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Radstock North Signal Box

At Radstock

Radstock Box
Radstock North Box (and 1450) recreate the branch line scene
at Didcot Railway Centre
Phil Neale - 6-May-2010

The history of Radstock North Signalbox and its predecessor, and of the railway lines and level crossing they controlled, is a surprisingly complex one and whilst considerable research has been undertaken there are still a few questions to be answered.

Looking at Radstock today it is hard to remember that it was once the industrial hub of the North Somerset Coalfield and as such a target for many canals, tramways and railways.

1845

A branch line to Radstock from Frome was authorised, together with several other lines, under the Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Act of 30th June 1845, with the intention of tapping the mineral wealth of the North Somerset Coalfield. This act was promoted by the Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Company, a nominally independent company controlled by the GWR.

(Thomas. 1973. p.164; Vincent 1990. p.23)

1850

The Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Company was absorbed by the Great Western Railway on 14th March 1850, before significant work had been started on the Radstock branch line. The line from Westbury to Frome was opened on October 7th 1850

(Thomas. 1973. p.170; Vincent. 1990. p.24)

1854

The broad gauge line from Frome to Radstock was inspected by Colonel Yolland, his report being dated 23rd October 1854. He discovered that “no arrangements have yet been made for working the line for passenger traffic at Radstock as no station accommodation or platform for passengers has yet been provided and the station is not yet entirely enclosed” and was in consequence perhaps unsurprised to learn that “there is no present intention to commence working the line for passenger traffic” [Inspector's Report] (PRO MT6 11/109).

The GWR broad gauge single line opened 'for the conveyance of minerals' on the 14th November 1854.

(Thomas. 1973. p.178; Vincent. 1990. p.27)

1863

A second line to Radstock, this time from Bristol, was authorised under the Bristol and North Somerset Railway Act of 21st July 1863.

(Thomas. 1973. p.1978; Vincent 1990. p.34)

It will become of importance later in the story that at this stage it was proposed to carry the railway over the Bath-Wells turnpike road at Radstock on a under bridge.

1866

A further Act of Parliament was obtained for a deviation of the line at Radstock - The B&NSR Deviation Act.

(Vincent. 1990. p.34)

1869

Yet another Act of Parliament was obtained - The B&NSR (Deviation at Radstock) Act of 30th November 1869. The main significance of this act being, that the original proposal for a bridge had been dropped in favour of a level crossing.

(Vincent. 1990 pp. 34, 52

At this time the working timetables for the GWR's, broad gauge, Chippenham to Radstock line indicate a method of working for the first time, namely that “This is a single line worked by a pilotman” (PRO RAIL 937/11).

1871

The bill for the Somerset and Dorset Railway's Bath extension was passed in 1871 for a line passing through Radstock with the Bath-Wells turnpike road carried above it on an over bridge.

(Thomas. 1973. p.207)

1872

The working timetables indicate that as of 18th November 1872 train staff working was introduced, noting that “This is a single line between Radstock and Frome worked by Train Staff” (PRO RAIL 937/17).

1873

An undertaking was received by the Board of Trade from the B&NSR regarding the method of working, dated 29th August 1873. This states that initially the line is to be worked as two one-engine-in-steam sections, namely Bristol-Pensford and Pensford-Radstock (PRO MT6 117/17).

After what MacDermot (1964. p.45) describes as “a tragic financial story too involved to be recounted here and of little interest nowadays” the line was finally ready for inspection. This was undertaken by Colonel Rich whose report of 2nd September 1873 notes that “There is a level crossing of a public road at Radstock. The gates close across the road and railway. They are worked from the adjacent signalcabin and are interlocked with the signals” and also that “All the signals and points on the railway are worked from signal cabins and interlocked. The arrangements for working the line on the block telegraph system were very nearly completed”.

His list of work still required, included some necessary signalling work: “The gates at Radstock required bolts - Clocks were required in some of the signal cabins and the shelves for the telegraph instruments interfered with the view of the signalmen and with the working of the boxes and required to be fixed at the sides of the cabins - Diagrams of the lines of rails and signals are required in the signal cabins”.

Finally he noted that “the locking of the signals and points at Radstock, which were arranged for working up and down lines at that station required to be changed for working the station as a single line until such time as the railway is opened to Frome and Radstock and the station is used as a passing place” [Inspector's Report] (PRO MT6 117/17).

However, despite these reservations he approved the opening of the line which was opened the following day as the narrow (standard) gauge, passenger carrying, Bristol & North Somerset Railway on the 3rd September 1873.

(Thomas. 1973, p.178; Vincent. 1990. p.11)

The event was naturally widely reported in the Bristol and Bath papers. It had apparently been intended to open the line on Tuesday 2nd, the Wednesday Bristol Times and Mirror noting that “The Great Western Railway Company had announced the opening of the new railway from Bristol to Radstock for yesterday, but the arrangements could not be perfected in the time, and the officials were unable to carry out their intentions” [Press Article] (BTM 3/9/1873).

The following day the Western Daily Press were able to report on the actual opening, and concentrated on the scenic delights to be viewed from the train noting “such a view as can only be seen in England” and “miles of thoroughly English scenery” [Press Article] (WDP 4/9/1873).

The Bath Chronicle (a weekly paper at this time) chose to concentrate on the troubled financial history of the company [Press Article] (BC 4/9/1873), a theme taken up with relish by the Bristol Times and Mirror in its Saturday edition which describes the history of the North Somerset as “one of the most calamitous that the railway world has ever had to contend with” and warming to their tale, contend that “... if we were to produce a history of the quarrels and contentions at the half-yearly and special meetings of the company, and the extraordinary phases of railway finance which came before the London law courts, or to lift the veil of privacy and tell of the ruin of families through the speculations of the too-confiding heads of those families, who were talked into risking their tens of thousands when the company was really in a state of bankruptcy, we should furnish such a fund of romance as has never before been experienced in the railway annals of the West of England” [Press Article] (BTM 6/9/1873).

The Somerset and Dorset Railway obtained a further Act in which the proposal for the Bath-Wells turnpike road to be carried above the line on a bridge at Radstock was dropped in favour of a level crossing.

A Controversy: Radstock No. 3 (Not No. 1?)

All known reference works (secondary sources) suggest that the box was originally named 'Radstock No. 1'. This is the name given in Vincent (1990. p.246), The Signalling Record Society (2007, p.153) and on the John Hinson CD. It has now been established that all of these works have taken their information from a single source, namely the late John Morris.

Extensive research has provided evidence from two separate primary sources that on this occasion Mr Morris was mistaken, possibly misled by the changes to up and down directions on the line (see below), and that the box was originally 'Radstock No. 3'.

In the Working Timetables, as early as 1891 (PRO RAIL 937/54) mention is made of Radstock Number 3 which is to be closed after the last train on single line - obviously the only box at Radstock which operated a single line was the North Box. Further, in the January 1896 timetable (PRO RAIL 937/64) the name in the table of box closing times becomes Radstock Station and this in turn becomes Radstock North in May 1897 (PRO RAIL 937/66).

