Signal Box Dreams

‘On Early Shift’, iconic poster. 1948 painting by Terence Cuneo

In days gone by I volunteered to act as host for those buying locomotive driving experience packages on the Great Central (Heritage) Railway. The package included a special arrangement whereby drivers for the day and a limited number of guests could visit Loughborough signal box, then controlling the northern end of the line from the loco shed, through Loughborough station and on south to the Quorn section. Special rules applied – limited numbers, standing well out of the way, talk to be given by the host so as not to distract the signalman going about his duties.

The task for the host could be quite a challenge. Groups of up to 6 might include those with a good understanding of electro-mechanical signalling technology through to those with no particular knowledge (or interest) in the subject. How, then, to cater for all tastes? After the group were standing or seated