The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 3 (July 1, 1929)
A Century of Signalling Progress
A Century of Signalling Progress.
Apropos the subject of train signalling, Mr. W. H. Deakin (who is eighty-two years of age and has had a life-long connection with railway signalling) recently read before the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers, a most interesting review of signal progress. In this review were described the first crude signal employed, in 1827, on the Stockton and Darlington Railway; types of early signals in use on the Liverpool and Manchester line about 1834, and several other early designs of signalling equipment on Britain's pioneer railways. About 1840, signalling consisted of two distant signals, and a two-armed home signal on the platform, the home signal arms being worked by hand-levers at the foot of the post, and the distant signals by two pull-over levers fixed on the station platform. The first signal frame was the invention of Sir Charles Hutton Gregory, and was called a “stirrup” frame. The signals were operated by wire connections from four stirrups, which the pointsman pressed down with his foot. In 1859, Austin Chambers contrived, in conjunction with this stirrup frame, the first method of interlocking. A somewhat similar patent produced about the same time was the interlocking device of John Saxby. This coupled the wire working the signal on to the point lever, so that, as the points were pulled over, the signal was at the same time lowered. Little by little train signalling has been perfected, page 44 and, to-day, the British railways, and those of the British Commonwealth of Nations generally, possess some of the finest signalling installations in the whole world, a factor which has gone far to make for railway safety and railway progress.