The Inspectors report of 2nd September 1873 on the opening of the B&NSR [Inspector's Report] (PRO MT6/117/17) mentions a box operating the gates at Radstock, but does not name it. The report on the proposed opening of the Frome to Radstock Section to passengers [Inspector's Report] (PRO MT6/142/10) which Vincent quotes (p.65) as stating that “the GWR were going to establish an electric communication between No. 1 and No.2 signalboxes at Radstock, the 'Gates' and the 'Yard' respectively ” actually reads “At Huish’s Coal Siding an electric communication is to be established between Nos. 1 and 2 Signal Boxes.” This would suggest the South end of the layout rather than the North.

Also, it is believed that, it was general practice to number signalboxes 'away from London'. That is to say the box nearest London would be Number 1 and the numbers would then count away in a Down direction. (See note on [Up and Down]).

We are therefore convinced that there is overwhelming evidence that the original box on this site was 'Radstock No. 3'.

 

McKenzie and Holland box
The original McKenzie and Holland Box
(GWS Collection)

The passenger station at Radstock with its original signalbox controlling the level crossing, opened therefore, with the line, on 3rd September 1873.

This tall wooden box on a brick base was built by McKenzie & Holland (and is of a type referred to by the Signalling Record Society as McK&H ‘Type 1’), as were all the original boxes on the North Somerset.

(Signalling Record Society, 2007. p.153; Signalling Study Group. 1986. p.92, p.166; Vincent. 1990. p.241)

1874

The Bristol & North Somerset Railway had applied to the Board of Trade for a revised working method between Bristol and Radstock using “the Train Staff and Ticket system, supplemented by the block telegraph” this was approved on 19th June 1874 (PRO MT6 117/17). The single line section at this time was from Radstock North Box to Pensford and a triangular train staff and triangular blue tickets were used (PRO RAIL 937/23).

The parallel Somerset and Dorset Railway with its own Radstock station , level crossing and associated signal box, almost adjacent to the GWR station, but with no rail interconnection, was opened on the 20th July 1874.

(Thomas. 1973. p.208; Vincent. 1990. p.35)

Within weeks the two parallel level crossings were generating complaints and Colonel Yolland was despatched by the Board of Trade to investigate. He was told that on 19th September “when there are only 6 down and 6 up trains daily on the Bristol and North Somerset Railway and 13 down and 11 up on the Somerset and Dorset Railway” the gates were closed for a total of “1 1/4 hours for the Bristol and North Somerset Railway, and 4 hours and 36 minutes for the Somerset and Dorset Railway between 5:15 am and 10:11 pm”. He concluded that the two level crossings together “constitute an exceedingly objectionable and dangerous level crossing which as far as I know cannot be paralleled as far as its physical construction is concerned by any level crossings in the United Kingdom” and went further to state that “I consider that Radstock exhibits a decided blot in our system of railway regulation which has permitted two separate lines and two separate stations to be constructed within a few yards of each other, in so small a place as Radstock, where one joint station could have answered every purpose to the great convenience of the public making use of these lines.” His conclusion was to “recommend the Board of Trade to exercise the powers conferred by the 7th section of the Railway Clauses Act of 1863 and to order the erection of bridges over these two level crossings for the purpose of carrying the turnpike road over the Bristol and North Somerset and the Somerset and Dorset Railways, instead of passing across them on the level”. [Inspector's Report] (PRO MT6 644/5 {31/10/1874}).

1875

The Frome to Radstock section was converted to narrow (standard) gauge by the GWR by June 1875, when an Inspection by Colonel Yolland for the Board of Trade took place.

(Thomas. 1973. p.178; Vincent. 1990. p.60)

His report, dated 25th June 1875, notes that “the requisite arrangements have been made for working the traffic on the absolute block system and on the single portion of the line in conjunction with the train staff, but I have not received any undertaking of the Company’s as to the mode of working intended to be adopted”. However he also notes that “the points and signals are not yet generally connected with the levers in the Signal Boxes and in some instances which were pointed out on the ground, the facing point locks required closer adjustment. Clocks have also to be placed in the Signal Cabins”.

Times have clearly changed for he goes on to state that he is “unwilling to recommend that the opening of this line for passenger traffic should now be postponed on this account or from the connecting up of the points and signals with the levers in the Signal Boxes not having been yet completed, if it is understood that these things will at once be completed, and that the Inspector of the Board of Trade, may if thought necessary again go over the line, when these few requirements have been attended to” [Inspector's Report] (PRO MT6/142/10).

A through narrow gauge passenger service started between Frome and Bristol on the 5th July 1875.

(Thomas. 1973. p.178; Vincent. 1990. p.62)

The local press declared that “The boon conferred upon the travelling public by the opening of this small branch is considerable” as the journey from Bristol to Frome could now be “accomplished in an hour and a quarter without change of carriage” as opposed to two hours via Bath and Westbury [Press Article] (BTM 6/7/1875).

In August The Board of Trade took out orders requiring both the Bristol & North Somerset, and Somerset & Dorset railways to replace their level crossings with overbridges but suggesting, in an accompanying letter, that the company might consider “a more convenient and practicable alternative than that which the Legislature has prescribed viz. The formation of one continuous bridge over the two railways. This would obviously prove the least expensive as well as the best remedy for the existing mischief” [Order and accompanying letter from BoT] (PRO MT6 644/5).

(Vincent. 1990. p.63)

1877

Clearly nothing was done to replace the level crossings for on 7th April 1877 the Radstock Local Board wrote to the Board of Trade, pointing out that the 18 months “allowed by your order requiring a bridge to be built in lieu of these level crossings has now expired” and nothing had been done. They also noted “that the bridge or viaducts as proposed to be erected would so seriously injure the property of the place” and wondered if a subway might not be constructed instead [Letter] (PRO MT6 644/5).

The Board of Trade moved to take out a Writ of Mandamus to force the Railway Companies to take action, but there was evidently concern as to whether the the Board of Trade had the necessary powers. The main concern was that given the limited space between the two crossings and a requirement in Sec 50 of the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act 1845 that “the ascent to an overbridge shall not be more than 1 foot in 30 ft” it was physically impossible for two separate bridges, complete with their approach ramps descending to ground level, to be built. The alternative suggested in the letter accompanying the original order whereby each company built half a bridge with a raised section joining them, whilst a practical solution to the problem was not, it seems legally enforceable either. An acrimonious exchange ensued between the Board of Trade's Solicitor's Department and its Railway Department [Letter from Solicitor's Department] - [Reply from Colonel Yolland] (PRO MT6 644/5).

The application for a writ went before the Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Mellor on 19th November 1877 and was refused on the grounds that it was unenforceable for precisely the reasons noted above [Press Article] (TT 1/2/1878).

1878

On 31st January 1878 Radstock level crossings even got a mention in Parliament. The Attorney-General admitting, in response to a question from Major Allen that there was little to be done, and almost admitting that the fault had been with Parliament in agreeing to the crossings in the first place. “I fear there is no remedy for the grievance complained of unless the Legislature be resorted to. It is to be regretted that the railway companies originally induced Parliament to sanction the crossing a highway on the level by two lines of railway placed so near to each other as to create danger.” [Press Article] (TT 1/2/1878).

