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 Post subject: Marton Signal Cabin
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:37 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:29 pm
Posts: 207
A recent find of a photograph is this one showing Marton Signal Cabin on the Rugby to Leamington line circa 1911. It never ceases to amaze me how often historical photos keeping appearing. This was found on a village website celebrating the 'lives' of people buried in their church graveyard.

See http://www.warwickshirerailways.com/lms ... rt3576.htm

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Marton Signal Cabin
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:23 pm 
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Posts: 337
This an excellent photograph of an LNWR (type 4) signalbox in pre-Great War condition, with the name identified by the cast letters on the front, and the two boards for calling the Signal Lineman or Telegraph Lineman very prominent on the front. It is so much more valuable because we know the identity of the man in it.

The LNWR Central District staff records for Marton, from 1903 (RAIL410/1804 at The National Archives, also available via Ancestry.co.uk), tell us that the staff consisted of a Stationmaster, 2 signalmen at Marton Junction cabin and also a junior porter from January 1907. Curiously there are no signalmen listed for Marton Station cabin, so I deduce that it was normally switched out of circuit, and opened by the SM himself when required for the local goods train to shunt. The SM must have been pretty much a "one man band", especially before 1907.

From 1907 one of the Marton Junction signalmen's posts was altered to a Porter Signalman. Maybe this was connected with the alteration of a signalman's post at some other station so as to relieve at Marton Junction. The duties of the Porter Signalman were general portering at the passenger station, and to open and work the station signalbox when needed (as in the photo), presumably for the local goods train to attach, detach and position wagons for unloading in the sidings. He may also have worked at Marton Junction SB for a few hours a day, if necessary to cover the roster. The hours of opening of the signalboxes are in the list in the back of the LNWR Central District Working Timetable, a number of which for years 1908 to 1911 exist in various collections. I will check the details in due course.

The staff ledger tells us that Thomas Baker was born on 4.1.1888 and entered LNWR service on 14.5.06. On 15.5.09 he transferred from the Goods Department to Porter Signalman at Marton as the third successive occupant of that post. It seems that he took over fully on 12.5.09 when his predecessor left to Lichfield. He would have spent the intervening weeks learning the Absolute Block Regulations and the working of the lever frame, block instruments etc. for this he was paid 20/- p.w., increased by 2/- from 11.5.09 when he "passed out".

Regrettably there are no known "wages staff" ledgers for the Goods Department, nor any for the Traffic Department after 1911 when the system was converted to index cards. However, there are some trade union and Sectional Council records from the LMS in the 1930s at the Modern Record Centre at the University of Warwick, so it is just possible that he may be mentioned in those.

[please pass on this information to the Watford Village Hall Committee]


Last edited by reginstone on Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Marton Signal Cabin
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:29 pm
Posts: 207
Reg

My sincere thanks yet again for this detailed information which I have added to the page and credited to your good self. I have as you requested passed the information on to the Watford Village Hall Committee.

Many thanks

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Marton Signal Cabin
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:57 pm 
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As promised, I have checked the hours of opening of the signal cabins.

Throughout the decade from May 1903 until February 1913, each issue to the Central District WTT shows Marton Station cabin as open from 9.30 to 10.10am six days a week. This was necessary to allow two Down passenger trains to follow each other closely. As Dunchurch and Birdingbury cabins were also switched out most of the time, the normal Absolute Block section was between Bilton Sidings (Rugby) and Marton Junction cabins, a distance of just under 9 miles. This was adequate for the infrequent passenger and goods service, and saved the cost of employing signalmen at these cabins. The local goods service was provided by a trip working from Rugby, arriving at Marton at 4/10 and leaving again at 4/25 back to Rugby, allowing just 15 minutes for shunting. This was part of trip 1 from Rugby, altered to trip 101 in 1913 for the Traffic Control scheme. Of course, the cabin would have to be opened to enable access to the sidings.

Additionally, in summer 1908 and summer 1909 (July to September) the cabin was shown to be open daily from 2/25 to 3/0pm. This facilitated the passage of the seasonal GER & GWR Yarmouth to West Country train, which was booked to leave Rugby at 2/42 not long after the passage of a local service.

On the face of it, before 1907 it seems the Stationmaster would have to open the cabin himself, as there was no-one else available. However, this might not have been the case, as suggested in the next paragraph. From 1907 it would have been the Porter-Signalman's job to open the cabin and switch in the block instruments for these and other purposes.

Throughout this period Marton Junction cabin was shown to be open from 7.0 to 9/0 six days a week, or a period of 14 hours. The line was closed on Sundays. Before the Great War, signalmen's shifts on lines such as this were usually 12 hours long (although 10 hour shifts were worked on main lines, and 8 hours at the busiest stations). Prior to 1907, two signalmen were employed here, which would seem excessive to cover 14 hours of opening. However, maybe one man worked the Station cabin from 9.30am, and presumably also around 4pm for the goods, before walking to Marton Junction to relieve the early turn man there. This would give a shift of 12 hours including 30 minutes walking time. The two turns would rotate on a weekly basis, as was the norm. Although nominally employed at Marton Junction, they would have to be passed out to work both cabins. I stress that this is just a guess, and we will probably never know the truth for certain. After 1907, with the change to one signalman at Marton Junction and a Porter-Signalman, different arrangements must have been in force.


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 Post subject: Re: Marton Signal Cabin
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:29 pm
Posts: 207
Hi Reg

Because there is a danger that the caption to the signal cabin photo might be missed by some visitors I have added your excellent information on the opening hours of the signal cabins (duly credited) to the main station page.

My thanks again.

Mike


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