When Richard Pulleyn and Neil Mackay visited Whitehouse signal box on Teesside recently to film it for FARSAP, the signaller on duty greeted Richard by name, although Richard was not aware that they had previously met, so the signaller explained. Having started training with Network Rail as a signaller at the commencement of the pandemic, he and his colleagues were unable to visit a selection of signal boxes as they normally would to see them in action so, instead, the tutor advised them to watch our films on FARSAP - and that is where he had both seen and heard Richard. It's rather pleasing to know that Network Rail staff have been able to use our films in that way.
Pictures: The Signaller is Craig Robinson who is now employed in York ROC.
The signal box had an unusual roof design connecting the chimney stack, as favoured by the NER Central Division, also an added section at the east end to accommodate a larger lever frame.
The signal box was closed and demolished on the weekend of 13 November 2021
Richard Pulleyn 24November 2021.
In 2013 Network Rail announced their strategy of concentrating all railway signalling activity into just a handful of Regional Operating Centres (ROCs). Implementation would, of course, not happen over night but would progress steadily and see the eventual demise of all remaining mechanical signal boxes, including those that had been equipped with panels, power signal boxes and most of the signalling centres that were still coming on stream at this time. The order of change would be influenced by the life expectancy of existing equipment and need to increase line capacity, and it is relevant to mention that some mechanical signal boxes outlived their power signal box neighbours that were several decades their junior.
The Friends of the National Railway Museum contacted various bodies with a view to recording railway signalling as it stood in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century and before it was consigned to history. Thus FARSAP was born. In this there was a parallel to the driving force behind the formation of this Society in 1969 - the desire to record matters before they were lost for ever in the rush to introduce ever larger power signal boxes.
Whilst the 2013 announcement was the call for action, the archive is not confined to Network Rail locations. You will find Northern Ireland Railways and Heritage Railways represented here as well.
Find out more about FARSAP here