Locking room doors

Any aspect related to the structures and equipment on the Caledonian Railway Company.

Locking room doors

Postby jimwatt2mm » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:46 pm

I am currently drawing up the signal box for Kirkallanmuir. It will be a standard southern section timber box. For sighting reasons the floor will be 20ft above rail level and,because of the narrow site between the weighbridge/colliery line and the down loop the front will be slightly over-sailing.

My question is this. Was there any 'rule' for the position of the locking room door? I've looked through the photos in Jim's book and there seems to be no consistent pattern, with some under the cabin door, some on the same end but at the front and some (most?) at the other end.

Drawing as it stands at the moment with the stairs, railings and supports in blue and cyan.

signal box web.JPG
signal box web.JPG (32.46 KiB) Viewed 170 times

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Re: Locking room doors

Postby dumb buffer » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:56 am


I was once privileged to visit the locking room of Plean Junction Box, and an abiding memory is that there wasn't a lot of spare space around the locking frame. Since the lever frame seems usually to be offset to one end or the other of the box, that might give some guide as to where there was most room to wiggle through the door of the locking room.

Another thought that occurs to me is that there is in the Archive a drawing of the fancy cast iron brackets supporting the walkway. It may be in the Signalling book, or you may have indeed used it in your drawing. It's too small for me to see (but that never held you back!)

Allan F
dumb buffer
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Re: Locking room doors

Postby Graham R » Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:03 pm


"The Signal Box: A Pictorial History and Guide to Designs" (OPC 1986) suggests that operating-room doors and access stairs usually faced oncoming trains so signalmen were less likely to be run down, and that locking-room doors were frequently at the same end of the building under the operating room door. Also, that locking-rooms, being the province of the S&T rather than the operating department, were used for material storage when there was space, and finally that the locking-room door position was often moved when a frame was changed from the front to the back of the box. All of that is generic rather than Caley-specific, however, and does not really answer your question. I agree that photo evidence shows doors at either end.

I wonder if there was a tendency to build the access door at the end away from the prevailing wind, to limit ingress of grit, especially in mining areas.

The aforementioned book also reproduces an 1875 drawing for a 20'x10' timber oversailing box sited on a viaduct (the base is 20'x8' and partly supported on brackets out from the side of the viaduct, so that only 6' or so of it is actually on a solid base) at "Rutherglen Loan Junction", from the (then) SRO, whose website index attributes it (RHP 39422) to the Glasgow and Kilmarnock Joint. This seems a bit odd geographically for a Rutherglen box ... maybe it was part of a never-built scheme; I am pretty sure there was no box with that exact name at Rutherglen, but maybe it was like Lesmahagow Junction, named for the destination rather than the location. Rutherglen North was an oversailing timber design, but not much like RHP39422 (in fact, much more like your own drawing). Does anyone know more?

Interesting to you maybe is that the operating floor was 20' above rail level, the cast brackets supporting the oversailing part look considerably beefier than those on your drawing, the stair handrail has crossed timber strengtheners between the uprights and is steeper (52 degrees off horizontal), and the roof apex has a fancy cast decoration along its whole length. Let me know if you want me to bring the book along next time our paths cross.

Graham R
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Re: Locking room doors

Postby Jim Summers » Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:56 pm

According to the Signalbox Register, Gorbals Junction is probably the box. The Register says "possibly known as Rutherglen Loan on opening" (in 1876). It also categorises it as the Caledonian's S4 design, as does the OPC book.
I look forward to Jim's model version of the ornamental ironwork on the roof.

Jim Summers
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Re: Locking room doors

Postby jimwatt2mm » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:19 pm

Thanks for the comments gentlemen. It looks, as I thought, that the position of the door was to suit the circumstances. I'm minded to put it under the cabin door.

Graham, regarding which way the steps faced, I distinctly remember that Greenfoot had the steps on the opposite end from approaching traffic, but that might be because the other end was directly on the edge of the road, presumably so that the box was as close as possible to the level crossing. See p151 of the signalling book. The locking room door,however, was on the road end. The section of the down loop in front of Kirkallanmuir box is bi-directional, although the steps do face the 'normal' direction.

As to the brackets under the over-sail, I made them the same as those supporting the walking boards round the windows which I'd measured up on Haughhead Junction box just before it was demolished. The over-sail is only 2ft, so not much scope for making them much heavier.

Hate to disappoint Jim S, but the ridge of the roof will be plain, as on the boxes on P227 of his book. NOT like Paisley Goods or Arkleston Junction on the opposite page! :(

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