Reedham Junction Appeal ‘Leverometer’ – £25,000 raised so far. Thank you!
The end of mechanical signalling in East Anglia
Since Victorian times, hundreds of signal boxes have manually worked points and signals by heavy levers attached to wires and rods. Now, in the 21st century, just one signaller can control many miles with comparative ease from a computerised desk. Soon, the once familiar sounds of bells tinging their messages over copper wires atop wooden lineside poles from box to box, levers clashing and the distinctive bounce of a semaphore returning to danger, will pass into memory.
Keeping the past alive
It is therefore vital to ensure this way of life lives on, after all railways are about people too! To this end, Network Rail have generously gifted the 60-lever Reedham Junction signal box to the North Norfolk Railway, to relocate it at our Holt site for the purpose of creating a hands-on railway signalling simulator. Here everyone from families to signalling enthusiasts will be able to work a ‘real’ signalbox and be that signalman without fear of delaying trains. Unlike most signal boxes in preservation, mainly single track with token operation, Reedham Junction will showcase the larger ‘boxes with double track absolute block with a junction too! Visitors will be able to learn the art of train regulation; the careful weaving of the Yarmouth holiday express between the Lowestoft fish trains to keep time, splitting the York express for Yarmouth and Lowestoft and in parallel shunting wagons for Cantley factory. Or simply ponder at life sitting in a cosy armchair on a dark evening, with only the comforting coal stove and a ticking clock for company.
Reedham Junction is the largest complete timber signalbox left in East Anglia offering the opportunity to relocate it as a complete unit. Volunteers have begun carefully dismantling the mechanical and electrical equipment and placing it into storage ready for the move. However, we need funds to build a new base for it at Holt and to cover the associated craneage and haulage. Then there is the restoration and repairs plus a full repaint to be done before we can reassemble the signalling equipment. We are therefore inviting you to be apart of the project by sponsoring a piece of the signalbox or to donate to our £35,000 appeal. To date, we have already raised nearly a third and with your help we can make this vision a reality.
How can I be a part of this project
We are inviting you to sponsor a piece o0f the signal box. this could be in your own name or perhaps a dedication to a oved one? There are 4 levels available and the option to pay in one go or over 25 months.
PLATINUM – £500 (£20 x 25 months) – One of 5 Big Items. Dedication plaque mounted next to your chosen item; Diagram, Relay Cabinet, Desk, Stove, Frame. Plus 2 years unlimited NNR travel (incl. Special Events)
GOLD – £250 (£10 x 25 months) – One of 60 Levers. Dedication plaque next to your chosen lever plus 2 years unlimited NNR travel (excl. Special Events)
SILVER – £125 (£5 x 25 months) – One of 175 Locking Room Weatherboards. Your dedication on your chosen weatherboard and receive 2/3 off NNR travel tickets for 2 years (excl. Special Events)
BRONZE – £75 (£3 x 25 months) – 1/3 off NNR travel tickets for 2 years (excl. Special Events)
Sponsorship & Donations Forms are available HERE
Call Sheringham Station 01263 820 800
A brief history of Reedham Box.
Reedham also controlled entry to the single line to Yarmouth Vauxhall via Berney Arms. To facilitate summer holiday traffic, an unusual token arrangement was installed permitting two trains to follow in the same direction using a small intermediate signalbox at Berney Arms to break the section in half. The trains would be signalled to Breydon Junction and two tokens issued. One would be released for the Reedham signalman to issue to the first train and the second token would only be released once the first train had passed clear of Berney Arms. This equipment has been saved and is currently in store at the National Railway Museum.
In 1977 Breydon Junction was abolished and Reedham Jn worked directly to Yarmouth Vauxhall SB. The token machines were also replaced with Tokenless Block signalling.
In later years, Reedham only really came into its own on Summer Saturdays when both it and the Acle line would run to capacity despatching trains to the midlands and north. Weekdays it was just the hourly up and down Lowestoft service with 3 or 4 trains on the Berney line in each direction. Sundays were busier too, as up until recently, the Acle line would be shut or on reduced opening times resulting in Yarmouth’s coming via Reedham.
The building has stayed remarkably untouched by time. It had a full repaint by Regional Railways in the early 1990s and later by Railtrack. Fortunately, it has not suffered other timber boxes fate of being clad in UPVC and double glazed. However, the lack of protection has resulted in timber rot at the western end of the building but nothing that cannot be repaired. The box was even heated by a coal stove up until 2000 when electric heating took over. The original hearth and stove have been saved and are currently in storage. Even the old ceiling lights have been saved post a modern rewire which replaced them with strip lights.
Reedham Junction ceased to be ‘junction’ in October 2018 when the track layout was remodelled pending resignalling. It then merely functioned as a block post until full closure came on 22nd March 2019 after 115 years service. This is part of a wider scheme to replace mechanical signalling on the Lowestoft and Yarmouth lines and pass control to Colchester PSB.