Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Any aspect related to the structures and equipment on the Caledonian Railway Company.
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dunalastairv
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Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by dunalastairv »

Most readers will be aware of the nameplates the C.R. fitted to its signal boxes - in the majority of cases a small blue enamelled plate with white letters and a white border, displaying the name in 3" high letters. These were usually made by the Patent Enamel Company, of Selly Oak, Birmingham, whose works once stood adjacent to Selly Oak Station. This Company was founded in 1889 and its motif, a sort of hexagon-shaped logo, can be found at the bottom right on most of these plates. The Caledonian also purchased a few nameplates from the Falkirk Iron Company - Drumvaich and Justinhaugh being two examples - and these have 4 1/2" high letters, again with a white edge line, all on a deep blue background, with the Falkirk name in full at the bottom right. The plates were fitted on the front of the signal boxes, in the centre, and usually screwed directly to the window sill, though Drumvaich for example, was attached to a wooden backboard, painted burnt umber, and fixed to the brickwork. The plates with 3" letters must have been quite difficult to read at any distance or speed.

So far, so good, but what do correspondents know of the wooden nameboards, with cast-iron letters, which are visible in many photographs? The conventional wisdom has it that these are all of L.M.S. manufacture, and follow on from an instruction issued in August 1935 by A.F.Bound, the Chief Signal Engineer, in Engineering Serial No. 76. This decreed that wooden boards, with 6" high cast-iron letters attached, be fixed in pairs, one on each end of the signal box, and painted black with white letters. People with a knowledge of C.R. signal boxes will immediately realize that many did not conform to this instruction!

There appear to have been two very distinct type faces used, and neither of these follow the Midland-derived style of letters which were found on signal box boards all over the L.M.S. in England. The first was a rounder and very chunky design, similar to, or the same as, that used on the C.R. station nameboards - but half the size. (See the picture of Crawford on page 41 of T.T.L. No. 119.) These boards appeared on the main line north of Carlisle, at Rockcliffe, Dinwoodie, Wamphray and Strawfrank Junction for example. At these places the L.M.S. instruction did seem to be followed, as the boards were indeed on each end of the cabins. The second design, where the letters are thinner and more upright, can be seen in many of the pictures in Alistair Maclean's Motherwell article, in T.T.L. No. 118, where most of the boxes have only one nameboard, on the front, and painted white with black letters!

Conventional wisdom also seems to imply that all the L.M.S. nameboards used in Scotland were manufactured at Irvine Signal Department, since the Highland and Caledonian works were closed shortly after the Grouping - but is this true, and if so, why use at least two different styles of lettering? A final thought - the boxes at Motherwell Colliery, Motherwell South and Park Street in Alistair's article, are all fitted with flat boards, without edgings, and very decorative ends, in a most untypical L.M.S. style. Are these actually C.R. and do any survive to be photographed or measured? All responses would be very gratefully received and in between time, I'll try to find out how to upload images to illustrate what I've written here. Michael Dunn, no. 892.
dunalastairv
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by dunalastairv »

Unfortunately my (very) limited computer ability does not extend to working out how to put the six images I have in the photographs section of my computer, on to this post I've just written to illustrate the various points. Can anybody assist? (Sitting blankly staring at the screen and swearing quietly to myself doesn't appear to work.) :!:
JimG
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by JimG »

dunalastairv wrote:Unfortunately my (very) limited computer ability does not extend to working out how to put the six images I have in the photographs section of my computer, on to this post I've just written to illustrate the various points. Can anybody assist? (Sitting blankly staring at the screen and swearing quietly to myself doesn't appear to work.) :!:
When you open up the box to post a reply to a message on a thread, if you scroll down the page you will see two tabs at the bottom of the page - "Options" and "Upload Attachment". If you click on "Upload Attachment", you will be presented with a dialog box looking for a file name, or showing a "Browse" button which, if pressed, will let you search you computer for a file. Once you've got a file name in the box, you press the "Add the file" button, and the file will be uploaded to the forum.

When it is uploaded an entry appears below the text area with the name of the file. To place the picture in your text, place the cursor on the line where you want the picture to start and press "Place Inline" and the picture will be placed at that place in your text. You don't actually see the picture but a text entry like

"[xattachment=0]Cal48Pic007.jpg[/xattachment]"
(I've added the "x" to the start of the "attachment" word to stop the software trying to show a picture. :) )

You can go on repeating the procedure with more files.

To see what your message looks like with the pictures, press the "Preview" button which will be below the list of uploaded files. If you want to change anything, hit the browser back button to get you back into your text editing setup and do any changes you want. If you are happy, hit the "Submit" button next to the "Preview" button.