1882

With the opening of the Camerton Branch a signalbox was provided at Hallatrow and the single line section now became Radstock North Box - Hallatrow. The triangular staff and triangular blue tickets were used for this section, Hallatrow - Pensford being controlled by a new round staff and round white tickets.

(PRO RAIL 937/49; See also Vincent. 1990. pp.241, 249)

1884

With complaints about the nuisance caused by the crossings continuing, a Board of Trade inquiry was held in January under the chairmanship of Alexander Miller QC to consider whether the crossings “constituted such a danger to the public safety that the Board of Trade, exercising the powers it possessed, should require a modification of the arrangements; and, secondly, whether, if they constituted such a danger, there were practical means, having regard to all the circumstances, by which it could, be met.” [Press Article] (PRO MT6 644/5). The report suggests that little actual danger was caused but that delays were considerable. A bridge was thought to be impractical without “inflicting very serious damage on a great quantity of valuable property on the south side thereof. It would in fact place the entire town of Radstock in a hole” and the question of enforcing construction again arose. “Besides all this there is the further difficulty that there is not space enough between the lines to admit of the construction of two separate bridges of this height, and there does not appear to be any power,statutory or otherwise, to require the companies to unite in the construction of a common bridge.” A subway was a possible alternative, but to build one “would involve the raising of the levels of the railways from 10 ft. 6 in. to 11 ft., and would require a complete reconstruction of both the stations, and of the goods yard of the North Somerset Railway. Whether the construction of a common subway was thought to be enforceable when a bridge was not is not discussed.

A further possibility would be to build a small subway but this “would fail to provide sufficient accommodation for the heavy traffic of the district, and would be altogether inoperative in removing the danger arising on market days from the proximity of the level crossings to the market place”. The report goes on note that “the delays and inconveniences complained of are to a great extent caused by the fact that the gates across the North Somerset Railway are kept shut during the whole time that the trains are standing in the station, although such trains are in every case clear of the level crossing, and although in the case of trains coming from Bristol the crossing might be used with perfect safety the moment the train has reached the station. This is caused by the interlocking of the gates with the station signals. The gates cannot be opened while the signals are down, and therefore they must remain closed, not only all the time the train is standing in the station, but until it has passed the signal box on its way toward Frome.” It was suggested that removal of the interlocking between the gates and the Frome-bound starting signal would significantly reduce the delays. Even this small action was not undertaken lightly with various letters to the Inspectorate ensuing to clarify that this was really what they wanted. Eventually however this was done, in March 1884, and indeed proved to be the only step ever taken to reduce the delays caused by the two adjacent level crossings [Official Inquiry Report] (PRO MT6 644/5).

The Bristol & North Somerset Railway was finally absorbed by the GWR on the 1st July 1884.

(Vincent. 1990.p.67)

1896

Apparently, the lever frame which was in the box when it closed, and which was subsequently purchased by the Great Western Society along with the GWR box, dates from 1896.

(Signalling Record Society. 2007. p.153; See also Vincent. 1990. p.241).

A display of Lever Leads
The Brass lever leads which were still in place when the box closed, are now in the Great Western Trust collection.
R J Heron - 24-May-09

It is a GWR 24-lever double-twist locking frame with 5 1/4 inch centres, with distinctive elevated treads between the levers. This latter feature being typical of earlier frames. Double-twist frames were manufactured by the GWR from around 1890-1906 and although criticised for their tendency to wear, some lasted in railway service until the 1980's.

(Adams. 1993. p.212)

This frame must, therefore, have originally been installed in the tall McKenzie and Holland Box and later lowered to a new situation in the replacement GWR box.

Portion of Locking
A R Hook Feb-2002

Mystery No.1

Interestingly, a stamp on part of the conditional tappet locking bears the figures ’97, but it is not known if this was the date of manufacture or purchase of the steel, or indeed if was even a date. Brown Bayley were a firm of steelmakers in Attercliffe, Sheffield. In any case, it is possible that the conditional locking is a later addition to the frame. It is not possible to construct conditional locking using the double twist principle.

(Q. What is the significance of this stamp, and what, if anything, does it tell us about the date of manufacture of the frame?)

The Signalling Record Society state that the Horizontal Tappet locking was added when the box was rebuilt in 1909, which would seem reasonable.

(Signalling Record Society. 2007. p.153)

1897

The box was renamed 'Radstock North', the new cast iron nameplates for both Radstock North and Radstock South boxes having been ordered on 14th December 1896.

(Signalling Record Society)

On 3rd October 1897 the Electric Train Staff replaced the train staff and ticket and disc block telegraph as the method of controlling the single line sections on the route. The section was now from Radstock North Box to Old Mills.

(PRO RAIL 937/67)

1908

A new timber box top was ordered by the GWR on 9th September 1908 from Reading Signal Works, according to notes taken from an original signal department order book.

(Signalling Record Society)

1909

Things were obviously busy on the Radstock coal field as in the 4th February 1909, General Manager's Fortnightly report to Traffic Committee he is seeking the directors approval to employ several additional staff for the North Somerset line including two signalmen at Radstock as there had been a “large increase of coal traffic between Bristol and Radstock due to the additional output from the collieries and the opening of the new Dumberton [sic - Dunkerton ?] colliery necessitating the North Somerset line - a single line - being kept open continuously” (PRO RAIL 250/435).

It is not known exactly when the new box was erected but, bearing in mind the order date, it was probably during the course of 1909. Photographic evidence would also back this up as there is a photograph (No .22 - See 'Published Photographs') which shows the old box together with a bus service which started in 1906 which confirms that the new box was not built before this date, and another which can be dated to 1909/10 (No. 4) and shows the new box. The new box had a wooden upper storey, which was prefabricated at the Reading Signal Works of the GWR, mounted on a brick base 8ft high and measuring in plan some 12ft by 18ft 2ins.

Another Controversy: The Brick Base

It has been suggested that the new box was built on the original brick base of the McKenzie and Holland box, extended in height by a couple of feet (Vincent. 1990. p.241). This supposition is presumably based on pictures, such as the one below, which seem to show new courses of brickwork on top of an earlier original.

However there are two factors which would appear to make this conclusion unsatisfactory. Firstly the two locking room windows were not part of the original box, and have indeed been formed using the special sloping engineering bricks to make the window sills which are absolutely typical of the GW box of the period. Had these windows been inserted into an existing brick structure it would be reasonable to expect signs of modification to the brickwork surrounding the windows and this is clearly not the case.

Secondly McKenzie and Holland signal boxes were, as far as is known, always built to a limited number of standard dimensions, and boxes having the window layout seen in photographs of the earlier box were built to a length of 16ft 8ins (Signalling Study Group. 1896. pp.88-93). The Great Western box at 18ft 2ins obviously does not match this dimension.

