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GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Bordesley Station: gwrbg2276

Looking south towards Tyseley from the edge of the island platform that served the relief lines at Bordesley Station on 18th July 1963

Looking south towards Tyseley from the edge of the island platform that served the relief lines at Bordesley Station on 18th July 1963. The main lines, on the left, were served by a second island platform, while the through line on the extreme right was the down goods line to Moor Street. On either side was a headshunt spur from the sidings in Bordesley Junction yard. These sidings and Bordesley South Signal Box (which is just visible in the distance), were beyond the ex-Midland Railway viaduct. The headshunt spur on the up side is holding the tail end of a loaded coal train, note that the brake van (telegraphic code Toad) has a side lamp in addition to the white tail lamp. This was a requirement when there were multiple running lines. Also beyond the viaduct embankment, on the right is the four storey reinforced concrete warehouse built by the Great Western Railway in 1931.

The tubular steel gantry signal at the end of the island platform indicated the route set for the up relief line. The tubular steel post and braced gantry platform design was introduced during the Second World War when the traditional timber posts were unavailable. The semaphore signals on the tallest middle post were the up relief line starter and distant signals. The slightly lower pair on the left hand post were for the crossover to the up main, while the lowest signal (on the right) was for the crossover to the up goods loop. The height of the signal arms reflected their priority and in addition because the goods loop was a subsidiary route, the semaphore signal arm was only four foot long, while the other signal arms are five foot long. The two crossovers diverged from the up relief line beyond the viaduct by Bordesley South Signal Box. This was the Signal Box which controlled the starting signals on this post. The two distance signals were controlled by the signalman in Small Heath North Signal Box which was the next block section 1,458 yards from this signal. If they are set to caution, they warn the driver that either the home or starter signals in the next block are set to stop. Due to the physical distance, the two distance signals were each operated using an electrical motor, the enclosures for these motors can be seen attached to the posts, level with the handrail of the platform gantry. The white diamond on the signal post under the platform gantry indicated that there was track circuit indication on this track section, Track circuits were introduced when the lines were quadrupled in 1918.

In the centre of the track of the up relief line, adjacent to the signal post, is an Automatic Train Control (ATC) ramp. This was a safety system that operated an audible alarm in the locomotive driver's cab if the relevant distance signal was set to Caution as the locomotive past the ramp. If this alarm was not accepted, the train's vacuum brakes would be automatically applied. The wooden hut at the end of the platform provided some protection for a Fogsignalman, who was provided with coloured lamps, red, green and yellow flags and at least 36 detonators. When the starting signal for the set route was at Danger, the Fogsignalman was required to display a red light, exhibit a red flag and place a detonator on the track (where there was ATC, two detonators were placed 10 yards apart). If the starting signal was set to All Clear, but the distant signal was set to Caution, then a yellow light and flag were displayed, in addition to the detonator.

Robert Ferris