Signal Number 60.

Our previous house, which we left in 1976, was a number 60. Somewhere, and I have no idea where from, we obtained a signal lever number. And it was a number 60.

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This is a pleasing brass disc about 5cm in diameter. Any self-respecting signalman would be ashamed of the lack of polish and shine on that number although in this case it probably never was that perfect for it has traces of red paint on it. On the back it should have clips for fastening to the lever. The number must have been rather violently removed from its lever for such bits of bracket as remain are broken and twisted.

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That red paint probably indicates that the lever this was attached to operated a stop signal. In the old days of semaphore arm signals there was a fairly standard colour code in this country. Red painted levers controlled signals at which a train had to stop if it was in the danger position. A yellow painted lever controlled a distant or warning signal – one which told the driver of a train that he would probably have to stop at the next signal. A black painted lever was for points and there were other colours for less common levers.

Now we try to start the railway enthusiasm young in our family, so here’s grandson having a go at being a signalman at Medstead and Four Marks on the Watercress Line in Hampshire. Granny stands by in case the lever defeats the little lad.

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The signalman had chosen well. No strength was needed to operate this lever. The weight of the signal arm did the work!

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