One word of warning. Your pictures must be no wider than 800 pixels and no higher than 600 pixels or the uploading procedure will be aborted. If they are larger than these sizes then you will have to use a graphic file handing program (like IrfanView) to resample/resize the picture to get withing the size limits.
Jim Summers
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by Jim Summers »

Michael,
Would you mind awfully if your splendid summary on the Caledonian nameplates appeared verbatim in the Association's book on Signalling?
It is so much better that wot I wrote.

Thanks to John Young, I have such plates to use for illustration, but could stand some more, if anyone has any to offer.

Unfortunately I cannot add anything useful to your knowledge of the LMS ones, but I do muse in the book on the various abbreviations of "Junction".


Jim S
jimwatt2mm
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Back in the early 1960's I (mis?)spent much of my spare time at Greenfoot signal box which was only a mile from our home in Annathill. If a certain signalman was on shift, my friend and I 'worked' the box, taking turns on the levers and the bells, while Bob wrote up the book. I have a photo taken on my Brownie 120 camera which shows the box with the name boards mounted just below the handrail round the windows over the first two windows at the front of each end (it was a standard southern section box on a brick base). Unfortunately it is not clear enough to read the name or determine the font used, but I do recall that it was raised white letters on a black ground with a raised white surround. I also recall that the name on the next box south, Garnqueen North Junction, was in similar style, but mounted on the front of the box on the wall of the locking room.

Jim W
Dave Lochrie
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Michael, by co-incidence I had been collecting a handfull of images of signalbox fittings and fixtures into a file to send by email to the author of the forthcoming CR Signalling book. I had been collecting details of name plates with the intention of re-creating the font digitaly to enable of reproducing these in 4 and 7mm for modellers. The naming of signalboxes was a BoT requirement, presumably for the benefits of train crews and guards, so it has always struck me as odd that the Caledonian chose to fulfill this using such a stylised and condensed typeface which would have restricted legibility from any angle other than full-on! I see Jim has access to John Young's collection (envious) so perhaps he can clarify some points.

My notes show the attached Falkirk Iron Co example at CRIEFF WEST to measure 42" X 9" scaling the lettering at 6", the plate for FORTH BRIDGE box(which has seen some restoration) which from the font appears Patent Enamel Co but the letters are 4.5"? The other givaway for Patent Enamel signs is that the name was always off-centre to the left to accomodate their hexagon logo which in photos can also appear to be in the position of a full-stop after the name, so that even in examples where this has been painted over the clue is still there and where the border is intact.
CR Signal Box Enamel Names.jpg
CR Signal Box Enamel Names.jpg (78.96 KiB) Viewed 13382 times


I have poorer pictures of the plates for CALLANDER (doesn't specify which), COLLISTON, LEYSMILL, LIFF and MONIKIE, of these COLLISTON, LEYSMILL and MONIKIE are definately Patent Enamel, CALLANDER appears to be but without the logo and LIFF has no border and a less stylised font. The border on many (but not all) Patent Enamel signs had what coachbuilders describe as incurved or quadrant corners.

Like Michael I have always considered the bordered or unbordered signs with the individual cast letters to have been an LMS update, and though probably easier to read, this does not appear to have been the sole motivation or else why did so many enamel names survive into BR days.

Oh and one nigley question, do we talk about Boxes or Cabins on the Caledonian? -official company documents usually refer to Boxes, but some enthusiasts, including ex-bobbies talk about Cabins which I understand to be the correct term on the Highland. (ducks below parapet!)

Dave L
Last edited by Dave Lochrie on Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
dunalastairv
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by dunalastairv »

Many thanks to the people who have already replied to my post on this subject. Could I please acknowledge as follows:-
JIM.G. I followed your instructions and it did work - except that as you warned, my pictures contain too many pixels, and are the wrong size, so they cannot be uploaded. Never mind.
JIM.S. I would be very honoured to have you use my summary, and am delighted to say yes. I have a number of illustrations that might be useful for your book and I've asked Jim. MacIntosh to put us in touch directly. Many thanks to you also for your amplified details of signal lever colours.
JIM.W. My thanks to you for your note about Greenfoot - the boards sound as if they were one or other of the L.M.S. types I describe.
DAVE. LOCHRIE. In addition to Drumvaich, I own four of the Patent Enamel plates, viz:- Shieldhill, Colliston, Leysmill and Forgandenny. I would be very happy to let you have decent photographs of them, except Forgandenny, which is in a cabinet at the Kidderminster Railway Museum and difficult to get at. Please contact me directly through Jim. MacIntosh. John Young now owns Crieff West - I stepped aside at auction to let him bid on it, though I would very much like to have had it myself! Liff went to the Winchcombe Railway Museum and is on display there, along with much else Caledonian or Caley Joint Lines. Your Forth Bridge plate is of particular interest - yes, it does look like a Patent Enamel font and I wonder if at a later stage the Caley decided 3" high letters just weren't big enough? More illustrations required... And no, I'm not going to offer an opinion on 'box' or 'cabin'!
Best wishes to all, Michael Dunn.
JimG
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:15 pm

Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by JimG »

dunalastairv wrote:JIM.G. I followed your instructions and it did work - except that as you warned, my pictures contain too many pixels, and are the wrong size, so they cannot be uploaded. Never mind.
As I mentioned in my previous message, it is worth downloading a free image handling program like Irfanview to re-size images for uploading to forums or for attaching to emails. The Irfanview download site is here....

http://irfanview.todownload.com/?gclid= ... tAoduVsAaQ

.... and it has quite easy commands to crop and/or resize pictures. We would like to see your pictures. :)

Jim.
Angus McIntosh
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by Angus McIntosh »

One vote for CABIN.
CR CABIN PLATE.pdf
(44.18 KiB) Downloaded 421 times
Angus
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 685
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by jimwatt2mm »

JimG wrote: As I mentioned in my previous message, it is worth downloading a free image handling program like Irfanview to re-size images for uploading to forums or for attaching to emails. The Irfanview download site is here....

http://irfanview.todownload.com/?gclid= ... tAoduVsAaQ

.... and it has quite easy commands to crop and/or resize pictures. We would like to see your pictures. :)

Jim.
You can also use Microsoft Office Picture Manager, which is part of MSOffice. In windows Explorer, right click on the picture you want to resize, select 'open with' / 'Microsoft office Picture Manager'. When the file opens, click on the 'picture' menu and select 'Resize'. There is a 800x600 pixel option (among others) by clicking the down arrow on the box on the right.

HTH,

Jim W
Jim Summers
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by Jim Summers »

This nomenclature business is getting interesting in regard to cabins and boxes.
Here is what the draft for the book says:

"Some railways called them signal cabins, and some called them signal boxes, but from the evidence, from engineering drawings to Board Minutes, the Caledonian called its signalling control installations by both names. The Rule Book and Appendix, however, refer regularly to ‘boxes’, so the presumption must be that this was the common expression used by the operating staff."

I'll spare you at the moment the lengthy paragraph on the naming of multiple boxes at the same location, or indeed the naming of boxes where they aren't eg Wemyss Bay Junction.

Thanks to everyone for all the other information on this thread, and that plate by Angus says more than a thousand words I suppose.

Jim S
John Paton
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by John Paton »

Interesting thread!

Here are two exceptions to the enamelled plates. It may be that the boards on these boxes were considered part of the overall station signage, and were therefore slightly more in accordance with station sign designs.

John
Attachments
Glenagles SB elevation.jpeg
Glenagles SB elevation.jpeg (116.85 KiB) Viewed 13293 times
Glasgow Central003.jpg
Glasgow Central003.jpg (148.93 KiB) Viewed 13293 times
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 685
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Jim Summers wrote: I'll spare you at the moment the lengthy paragraph on the naming of multiple boxes at the same location, or indeed the naming of boxes where they aren't eg Wemyss Bay Junction.
Jim S
Slightly off topic, but hwen I was exhibiting Connerburn at one of the Glasgow Shows a family showed me a beatiful model their grenfather had made of Lesmahagow Junction box. They were puzzled, however, as to why a wee place like Lesmahagow had such a large box!! :)

Jim W
Dave Lochrie
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by Dave Lochrie »

I suspect the use of enamel or cast letter signs could have been fairly random for signal boxes as it was for station signs, we all have photos of boxes on which we would be hard pressed to identify any name externally displayed.
I tend to agree with Jim S on the boxes/cabins issue (he is after all soon to be the acknowledged/ published authority on the subject)......

......but despite his best efforts at editing John managed to leave enough of the official drawing visible showing that even the grand structure at Gleneagles was a cabin.

Dave L
(back on fence with tongue firmly in cheek)
charles d
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Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:30 pm

Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by charles d »

What a wonderful photo of Glasgow Central box!

You can of course pinpoint its former position - the entry gate (LHE of photo) is still there (or at least the gap in the girder) as is the burned-off steel angle rivetted to the top flat of the girder.

Charles d
John Paton
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by John Paton »

I have looked over a number of CR signal box drawing sheets - some are cabins and some are boxes. At Gleneagles it is a cabin on the detailed drawing sheet and box on the overall station plan.

