The Great British Signal Box

More than 500 signal boxes across the UK are in the process of being made redundant as the modernisation of Britain's railway continues. The Victorian boxes, some of which have been part of the railway for around 150 years, will be retired as new technology is introduced. Since the announcement two years ago, 26 Signal boxes across England have earned listed status to preserve the country's rail heritage, but the vast majority will either be removed or allowed to fall into disrepair. For some they still serve as a reminder of the industrious railway network put in place by the Victorian railway pioneers. Originally, all signalling was done by mechanical means. Points and signals were operated locally from individual levers or handles, requiring the signalman to walk between the various pieces of equipment to set them in the required position for each train that passed. Before long, it was realised that control should be concentrated into one building, which came to be known as a signal box. As well as providing a dry, climate controlled space for the complex interlocking mechanics, the raised design of most signal boxes also provided the signalman with a good view of the railway under his control.