It therefore seems more likely that the McKenzie and Holland box was completely demolished and a new brick base provided on the same site, probably using some of the same foundations. It appears that during the course of construction, either a different brick has been used for the topmost layers from the outset or possibly these layers had to be re-laid for some reason.

Radstock North in the 20's
Radstock North Box in the 1920's(?) (GWS Collection)

The new box was of the type referred to by the Signalling Record Society as Type 27C Top, having a hipped roof, large decorative eaves brackets, and a 3-up 2-down design of operating floor window intended to offer improved visibility.

The system of classification uses the '7' to indicate the type of box and the '2' to indicate that the box is of wooden construction. Radstock North having an entirely wooden top and a brick lower storey does not easily fit into this classification!

(Signalling Record Society. 2007. p.153; Signalling Study Group. 1986.p.163)

Mystery No. 2.

Type 7 boxes built by the GWR between 1906 and 1925 were of subtype Type 7d. Radstock box is something of an oddity, for whilst conforming broadly to the specification of a 7d box, having a stove and stovepipe and two courses of splayed plinth brick forming the locking room windowsills, it has several peculiar features.

Indeed a brick-to-floor box is itself unusual as type 7 boxes were almost always all timber or all brick. Having a rear window is unusual in any signalbox, though with the need to watch road traffic approaching the crossing, the need for this variation can be easily understood. Also,instead of ridge tiles the box retains the lead flashing typical of the 1896-1900 (Type 7a) box. Neither is the external porch typical of a Type 7 box, which generally had internal staircases.

(Q. Why does a box built to a standard pattern, at a central workshop, have so many variations from that standard?)

Mystery No. 3

At some stage, the main rodding run to operate the points at the east end of the station, which had previously run under a boarded walkway between the tracks through the platforms, was removed. The new rodding run unusually came out of the rear of the box, and passed down the back of the platform, leaving only the rodding operating the gates and associated locks coming out of the front of the box. A photograph supposedly taken in 1906 shows the original rodding and walkway still in place, so the alteration was clearly made after this date.

(Robertson. 1990. p.226; Casserley. 1975 pp.26-27)

(Q. When was this done, and why ?)

Horizontal Tappet locking was added to the original double twist frame at about this time.

(Signalling Record Society. 2007. p.153)

1914

A local paper reports on Great Western Railway Works in 1914, citing various articles in the Great Western Railway Magazine. As well as major developments at Paddington and achievements at Swindon Works including the production of two ambulance trains, the provision of additional sidings at Radstock is noted. No reference is made as to whether these were controlled by North box.

(WDP 07/01/1915)

1930

Complaints about the level crossing once again result in ‘questions in the house’, as on 27th November 1930 the Western Daily Press reports the local MP asking the Minister of Transport about the “deadlock between the local authority and the railway companies respecting the proposed alteration of the level crossing at Radstock”. The minister replied that there was no deadlock and any delays had been down to staff changes at the Urban Council, and that plans would be submitted to the County Council that week. [Press Article] (WDP 27/11/1930).

(Q. Which proposed alterations are being considered here? The reference to 'railway companies' (plural) presumably implies S&D and GWR, but surely this can't refer back to the last known proposals for change from the 1884 enquiry, or does it perhaps relate to the widening plan of 1936 below?)

On occasions, however, it was the road user causing problems for the railway! On 15th December 1930 the Western Daily Press reported that the local colliery manager had crashed his car into the crossing gates, resulting in considerable damage and avoiding disaster only by the Signalman's prompt action in stopping the approaching train [Press Article] (WDP 15/12/1930).

1931

On 17th December 1931 the GWR Signal Engineering Department, Engineering Committee, approved the expenditure for the “Renewal of Electric Train Staff Instruments 30 years old” at Radstock and Hallatrow at an estimated cost of £125 (PRO RAIL/250/557).

1936

Level crossing plan
Section of Plan (WSRO 2515/403/1763)

In 1936 a proposal was drawn up to widen the Great Western level crossing towards the station. It is believed that this work was subsequently carried out though the date is not known.

(WSRO)

1937

On 16th December 1937 the GWR Signal Engineering Department, Engineering Committee, approved the expenditure for the “Renewal of two signals and point connections” at Radstock North at an estimated cost of £272 (PRO RAIL/250/558).

1939

On 5th October 1939 the GWR Signal Engineering Department, Engineering Committee, approved the expenditure for the “Renewal of level crossing gate stops and connections” at Radstock at an estimated cost of £290 (PRO RAIL/250/558).

Q. Might this relate to the 1936 proposal (or imply the 1936 proposal was not carried out)?

1949

Radstock Station in 1958
Radstock (West) Station in 1958 (GWS Collection)

After nationalisation the station was renamed Radstock West on 26th September 1949.

The former S&D station was renamed Radstock North.

(Avon County Council. 1984. p.33; Clinker. 1978)

1951

It was not until 1951 that the box names were changed to bring them into line with the new station names - the former GWR Radstock North box being renamed Radstock West.

The former S&D boxes, became Radstock North 'A' and Radstock North 'B' at the same time.

(Vincent, 1990, p.241)

1957

The Railway Regulation Act of 1842 required that “level crossing gates were to be kept constantly closed across a public road where not required to be opened for road traffic, unless the Board of Trade were to order otherwise”.

(Hall. 2000. p.103)

With increasing road traffic this position eventually became unworkable and the Board of Trade and its successors increasingly authorised the gates to be normally closed across the railway. At Radstock it is to be presumed that the gates had been kept normally across the railway for some time, but apparently this had never been officially sanctioned; for in a letter dated 17th October 1957 the Western Region General Manager's Office requests that the Minister will issue the necessary order. The order was duly issued in November 1957 by CRS Wilson the then Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways (PRO MT114 2792).

1959

The last passenger train to Radstock (West) station ran on Saturday 31st October 1959.

(Phillips. 1994. p.22; Thomas. 1973. p.178; Clinker. 1978)

[Press Article] (WDP 2/11/59) [Press Article] (BC 2/11/1959).

1963

The station buildings were demolished.

(Vincent. 1990. p.15)

Yet Another Controversy: Reversible Running ?

It is suggested that by 1964 “The down line was signalled for reversible running and the up line used as a loop” through the platforms (Mitchell & Smith. 1986. Plate 46). The photograph for which this statement provides part of the caption, shows the Bristol-bound starting signal relocated to a position in the middle of the former Frome-bound platform. This was not however a provision for reversible running, as stated, but merely a signal movement to improve sighting, made necessary by the construction of a row of shops on the site of the former Bristol-bound platform. A photo of the box diagram (Vincent. 1990. p.243) which incorporates the 1966 changes,clearly makes reference to up and down lines. (See note on [Up and Down]).

 

1965

The station was closed to all traffic on 29th November 1965.

(Vincent. 1990. p.157; Clinker. 1978)

1966

On 6th March 1966 a new connection was made between the former S&D and GWR lines some quarter mile west of the old station. This allowed the S&D line to be closed, leaving only the length of line through Radstock North (S&D) yard and out to Writhlington in situ. The only remaining traffic, being coal from Lower Writhlington Colliery, S&D demolition trains and some traffic from Tyning Wagon Works (closed end 1967), was thus diverted via the North Somerset Line [Press Article] (SG 11/3/1966).