John
Dave Lochrie
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Good John, that settles that issue then and Jim S can refer to them however he likes as the Caledonian clearly couldn't make-up it's own mind and never felt the need to add the self-evident suffix "Signal Box" as was the habit of my local line down here in Cornwall.
From a modelling viewpoint the standard plates were relatively small as can be seen here in prototype -note also -boxed -in point rodding, oil lamp, and the great combination of detail, enamel station nameboard with framing not painted white with rear fixed plain posts, standard Caledonian platform barrow, standard station seat (3 planks with 2 cast legs and no arm rests) with painted station name (bit of overkill here)
BARNHILL DETAILS.jpg
BARNHILL DETAILS.jpg (133.21 KiB) Viewed 13204 times

and also model form on Camelon Box which I must have built over 35 years ago -waste of time that was, you can buy an almost identical ready made model from the CRA Sales Officer!
P1110622.JPG
P1110622.JPG (124.21 KiB) Viewed 13204 times
Dave L
John Paton
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by John Paton »

David, I think that the station name is an enamel panel. That was the CR standard up until the 1890s. I have seen examples with the Falkirk Iron Co name on them, but they could also have been made by the Patent Enamel Co. They were usually white letters on a blue background but sometimes the colours were reversed, such as the junction signs at Balquidder and on the L&D. The LMS overpainted many of them in corporate black-letters-on-yellow in the 30s, but oil paint on enamel soon flaked off and the CR colours re-appeared.

John
NickTindall
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by NickTindall »

Add Barnhill box/cabin to the list of Patent Enamel nameplates - the plate lives on our piano at home. That's the replacement box/cabin, not the one in the picture - see the recent TL article on the station. Regards to all. Nick
Dave Lochrie
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Good to know it's in safe hands and it's also re-assuring to see an acknowledged signalling expert such as Nick, diplomatically refusing to be drawn on the signal box/ signal cabin issue. It's probably also safe for me to stop this (political correctness?) and go back to calling them whatever I like now.

Dave L
lindsay_g
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by lindsay_g »

I've recently being taking a model of the signal box for Barnton well towards completion and I'm now left with the minutii to complete - which includes a nameplate. But what size might the lettering on the nameplate have been and where was it placed?

Jim's excellent book quotes examples of 3, 4.5, and 6" lettering - is there any way of best guessing what size might have existed at Barnton after it was renamed from Cramond Brig in 1903?

These were normally placed at window sill level apparently. However, if walkboards existed at window sill level, as they did at Barnton, where would the plate have been sited? It's quite amazing how few images in the Caley era show such things.

Cheers,

Lindsay
dunalastairv
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by dunalastairv »

Good morning, Lindsay,

In my opinion, you'd be perfectly justified in reproducing a blue enamel nameplate, with white letters, and a plain white border line, which would be attached to the wall, under the walkway, at the front, centre of the box. I would suggest this should have only 3" high letters, as the plates with larger sized type tended to be used on main lines, where speed was higher. You'll also need a blue "No admittance" plate on the door if you really want to go the whole hog! (Details of these can be found in an article I wrote for TTL a year or two back.)

Good luck with it, Michael.
lindsay_g
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by lindsay_g »

Hi Michael,

Many thanks for that info. I knew I'd read more about these plates and can't believe that I overlooked referring to TTL! Well, I've had a go at reproducing the plate to a scale 3" lettering, and it can be achieved and is readable. However, I may not bother trying to get a more representative font as in 4mm it will never be spotted! I've also printed the plate in a larger size just to show what it looks like :

Nameplate.jpg
Nameplate.jpg (76.09 KiB) Viewed 4757 times
I've had a look at the TTL as regards the No Admittance plates. Reproducing this and getting it positioned on the door might be a bridge too far but, even if only for interest sake, how high were the letters on these door plates?

Cheers,

Lindsay

P.S. Whilst I've still to tackle weathering, glazing, etc., taking that image has just highlighted to me how much touching up is also needed!
dunalastairv
Posts: 213
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Re: Nameboards and nameplates on C. R. signal boxes.

Post by dunalastairv »

Dear Lindsay,

What a lovely job you've done on Barnton Signal Box! I suspect most people other than modellers have no idea of the amount of time and effort that goes into producing one small building - but I do, so congratulations. And how well the cinnamon and umber sits on these buildings - I've just finished a slave dial clock face surround in these colours and they contrast perfectly.

'No Admittance' door plates were 16" long, 4" high, with 2 1/2" letters. Most did not have an edge line.

Mike.
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