levers is fast disappearing as the network is modernised. This programme is a historical reminder of a part of railway operation that is gradually being consigned to history. If you have ever stood on Barnetby station and wondered how Barnetby and Wrawby Junction signal boxes operate, then wonder no more. It’s all in this DVD!
Produced by - Locomaster Profiles
Running time - 120 Minutes
Format - DVD only
Released - November 2015