(Coleford. 2002. p173/4; Handley 1979. p.63; Vincent 1990. p.159)

Subsequently, it is suggested, the North Somerset line was effectively worked in two sections once more (as it had been in 1873/4), with the traffic from the former S&D line heading north to Bristol and traffic from Whatley Quarry, Mells Road, and occasionally Marcroft's wagon works being taken via Frome. The only traffic heading past Radstock GW Box was presumably that local traffic emanating from Kilmersdon Colliery and occasional trains of wagons from Marcroft's.

(Coleford. 2002. p.174; Vincent. 1990. p.191, p.204)

On 15th August 1966 the line between Mells Road and Radstock was officially closed to all traffic, though it was left in situ. Presumably at this stage, all traffic from Marcroft's Wagon Works and Kilmersdon Colliery was sent north over the GW level crossing and via Bristol.

1967

In 1967 British Railways proposed that the line between Radstock and Bristol be closed and the coal traffic be diverted via Frome.

(Coleford. 2002. p.174).

1968

With the proposed re-routing, Norton-Radstock Urban District Council saw a new opportunity to resume an old battle, to have the level crossings removed, by reviving the Ludlows Colliery Sidings as a link to replace the 1966 chord, thereby permitting the diversion of Writhlington colliery traffic. In a letter to the Ministry of Transport on 29th April 1968 they suggest that “the matter should be further investigated in the interests of dispensing with the two sets of level crossings which straddle the Principal Traffic Route and which, as a consequence, create a major traffic problem in the centre of Radstock, particularly during the peak holiday periods when motorists are using the A.367 as the main road to the south. Quite apart from the holiday season, the two level crossings, being so close together and on the main road through the town, create a serious traffic bottleneck and a real hazard to pedestrians.” (PRO MT 114/3048).

This final closure of the Radstock to Bristol line to all traffic occurred a few days earlier than planned due to landslips caused by flooding, on 10th July 1968, and all traffic was diverted via the reopened line to Mells and Frome.

(Vincent 1990, p.163)

In conjunction with this Radstock West Box was reduced to a ground frame controlling the crossing on 14th July 1968. From this time only the up line over the crossing was used

(Mitchell & Smith. 1986. Plate 47; Signalling Record Society. 2007. p153; Vincent 1990. p.241)

A meeting was held, on 24th July 1968, of officials from Norton Radstock UDC, British Rail and the National Coal Board (who owned the land) to look at the proposals for diverting the traffic away from the crossings through a new chord laid on the former Ludlows Sidings land. The outcome of this was a letter from BR(WR) to the local council, dated 19th November 1968, stating that the cost of such a project including renewal of a bridge over the Wellow Brook and upgrading the level crossing over the Frome road would be about £10,000-15,000. It seems that BR was not keen on the idea as they conclude that “whilst the board are prepared to carry out this work, they will not derive any material benefit therefrom, and are therefore unable to bear the expenditure involved” (PRO MT114/3048).

Neither could the council find the money, and in any case it was expected that Writhlington colliery would close in about five years leaving the crossings redundant, and consequently this idea was not progressed.

1971

A raft of coal wagons ran away whilst unattended in the yard and destroyed one of the gates on 6th January 1971. Fortunately nobody was injured, though “Mr Cedric Brown, of Welton Road, Radstock, had a narrow escape” according to the papers. [Press Article] (SG 8/1/1971). Apparently this was not the first such occurrence, a 'senior railman' being quoted as saying “Wagons haven’t got out of control here for more than 15 years until today. But it could happen again tomorrow if someone forgot the brakes”. The Western Daily Press decided to dramatise the matter with an article under the heading - “The runaway rail fear that grips a town” [Press Article] (WDP 7/1/1971). [Accident Report] (PRO MT114 2892) (See also Mitchell & Smith. 1986. Plate 46).

1973

The box was finally closed as a ground frame on 17th January 1973 with regular through running from Writhlington Colliery ceasing on 16th November 1973.

(Signalling Record Society. 2007. p.153; Vincent. 1990. p.241, p.167)

Between these dates, the gates were presumably operated by hand when necessary.

1975

The final train to run through the former GW station and over the crossing(s) was for the purpose of transferring the S&D Trust’s stock to the WSR on 16th October 1975.

(Vincent. 1990. p. 167)

Radstock Box in the early '70s
Radstock (GW) Box in the early 70's (GWS Collection)

After this the workings were cut back to a point short of the station. The local paper, in reporting the final journey noted that the Council were unrepentant, Councillor Jones stating that “The crossings were a bad bottleneck in the town” and reminding us that “the Urban Council fought for years to get the crossings removed, instituting traffic censuses in 1970 and in 1973 called to the County Council to install traffic lights at the junction of Frome Road and the Bath to Shepton Mallet road to get rid of the replorable [sic] conditions which exist at the Junction” [Press Article] (SG 24/10/1975). The article was completed with a section by Colin Maggs entitled “... But it should have been a bridge”!

The signalbox was removed on 23rd November 1975 by the Bristol Group of the Great Western Society and transported to Didcot Railway Centre [Press Article] (SG 28/11/1975) (See also section below).

1977

Some trial spoil trains from Kilmersdon Tip were run in spring 1977 but these were apparently not successful and the line remained in place to serve only Marcroft’s wagon works.

(Vincent. 1990. p.167)

1988

Radstock to Hapsford closed with Marcroft’s on 29th June 1988, only the line from Hapsford to Frome remaining to this day to carry the stone traffic from Whatley quarry. The line from Radstock to Hapsford is however is still in place, though in a very poor state as it is subject to a, currently stalled, preservation attempt by the North Somerset Railway. There is no longer any railway track in the Radstock station area.

(Vincent. 1990. p.16; Coleford. 2002. p.176)

As well as the published and public sources quoted above, I should like to thank:

who have all provided assistance with this research.

(Section still being researched)

 

The Move to Didcot

Radstock Box in the early '70s
Radstock (GW) Box in Autumn 1975. A Bristol Group working party begins preparations for removal of the box.
Photo: A R Hook (GWS Collection)
Click on the picture for a larger version.

It would be fair to say that the Didcot signalling project started in Radstock as it began with the simple idea of preserving a signal, which was successfully achieved with the removal of some signal posts and fittings from Radstock in May 1972. Ambitions then expanded and with the approval of the GWS Council the search for a signalbox commenced. Various signalboxes were considered but only Radstock North proved suitable.

Bristol Group secretary, John Lakey, wrote to British Rail, in November 1973, and was given first refusal when the box became available. So the serious thinking of how to remove and transport a wooden structure 18 ft x 12 ft by 10 ft high, weighing 6 tons began. All went quiet again for a year, despite John's regular letters to British Rail, and Derek Fear's visits to the Area Manager at Westbury, so in August 1975 John also wrote to Avon County Council asking if any road improvements were going to take place at the Radstock level crossings, as various rumours had been doing the rounds for the past year. This seemed to provoke some action, as in September Derek Fear and John Lakey were invited to a meeting between British Rail and Avon County Council at which it was agreed that British Rail would release the box to the Group within two weeks, and the County Council would buy the land surrounding it to carry out road improvements.

