work party 13th October – well almost!

We decided to cancel the work party today due to heavy rain which was forecast to last well into the afternoon. Unfortunately we have nowhere to shelter from the elements at the station site and we would not expect many visitors on a day like this. This was a pity as we had hoped to put the finishing touches to our replica disc & crossbar signal, the top part of which was brought up to the station earlier in the week. Never mind, we will carry on at the next available opportunity. Our carpenter Mick has done a great job and the 2/3 scale signal will be a real feature of the station when finished. Seen here on the left in black & white it really looks like the old 1901 photograph on the right.

signal success

At the end of September we made good progress in the signalling department at Spetisbury station. We had already started excavation work at the site of the old signal box, and were lead to believe any interesting artefacts may be found just outside the front foundations. Sure enough, a little digging around revealed a piece of ironwork still bearing traces of red paint and stamped with the words ‘RAILWAY & GEN ENG CO LTD NOTTINGHAM’. According to our friend Chris Osment, the Railway & General Engineering Company of Nottingham was one supplier of signalling equipment to the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway. This ironwork was likely to have been part of a structure for supporting the lead-off bed for the cranks and pulleys which operated the signals and pointwork, and we hope a little more digging will reveal more pieces like it. The top portion is broken off and missing but the remaining bit is secured very firmly to the ground, so we assume it was simply broken up during demolition of the signal box as any ironwork would have had a scrap value. A variety of nuts, bolts and other metalwork has also been found here.

Work has also started on installing an approx. 2/3 scale timber replica of a disc & crossbar signal. There were two of these early signals at Spetisbury used to indicate whether trains were required to stop at the station. One was situated on the ‘up’ side of the line but we believe it was moved slightly during work to double the track around 1899/1900, then removed altogether on 16th April 1901 when this work was completed and newer signalling introduced. The base of our replica signal has been placed very close to the site of the original, and at our next work party on 14th October we hope to fix the upper half of the signal in place.