Welcome to the first of my Westhill Road Ramblings as I think thoughts (or why isn’t that thunk?), yes dangerous I know, to develop the concept in my mind / imagination and start to make actual physical progress on my new little scenic diorama type layout. To read my introduction to Westhill Road click here. As the layout progresses my imagination, vision , concepts and ideas board will be covered via such ramblings posts, whilst more details on some of the physical items will be covered in my Workbench Witterings series.
Now on to the main subject of this post the signal cabin. The original thought in my mind I had for Westhill Road, with its small level Crossing and minimum signalling and only one point (plus a co-acting trap point) for the siding, was to utilise one of the lovely Kernow Model Rail Centre LSWR ground frame cabins.
However upon developing the concept for the layout further and looking at signal Box diagrams for similar locations on the Southern, and having created a signal box diagram for Westhill Road that required a 10 lever frame, I soon realised that such a ground frame and cabin would actually be too small.
I initially thought about using my scratch built model of Hawkhurst signal box that I built from scratch many years ago now, when still a teenager, but feel that using such signal box at this location would possibly also be out of character for a small wayside halt and crossing location as Westhill Road and maybe affect the balance of buildings I intend to have on the layout, as it will located directly in front of the roadside combined station masters house / booking office.
I decided to take a look at the idea of using ground-based signal box. The LSWR have a number of different types of boxes, as the design involved throughout the years, small ground versions of the signal cabins were quite common across the network at smaller locations such as level crossing gates and small stations and these could either be directly mounted on the ground or onto a station platform. I therefore settled on the idea of an LSWR type 3B signal cabin as these were used at similar crossing gate locations.
These Type 3B boxes were introduced in 1889 and were generally located in and around Plymouth and also on the Ilfracombe line in North Devon, including wonderfully named locations such as Stoney Mill Gates, Vellator Gates and Duckpool Gates. Unlike the earlier Type 3 and 3A boxes they did not have toplights (replaced with weatherboard or any ornamental valances. As these ground level boxes did not have an interlocking room beneath the floor they utilised a raised ‘knee frame’ with shorter levers.
This slightly more plain style is, in my thinking, ideal for Westhill Road as it gives a slightly more general and not to area / company specific appearance. I have therefore knocked up a quick scratch built version of such a ground box, that is internally detailed, complete with a knee frame and each individual short lever, coloured to match the Westhill Road signal box plan, and illuminated (as will all the buildings I build for Westhill Road). I will detail the build process in a near future Workbench Witterings post before you ask, and although I do not yet have the actual layout built to plonk it on, I already feel of the three options it will look the part.