Plans were made to prepare the box for movement, as the site had to be cleared by the end of November, leaving only eight weeks. By the time the next Committee meeting was held at the end of September a letter had been received from British Rail officially offering the box and one level crossing gate with post for £54. So a cheque was sent off, and about a week later the sale was confirmed.

The first working party took place on Sunday 12th October 1975 after which, working parties were organised each Sunday, and some Saturdays as well. Four members, more crazy than the rest spent a cold damp night of November 5, drilling a series of holes for bolts and screws to secure strengthening brackets for the four corners of the structure, by the light of a Tilley lamp. During these working weekends, the locking frame was bolted to its supporting wooden beams with coach screws. The inner and outer leading-off beds were disconnected and removed. All the point and gate rodding, together with the cranks, the box steps and the level crossing gates were recovered, and a telegraph pole removed. The inside of the structure was reinforced with scaffolding, and the guttering and bottom row of slates removed and other slates made secure. The vent on the roof was also removed, as the overall height had to be less than 14 ft to travel without a special movement order.

The box lift
V M Hook 23-Nov-1975

Finally on Sunday 23rd November the 22ton crane arrived, at 7:00 am and was positioned on the track bed, slightly to one side of the box. By 7.30 the first low-loader was positioned in front of the box, adjacent to the crane. The 14ft long lifting beams of tubular steel, 6 inches in diameter, were positioned under the structure to support the main 5x4 inch timbers each side. The crane's jib was extended to about 35 ft, the overhead stretcher bar, chains and shackles connected to the lifting beams, and the slack taken up.

A Harlech Television cameraman, Radio Bristol interviewer and various newspaper reporters had arrived, to be looked after by Richard Sweet, the Group’s publicity officer.

On the low-loader
V M Hook 23-Nov-1975

John Lakey, Derek Fear and Kevin Evans were up in the box ready to knock out the four spacing blocks, two at each end, between the floorboard beams and the locking frame. The crane took the weight of the box and the blocks hammered out, and then they got out - fast! The structure was gently lifted off its brick base and, as expected, there were no bolts or securing devices of any kind.

Once clear of the brickwork, the structure was lifted a further five feet to clear the levers. The steps, gate wheel assembly, wicket gates and porch-supporting rails also found space on this low-loader which was then parked outside the Waldegrave Hotel. The brick walls were demolished as soon as the structure was lifted, since these were then unsafe. The locking room door, window frames and specially shaped blue engineering bricks were recovered during demolition.

The crane now swung into position above the locking frame, while the second low-loader backed onto the trackbed. Because of its forty feet long bed, however, the power unit partially blocked the main road, and a very co-operative police officer had to guide the increasing volume of traffic around it.

Radstock 23-11-75
V M Hook 23-Nov-1975

The lifting chains were attached to the end brackets of the frame, which was lifted complete with its wooden supporting beams, giving a total weight of two tons. It was swung across and laid on its side on the long bed of the second low-loader.

Soon after, at about 10.30, the low-loader carrying the structure set off, with an Avon and Somerset Police escort, on its four hour journey to Didcot at a speed of 15-20 mph.

Three cars with Bristol Group members inside accompanied it, while the party who were going to stay at Radstock to clear up the site carried on loading the second vehicle. The four level crossing gates and one post, leading-off beds with associated rodding and cranks, and the various timbers from inside and outside the now demolished box were lifted onto it. This load was tarpaulined down to prevent items falling off, as this vehicle did not have any speed restrictions.

Radstock 23-11-75
V M Hook 23-Nov-1975

The signal box structure arrived in the Didcot provender yard at about 2.30pm, by which time the first low-loader to arrive was half unloaded, with the locking frame about to be lifted off onto the rail wagon, together with all the lengths of point rodding. Suitable packing was put onto the other rail wagon and the lifting bars positioned for the locally hired crane to lift the structure. It overhung the rail wagon by two feet either side when loaded, but British Rail had been alerted for an out of gauge load.

The steps and crossing gate wheel assembly were loaded into the Asmo and Siphon G, together with other small items, and finally, by 5.30, the four gates were secured to a further wagon and the job was complete.

The description of the move above, is an adapted and much shortened version of an article: ‘Radstock West Goes East’ by Kevin Evans. Great Western Echo – No.55. Spring 1976 pp, 10-13.

 

Restoration

Rastock box in storage at Didcot
The Box in store at Didcot
M Minchin 1975

Unfortunately, the signalbox top was too heavy to be lifted by any cranes available at Didcot so all moves had to be made by the time honoured method of jacking and packing.

On arrival it was stored, on suitable packing timbers, adjacent to the boundary fence roughly on the opposite side of the (at that time, still to be constructed) branch demonstration line, from its current home.

Obviously the first stage in the reconstruction was the the laying of suitable concrete foundations. On this foundation a new brick base was constructed using some excellent quality engineering bricks which were kindly donated to the project.

New brick base
A R Hook 10-Apr-1977

The new base incorporated the cast-iron window frames, specially shaped window sill bricks, and the doors and door frames, which had been recovered from Radstock along with the box top. This work took place throughout 1976 and the completed brickwork is seen in April 1977.

Note that the track in the foreground is a temporary access track from the shed area, which was later removed.

Once the base was complete the box top had to be moved to a position adjacent to the base, raised to the correct height, and then moved into its final position.

Moving the box top
A R Hook 24-Apr-1977

Again, this was achieved using purely manual methods, involving boiler tubes used as rollers, crowbars, screw and hydraulic jacks, enormous quantities of packing timber, and the good traditional sweating and swearing required on such occasions. It actually took two days work in April/May 1977 to move the box from its temporary storage location, to its final home on top of the brickwork, the final move being completed by some of the Manpower Services Commission brawn then on site.

Structure almost complete
A R Hook 25-Jun-78

The woodwork making up the structure of the box top was in remarkably good condition, and very few repairs and replacements were needed. It was however necessary to build a new set of box steps as the box was no longer accessed from a station platform in its new location. Other work at this stage involved fitting new guttering, and stripping all the woodwork for repainting.

Once the repairs were completed, painting could commence, together with some final touches, such as the (electrified) oil lamp and the fire buckets.

The external work was declared complete on May 7th 1979 (GWS NN 111), and the box found itself standing in glorious isolation, with no tracks passing near it, and frankly looking somewhat out of place.

Finished box structure
A R Hook 21-Apr-1979

In some ways this was where the real challenge began. The interior restoration was carried out and the original lever frame installed and re-locked. The re-locking was declared complete on 7th December 1980 after some 15 months of work (GWS NN 123).

