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GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Bordesley Station: gwrbg2280

Bordesley North Signal Box viewed from the Birmingham city-centre side on 20th March 1966

Bordesley North Signal Box viewed from the Birmingham city-centre side on 20th March 1966. This signal box was located next to the Up Main Line, where the sidings serving the cattle dock on the unused Duddeston viaduct diverged. It replaced a smaller signal box on Bordesley Station, when the track was quadrupling from Bordesley to Small Heath and the station layout remodelled. The Bordesley North Signal Box was opened on 1st September 1918 and was typical of the types then under construction. It is a Great Western Railway standard type 27C signal box of timber construction with a hipped roof, torpedo vents and a stove pipe chimney. The dimensions of this signal box were 29 feet long by 11 feet wide by 11 feet from rail height to the operating floor. The operating floor was accessed by an internal staircase and had the sliding three up / two down pane windows which are intrinsically associated with the Great Western Railway. The Signal Box housed a 47 lever, vertical tappet, three bar locking (VT3) frame with the levers set 4” between centres. There were six spare levers in the frame. This signal box closed on 26th February 1967, when the track arrangement was rationalised.

In the foreground can be seen a gradient post indicating that the line descended from this point. In fact the line from here to Moor Street dropped slightly (1 in 190 gradient) over a distance of 8 chains, then ran level on the viaduct for 59 chains, before rising steeply (1 in 45 gradient) for a distance of 24 chains which included the Snow Hill Tunnel. Special instructions were issued regarding the hand braking by the guard of Up trains to reduce the risk of slack couplings parting on the climb out of the dip and to Down trains to ensure Engines were not required to stop and restart prior to the rise through the tunnel. In the background, behind the Signal Box can be seen the cattle dock pens. A contract for the construction of these was let in February 1914 to W Pattinson & Sons of Westminster.

Robert Ferris