LNWR Type 5 Signal Box kit: Hartington
Hartington Signal Box is unusual. Not only has it been painstakingly restored and
conserved...but it is now a good 10 miles from the nearest rail head, and the
restoration has been undertaken by a County Council. Could this be the best
preserved signal box in the UK?
The kit is based on a photo survey undertaken in June 2014. The box is well
placed as it is accessible on all four sides, although the trees at the southern end
could do with some serious trimming. The first visit was undertaken on a Saturday
when the site was swarming with walkers, cyclists and horses!
The prototype was originally surrounded by the Up platform, and the staircase on
the prototype reflects this. As this will be a less common modelling option, the stairs
have been presented as a full height flight. The prototype photos show how it
needs to be modified for platform mounting. On the prototype box the upper flight
of stairs terminates on a concrete panel, but it is difficult to judge whether this part
of the original platform or something dug out of the County Council stores when
the box was restored. Nonetheless it gives a good feel for how the box access was original presented.
In the restored building there are two doors into the locking
room: one in a conventional position under the box door and
stairway (now fitted with a stable-style door for the
refreshment counter), and one at the non-stair end. Both
doors have stone lintels, but there is no obvious evidence of
a brick arch, so one or both may be original! However, the
door at the non-staircase end has been removed for the
purposes of the kit (on the assumption there would have only
been one door originally), and placed under the staircase.
The fire bucket rack on the front of the box is a problem, as
it is now some distance from the ground. In the platform
version, this made perfect sense.
Anyone wanting to create an accurate model of an L&NWR
box should obtain a copy of 'LNWR Portrayed' by Jack
Nelson. Jack was a passionate follower of the L&NWR and a
talented modeller and draftsman.
In the book Jack shows two styles of brick base - neither of
which is represented at Hartington! This is good news for the
kit, as Hartington is the simplest of the three styles. For the
record, Jack shows the outer course of engineering brick base as wider than the main structure; and then with wider base and inset panels for the locking room windows.
There is a course of blue engineering bricks round the base, but this is not consistent, with red bricks breaking into the engineering base from time to time. This has been corrected for the kit, but it does suggest less care being taken during construction, possibly because the base was to be hidden by the platform.
The slate roof was sourced from the Amazing Textures Website - a very useful resource for modellers. The ridge tiles are as per the building today, but look modern, rather than a purple-grey glazed Crewe product.
The box is worth a visit as the original diagram and lever
frame are present and correct. The levers are now
surrounded by a wooden fence, but the frame is intact.
It seems remarkable that the box has survived so well after
its last working on 27 October 1967, when the final freight
serving the quarry was signalled away to the north. The
block instrument shelf has also survived, although sadly it
is now clear of instruments.
> For best results, print onto the thickest board available
and use the best printer settings. I print using a
professional laser printer with 335 gsm board, which gives
a very high standard of finish. This cannot be matched
with a domestic inkjet (pre-printed kits can be supplied
for £6.79 - see on-line order facility at the bottom of this
> Use a fresh blade. Cut the steps first, whilst the blade
is still ultra-sharp.
|£6.79 including postage|