However before the box could reasonably be considered operational it was, of course, necessary to install some things for it to operate, specifically a level crossing, and some points and signals. This work was sufficiently advanced, in May 1985, for the box to be operated for the first time as a crossing box; controlling the crossing, Radstock siding point, and one signal protecting the crossing in each direction.

New brick base
R J Heron 03-Aug-2006

Since then work on installing other signalling equipment and features has continued until the box is fully operational. Work has also continued on landscaping, fencing etc. to improve the look of the Great Western scene. The box, as seen here, now looks as though Didcot has been its home for the last hundred years. (It is a sobering thought, however, that in one form or another Didcot has now been its home for more than 30 years!)

 

Published Photo's

A listing of published photographs which include Radstock North Box, and its predecessor, before its removal to Didcot.

For reference information on the books see “Bibliography”, section below.

  Where Published Description of Photograph Date (where given) Attributed to:
1 Vincent, p.7 General view of Radstock West station looking towards crossing with gates closed and no trains. Circa 1960's Lens of Sutton (Neg. 53330)
2 Vincent, p.15 General view of Radstock West station looking towards crossing with gates open and rear of goods train disappearing.   Mike Vincent’s Collection
3 Handley (1991), p.12

Vincent, p.18
General view of Radstock level crossing from the Waldegrave Arms with S&D box in middle distance and GWR box behind. 1950's Chris Handley's Collection

John Kingman
4

Handley (1991), p.6
Mitchell & Smith, Plate 38
Vincent, p.50
Robertson, p.101
Maggs (2013) p.106

General View of Radstock from West end showing S&D line in foreground, GWR line in background and the S&D Clandown branch. 1909 / 1910

Lens of Sutton

Chris Howell

Colin Maggs' Collection

5 Mitchell & Smith, Plate 39

Handley (1991), p.78

Vincent, p.65
Radstock looking west towards the GWR station with early wooden signalbox in the middle distance and Ludlows colliery in foreground. Early 20th C / About 1905 M. Tozer's Collection

Chris Howell Collection

Gerald Quartley
6

Vincent, p.87
Maggs (2013), p.109

View looking east from Crossing including part of North signalbox with colliery chimneys behind. Circa 1950s / 1930s Lens of Sutton (Neg. 53324)
7 Vincent, p.136 View looking east from Crossing including part of signalbox and crossing gates, noticeboards and lamps. Autumn 1922 Derek Fear
8 Vincent, p.148 Ken Evans on duty at Radstock North Box.   Ken Evans' Collection
9 Vincent, p.153 Bristol bound train behind BR Standard Class 3 2-6-2T No. 82043 crossing the level crossing. 1958 Terry Paget
10

Mitchell & Smith, Plate 37
Robertson, p.102
Vincent, p.225
Maggs (2013), p.107

Radstock station looking west with old wooden box prominent in background. Metro tank arriving with 6-wheel Siphon.

Lens claims Circa 1912 (but must be 1910 or earlier). Maggs says C.1900.

Lens of Sutton (Neg. 53323)
Lens of Sutton (Neg. 53323)
W. White
Colin Maggs' Collection

11 Vincent, p. 229 Radstock ‘The gates’ – Class 33 No. 33049 removing S&D Trust's stock over the level crossing. 16/10/1975 Mike Miller
12 Vincent, p.242 Front-on close up of Radstock West Signal Box.   Ken Evans' Collection
13 Vincent, p.243 Interior view showing frame and gate wheel.   Ken Evans' Collection
14 Vincent, p.243 Interior view showing diagram and instruments.   Ken Evans' Collection
15 Vincent, p.243 Early close-up of GWR Radstock North Box, from opposite platform.   Mrs G. Shearn
16 Vincent, p.243 General view of station looking west with old wooden box.   Chris Howell
17

Mitchell & Smith, Plate 40
Smith, p.21
Oakley, (2002) p. 103
Robertson, p.99
Maggs (2013), p.107

General view looking west with light engine waiting to depart for Bristol. Early years of 20th C.

Circa 1912
Lens of Sutton (Neg. 53325)
18 Mitchell & Smith, Plate 43
Robertson, p.103
View down Somervale Road towards GWR station and level crossing. Circa 1920's Lens of Sutton (Neg. 53327)
19 Howell, p.106 View looking west with trains crossing. 1909 - 1915  
20

Maggs (1993), p.13
Maggs (2013), p.108

5446 (or 5445) with train from Bristol coming over the crossing.   M.E.J. Deane
21 Handley (1979), p.48

Vaughan, p.133
General view of station looking west with crossing gates closed 14.8.1959 Colin Maggs
22 Handley (1991), p.77 View looking down High Street towards old GW and S&D boxes, and showing new omnibus service 1906/7 Chris Howell's Collection
23 Handley (1992), p.135 View of level crossing with S&D box in foreground and part of old GW box showing behind Between 1885-1897 Chris Howell's Collection
24

Maggs (1992), p.45
Maggs (2007), p.34
Maggs (2013), p.109

4131 pulling into the Frome-bound platform (and partly obscuring the box) 14.8.1959 Colin Maggs
25 Mitchell & Smith, Plate 44

Toop, p.68
Pannier No. 4636 and goods train pulling into Frome-bound platform (and partly obscuring the box) 8.4.1958 R.E. Toop
26 Mitchell & Smith, Plate 45 General view of the remaining Frome-bound platform, the box and crossing 1964 C.L. Caddy
27 Mitchell & Smith, Plate 46 Close up view of box front and porch 1964 CL Caddy
28 Waters, p. 79 '5700' class 0-6-0PT No 5571 arrives at Radstock West Station with the 1:32 service from Bristol to Frome. 4.7.1959 GW Trust
29 Maggs (2007), p.34
Maggs (2013), p.232
0-6-2PT No. 7772 at Radstock West having its tanks replenished by a water crane before returning to Bristol (corner of box in picture) 12.4.1961 Colin Maggs
30 Maggs (2007), p.35 The Signalman at Radstock West holds his hand to receive the single line tablet from the fireman on No. 5757 working a Bristol to Frome passenger train. It is 1953, the year of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, and bunting may be seen on buildings in the background 1953 Colin Maggs' Collection
31

Maggs (2013), p.108

'8750' class 0-6-0PT No 4636 light engine takes on Water 08.04.1958 R.E. Toop / Colin Maggs' Collection

 

Bibliography

Recommended Reading:

Evans, Kevin. 1976. Radstock West Goes East Great Western Echo – No.55. Spring 1976. pp.10-13
Published by the Great Western Society Limited, Didcot, Oxfordshire.

Price, Alan. 1979. Radstock Signalbox Great Western Echo – No.67. Autumn 1979. pp.15-16
Published by the Great Western Society Limited, Didcot, Oxfordshire.

The rationale behind the locking and OES system adopted for the box.

Thomas, David St. John. 1973. A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: Volume 1, The West Country (fourth edition). David and Charles: Newton Abbot. ISBN 0 7153 6208 9.

A railway history of the area is offered on pages 178-179.

