Withyham signal box

Learn about and experience the work of a signalman

Visitors are invited to enter this beautifully restored signal box, and, with guidance from a steward, experience the work of a signalman by pulling the levers and sounding the bells.
Withyham Signal Box - Levers

The levers are colour coded.

  • Brown - Crossing gates' lock
  • Red - Stop or go signal
  • Green - Distant signals
  • Black - Point
  • Blue - Point Lock

The signalman used the cloth to protect the levers.

Withyham Signal Box - Bell and Indicator

Signalmen communicated with nearby signal boxes using a system of bell codes.

For signals that the signalman could not see from his box (eg. too far away) there was a 'repeater' dial which showed whether the signal was working or not.

Withyham Signal Box - Level Crossing Open and Close

The coal burning stove provided welcome warmth in the winter, and a means to make tea, and heat food, all year round.

The wheel is for opening and closing level crossing gates. It is here for display only. The signalman operated the crossing gates at Withyam by hand.

A single track railway line has its dangers, as a small mistake could lead to a head on collision between two trains travelling towards each other.

The Victorians developed an ingenious system whereby a train driver was forbidden to drive his train along a single track unless he was in possession of a 'single line staff'. We use the same system at the Bluebell today.

Withyham Signal Box - Single Line Staff

The picture shows the staff locked into the frame

©Bluebell Railway Museum 2020 7.3

Bluebell Railway celebrates sixty years