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LMS Route: Stratford Midland Junction - The Shakespeare Route

LMS Route: Evesham to Birmingham

Broom Junction West Signal Box: smj_brm396

British Railways Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 No 92213 approaches Broom West Signal Box with a westbound freight service

British Railways Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 No 92213 approaches Broom West Signal Box with a westbound freight service. The fireman would be standing on the other side of the cab ready to lean out to collect the staff before proceeding on to Evesham. Built by Swindon works in October 1959, No 92213 was allocated to 84C Banbury shed in November 1959 and was to remain in service with British Railways allocated to Banbury until November 1966 when it was withdrawn to be scrapped after being transferred to 12A Kingmoor shed in Carlisle by J McWilliams of Shettleston.

Broom West Signal Box was built to a wartime Air Raid Precaution (ARP) specification which were designed to prevent blast damage rather than a direct hit from a bomb. The London, Midland & Scottish Railway ARP design for instance was design to resist a direct hit from a mere 1kg. incendiary bomb. The ARP signal boxes were generally built with 13½ inch thick brick walls (the equivalent of one and half bricks thick) topped by a reinforced concrete roof with concrete floors and lintels. The use of brick and concrete to keep the amount of timber to a bare minimum, not only minimised the possibility of fire damage, but also to reduce the need for skilled labour to erect them. The London, Midland & Scottish Railway ARP signal box design was fitted with an 'Evanstone roof' designed and manufactured by Messrs Evanstone of Riddings. It was made of a pre-cast reinforced concrete roof 13 inches thick at the front and rear with a fall to the centre for draining rainwater, waterproofing being provided by bitumen, two layers of felt, asbestos, and chippings. Pre-cast concrete 'Evanstone beams' were used for the operating room floor, and unlike the other companies who tended to fit wooden staircases, in most cases a pre-cast concrete staircase was provided. Most of those built were fitted with metal window frames with concrete cills, lintels, and mullions. Of the 'Big Four', the London, Midland & Scottish Railway was the one company that seemed most of all to adhere to the original design, but even they built some non standard ARP design signal boxes. The LMS built approximately fifty ARP signal boxes between 1939 and 1950. Their robust construction meant that when no longer required they were often left standing as a shell, with only their equipment being removed. Courtesy David Ingham of www.pillbox-study-group.org.uk

This photograph is available in colour in 'The Lost Colour Collection Volume 1' ISBN 978-1-911262-04-6 Irwell Press Limited.