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My grandfather had been a stationmaster in Malvern and our whole family understood trains and signals.When I got a bit older, he explained how the signalling system works, and what actually happens inside those mysterious signal boxes - and I was hooked!It has four 'dolls' because there were four possible lines a passing train could be routed onto.
I have organised this selection into separate pages for the former Great Western and Great Central joint line, Marylebone - Neasden (South) Jct, Acton - Cricklewood, Upper Holloway - Junction Road Jct, various North London Line locations, Camden Jct - Watford on the 'DC lines', and Kings Cross - Finsbury Park.Most of the other rail fans I knew were mainly interested in locomotives, so it struck me that somebody ought to be pointing a camera at these signals, as the traditional semaphore variety were rapidly disappearing by then.Apart from being very colourful, there was a wonderful variety of unique configurations and many different styles of former railway companies.Each has its own style of spectacle glass casing too, and see how the rightmost doll is missing its finial!The distant (lower, yellow) arms on the second and fourth dolls are of an unusual pattern that was only found at Newton Abbot - these are operated by motors (the black boxes) mounted immediately behind the arms themselves, a very rare arrangment, and again have a distinctive spectacle glass holder design. The shorter home arm on the very left leads to a lower-grade goods line, and the distant arm on the 3rd doll is fixed to indicate that trains must always proceed with caution when travelling by that route.
My original aim was not to provide detailed explanations of signalling here.