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London & North Western Railway Society
LNWR Mystery Photographs
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  • Mystery Number 252 – supplied by Harry Jack

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    Samson class 446 SIREN, but where and when? And what is that strange signal?

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  • Tim Birch — 03-Jul-2018 7.44 PM
    I think the signals are Lancashire and Yorkshire. Later the spectacle plate was altered to contain two lenses. The L&Y was very parsimonious at that time and so the alteration did not involve a new post or altering the pivot point for the existing arm. That was why L&Y signals up to about 1912 had such an unusual appearance. (Also, weren’t the Samson class an attractive design to look at?)
    Harry Jack — 24-Jul-2018 7.02 PM
    Thanks, Tim. Interesting to learn that the strange signals are L&Y; this narrows the “where” down a bit. But the painting of the arms — dark bands on a light ground — seems odd. Is this something the L&YR did? Any ideas about the colours?
    Christopher Littleworth — 24-Jul-2018 10.31 PM
    The signals are not L&Y per se, but are either Gloucester Wagon Company or Railway Signal Company — both contractors for the L&Y - BUT they did work for other railway companies as well. (The RSCo. basically nicked the GWCo. design and then when the L&Y started producing their own signals they closely followed the RSCo. design, hence the similarities).
    As to their apparently peculiar colouring, I’m not saying it’s definitely the case here but I have seen examples in the past where the arms looked lighter than the vertical bands, but actually it‘s an illusion caused by some old photographic chemicals reacting peculiarly to the colours and giving a negative effect!!
    I’m afraid I haven’t got much idea as to location but I’ll keep thinking about it.
    Tim Birch — 27-Jul-2018 8.14 PM
    Christopher is correct in that the signals were not manufactured by the L&YR, my point was that they are on the L&YR. Information from the L&YR Society suggests that they are Railway Signal Co arms introduced in 1882. I believe that the photo was taken before 1893 for two reasons: the engine was cut up then (source — Baxter with the usual caveats) and in 1893 the L&YR decided to alter the ‘clear’ aspect from white (i.e., no lens in front of the lamp) to green. It was then that the spectacle casings were replaced by one with two glasses, but using the same pivot point.
    Of course none of the above helps to narrow down the location...
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