Farewell to Arms
rail enthusiasts have at some point made the pilgrimage to Barnetby.
With plenty of semaphore signals there and at nearby Wrawby Junction,
and with freight trains outnumbering passenger services, Barnetby has
always been one of Britain’s most popular railway locations. Sadly,
the re-signalling of the Scunthorpe to Cleethorpes route at the end of
2015 will see not only the removal of the semaphore signals, but also
the closure of ten signal boxes along the route. The local Network Rail
staff wanted the boxes to be captured in action for posterity, and this
programme is the result of that project.
In this DVD, you will see inside each and every box in the area. In
the manual boxes, the Signallers are seen working the levers and block
instruments in much the same way as more than a century ago in Victorian
times. At the more complex boxes such as Barnetby East, Wrawby Junction
and Brocklesby Junction, the Signallers explain the local layout and
The programme features all ten boxes along the 60-mile route that
were due to close in December 2015 – Appleby, Elsham, Wrawby Junction,
Barnetby East, Brocklesby Junction, Ulceby, Roxton, Stallingborough
(including the original box with the gate wheel and semaphores), Marsh
Junction and Pasture Street. And there’s a few more for good measure -
Immingham Reception (the last surviving electrically-powered box with
slide levers), Immingham West and the original box at Immingham East
which closed in 2012. There’s also a quick look at the little-used
Grimsby Light Railway. This DVD also includes a separate short
introduction to the basics of railway signalling, including a
demonstration at Wrawby Junction of how Absolute Block actually works.
The main programme highlights
the sheer variety of the signalling in the area. Apart from Appleby
and Elsham, no two signal boxes are identical. They are all
fascinating in their own way and between them they cover virtually the
entire signalling spectrum, including gate wheels, wooden staffs,
hand-operated crossing gates and manual lever frames to the more
modern Entrance-Exit panels. However, this programme is not just
confined to the inside of the signal boxes - there are plenty of
unique and previously unseen views of the passing passenger and
freight trains that are usually only seen by the signalling staff.
There is plenty of heavy freight traffic hauled by Class 60s and 66s
with freight operators DB Schenker, GB Railfreight and Freightliner
Heavy Haul working in and out of Immingham Docks and the Oil
Refineries at Lindsey and Humber.
The featured signal boxes come in all shapes, sizes and ages, with
the oldest structure dating back to 1883. Sadly, the sound of ringing
bells and clunking levers is fast disappearing as the network is
modernised. This programme is a historical reminder of a part of railway
operation that is gradually being consigned to history. If you have ever
stood on Barnetby station and wondered how Barnetby and Wrawby Junction
signal boxes operate, then wonder no more. It’s all in this DVD!