Vincent, Mike. 1990. Through Countryside and Coalfield: the GWR’s Bristol and North Somerset Railway. Haynes: Sparkford: . ISBN 0-86093-428-4

The definitive text on the line including sixteen Photographs of the boxes.

Other Information:

A necessarily incomplete list of where to find published information on the history of the GWR line through Radstock, and information and photographs concerning Radstock North Box and it's predecessor.

See the “Published Photo's'” section above for more detail of the photo-coverage.

Adams, William, ed. 1993. Encyclopaedia of the Great Western Railway. Patrick Stephens Limited. Sparkford, Somerset. ISBN 1 85260 329 1

Casserley, H.C. 1975. Railway History in Pictures: Wessex. David and Charles. Newton Abbot. ISBN 0 7153 7058 8

Interesting picture of station dated 1906, showing walkway and rodding still in place.

Clinker, C.R. 1978. Clinker's Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots in England Scotland and Wales (1830-1977) - New Edition. Avon Anglia Publications and Services, 9 Poplar Avenue, Bristol BS9 2BE. ISBN 0 905466 19 5
Coleford I. C. The North Somerset Line in BR Days. Railway Bylines: Vol 7. Issue 4. (March 2002) pp.164-177. Published by Irwell Press Ltd. 59a High Street, Clophill Beds MK45 4BE.
Hall, Stanley. 2000. The History and Development of Railway Signalling in the British Isles: Volume 1 - Broad Survey. The Friends of the National Railway Museum. ISBN 1 872 826 12 1.
Handley, Chris. 1979. The Railways and Tramways of Radstock. The Somerset and Dorset Railway Museum Trust. 23 Russell Road, Bristol. ISBN 0 9506790 3

One Photograph on page 48, and lots of interesting information about the lines

Handley, Chris. 1991. Radstock, Coal & Steam. The Somerset and Dorset at Radstock and Writhlington – Volume 1. Millstream Books. 7 Orange Grove, Bath BA1 1LP. ISBN 0 0 948975 27 X

Four Photographs, including some very early ones, of the boxes

Handley, Chris. 1992. Radstock, Coal & Steam. The Somerset and Dorset at Radstock and Writhlington – Volume 2. Millstream Books. 7 Orange Grove, Bath BA1 1LP. ISBN 0 0 948975 30 X

One very early Photograph including the McK&H box on page 135

Howell, Christopher.1988. Midsomer Norton and Radstock in Old Photographs. Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd. Brunswick Road, Gloucester. ISBN 0 86299 552 3.

Photograph on page 106

MacDermot, E. T. 1964. History of the Great Western Railway: Volume Two 1863-1921 (First Revised Edition). Ian Allan Ltd. Shepperton, Surrey. ISBN 0 7110 0412 9

Maggs, Colin G. 1992. The Last Days of Steam in Bristol and Somerset. Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0 7509 0001 6

Photograph on page 45

Maggs, Colin G. 1993. Branch Lines of Somerset. Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd. Phoenix Mill, Stroud, Gloucestershire. ISBN 0 7509 0226 4

Information about the Bristol-Frome Line pp.3-4. Photograph on page 13.

Maggs, Colin G. 2007. Somerset Railways. Halsgrove. Halsgrove House, Ryelands Industrial Estate, Bagley Road, Wellington, Somerset TA21 9PZ. ISBN 978 0 86183 442 6

Three Photographs on pages 34-35.

Maggs, Colin G. 2013. The Bristol-Radstock-Frome Line. The Oakwood Press. PO Box 13, Usk, Mon. NP15 1YS. ISBN 978 0 85361 726 6

Eight Photographs on pages 106-109 and page 232.

Mitchell, Vic & Smith, Keith. 1986. Frome to Bristol. Middleton Press. Midhurst, West Sussex. ISBN 1 873793 77 4

A good pictorial survey of the line, with eight photographs of the box and some useful track diagrams.

Oakley, Michael. 1986. Railways in Avon. Avon Anglia Publications: Annesley House, 21 Southside, Weston-s-Mare. ISBN 0 905466 80 2

Information about railways to Radstock pp.17-18

Oakley, Mike. 2002. Somerset Railway Stations. The Dovecote Press. Wimborne, Dorset. ISBN 1 904349 09 9

Summary information about the station and one photograph on pages 102-103.

Robertson, Kevin. 1990. Somerset & Avon Railways in Old Photographs. Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd. Phoenix Mill, Stroud, Gloucestershire. ISBN 0 86299 800 X

Four Photographs on pages 99–103.

Signalling Record Society. 2007. Signal Box Register - Volume 1: Great Western. Signalling Record Society ISBN 978 1 8732 2827 2

Basic details on Radstock North Box (p.153)

Signalling Study Group, The. 1986. The Signal Box. Oxford Publishing Company: Poole, Dorset. ISBN 0 86093 224 9

General information about Mackenzie & Holland type 1 boxes, as used by the North Somerset Railway (pp.89-93) and GWR Type 7 boxes (pp.163-164).

Smith, Martin. 1992. The Railways of Bristol and Somerset. Ian Allan: Shepperton, Surrey. ISBN 0 7110 2063 9

Brief history of the line on pp.22-23 and one photograph on page 21

Toop, Ronald E . 1973. Great Western Steam South of the Severn. D Bradford Barton Limited: Truro. ISBN 0 7110 2063 9

One photograph on page 68, showing the top of the box behind a goods train.

Vaughan, Adrian. 1977. A Pictorial Record of Great Western Architecture. Oxford Publishing Company: Poole. Dorset. ISBN 0 902888 22 6

One Photograph on page 133.

Warnock D.W. 1978. The Bristol and North Somerset Railway 1863-1884. Temple Cloud Publications:

A small book containing some useful information about the line.

Warnock D.W. & Parsons R.G. The Bristol and North Somerset Railway since 1884. Avon Anglia: 9 Poplar Avenue Bristol BS9 2BE. ISBN 0 905466 21 7

Companion volume to above.

Waters, Laurence. Around the Great Western Railway - Then and Now. Ian Allan: Hersham, Surrey. ISBN 0 7110 2843 5

One Photograph on page 79.

See Also:

Model Railways magazine - April 1976 - pages 200-201 for a write up and drawing for modelling Radstock box by D G Gibbs.

In addition, various copies of the Great Western Echo (GW Echo), Great Western Society National Newsletter (GWS NN) and Great Western Society (Bristol Group) News (BGN), all published by the Great Western Society, have been consulted.

Original Documentation has been consulted at The National Archives - Public Record Office at Kew (PRO), and the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office (WSRO), originally in Trowbridge but now relocated to Chippenham.

Newspaper reports were taken from the Western Daily Press (WDP), Bristol Times and Mirror (BTM), Bristol Evening Post (BEP) and The Times (TT), all of which are viewable (mostly on microfilm) at Bristol Central Reference Library, the various incarnations of the Bath Chronicle (BC), which are viewable (on microfilm) at Bath Central Library, and of the Somerset Guardian (SG) which are viewable (on microfilm) at the Somerset Local Studies Library in Taunton.

 

Recreating the golden age of the Great Western Railway