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LMS Route: Evesham to Birmingham

Broom Junction Station: mrbj158a

Close up showing a gang of plate layers at work on the SMJ line

Close up of image 'mrbj158' showing a gang of platelayers taking a break from their work on the SMJ line to Bidford. The platelayers hut was used to store the heavier tools and spares required to maintain the track. There must have been a number of major issues to action as normally the line was under the care of one man. The ganger (chief platelayer) would walk a specific section of line and would carry a long spanner to tighten the bolts of fishplates (the plate that joins rails together), a hammer to tighten the wooden chocks that hold the rail within the chairs and spikes to secure to secure the chair to the railway sleeper. Good visibility out of a signal box was extremely important and therefore one of the duties of a signalman was to keep the windows clean. To aid this the signal box has been fitted with a gangway beneath each section of window. On the left is the landing stage which connected the door to the footsteps. The Midland Railway was almost unique in that its signal boxes were equipped with its footsteps up to the landing stage being off-set to the doorway. This meant that the 'bobby', the nickname for signalmen, would be less likely to have an accident by tripping and falling down the steps.