St Albans South Signal Box

St Albans South Signal Box News of what you can see and do at the FREE TO VISIT
St Albans South Signal Box and details of events and opening times. St Albans South Signal Box is a Grade 2 listed building.
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After going out of use in 1979 it was left to rot until 2002 when a group of local residents determined to do something with it. A charitable trust was formed and, after nearly 4 years of negotiation with Railtrack and then Network Rail, took possession in 2006. Then the really hard work started. It took 3 years and many thousands of pounds to restore the box and it finally opened to the public for the first time in 2009. It is one of the few preserved boxes on a mainline railway that's regularly open to the public. Upstairs, the box has been restored to it's 1979 condition, complete with working lever frame, block instruments, bells and other signalling equipment. This has enabled us to demonstrate how manual signalling was done and these demonstrations run continuously when we are open. Downstairs, there is a small museum.. There are many signalling items on display, including single line 'tablet' machines, and other railway-related exhibits. Railway videos and a slideshow of the restoration are also shown. The garden has been laid out with flowers, shrubs and lawn and there are working signals and other exhibits on display. Light refreshments are available. The site is fully accessible except for the long flight of steps to the upper floor of the signal box and there is a fully accessible toilet and hand washing facility available on request. Postcode for satnav users is AL1 3AJ. There is ample parking nearby at the Railway Station and in Ridgmont Road. There is no need to book - just come along. Entrance is FREE, but donations are always welcome.

Operating as usual

Once again we need to repaint the signal box.What a fantastic job Brian and his son are doing, can't wait to see the fin...
03/06/2021

Once again we need to repaint the signal box.
What a fantastic job Brian and his son are doing, can't wait to see the finished box.

New signs up in signal box garden plus a nice view of the finals and tulips.Hoping that all restrictions are lifted in J...
27/04/2021

New signs up in signal box garden plus a nice view of the finals and tulips.
Hoping that all restrictions are lifted in June especially the 2m rule so that we may open in July.

Spring arriving in the garden of the signal box with snowdrops and crocus showing amongst the artifacts.   Hopefully we ...
15/02/2021

Spring arriving in the garden of the signal box with snowdrops and crocus showing amongst the artifacts. Hopefully we will soon be able to share this with you.

On behalf of the trustees and members of the Signal Box Trust we would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a bet...
24/12/2020

On behalf of the trustees and members of the Signal Box Trust we would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a better year to come.
We look forward to welcoming you back to the box some time in the spring or summer.
Keep well.
Pictures show latest exhibit can you guess what it is?

Another new exhibit at the signal box.   This is a fog repeater signal used when access to the signal being controlled w...
13/11/2020

Another new exhibit at the signal box. This is a fog repeater signal used when access to the signal being controlled was limited. In foggy weather when drivers had problems seeing the signals a member of the permanent way gang would be sent to stand under the signal and place a detonator on the track when the signal was at danger. If space was tight this sort of signal was used to keep the fog man safe. The distant is connected to the distant signal on the lattice post and the home to the Midland operated from lever 32.
More interesting displays to come.

As we will not be open over Heritage Open Weekend we have produced 4 films to show you the box.Visit www.sigbox.co.uk to...
02/09/2020

As we will not be open over Heritage Open Weekend we have produced 4 films to show you the box.
Visit www.sigbox.co.uk to get the links.
See round the garden, the museum, the demo and the garden railway enjoy.

St Albans South Signal Box's cover photo
29/07/2020

St Albans South Signal Box's cover photo

As you can see from these images the garden is still being maintained by a group of very dedicated volunteers.Given the ...
25/06/2020

As you can see from these images the garden is still being maintained by a group of very dedicated volunteers.
Given the governments changes to the lockdown the trustees are reviewing the possibilities of opening the box. It appears that we may be able to offer viewing to small groups, no more than 10, as long as our members feel safe enough to es**rt them round.
More info as soon as possible.

Two good additions to the signal box.  These posters mounted on a steel backing were found behind the plaster board in t...
31/05/2020

Two good additions to the signal box. These posters mounted on a steel backing were found behind the plaster board in the waiting room on platform 2/3 and saved by the team rebuilding the station. We will I hope be able to find somewhere to display them ready for our opening sometime later this year.

Sadly the signal box is still not open to the public due to the lockdown and it appears that it may be sometime before w...
15/05/2020

Sadly the signal box is still not open to the public due to the lockdown and it appears that it may be sometime before we can open. As those of you who have been to the box will remember there is only one way in and the same way out making a two meter space between visitors very difficult. The path around the garden is narrow with very little space in the museum or operating deck.
We do have visitors, a family of foxes have moved in under the box and don't seem at all worried by the trains or our requests to move on! The weeds are doing very well in the garden, why do they grow quicker than the flowers? and the lawn seems to have a mind of it's own.
Hopefully by the end of the summer we will be able to welcome you all back but until then stay well.

Signal box garden looking at it's best, shame that nobody can see it.The daffodils are all out as we hoped they would be...
29/03/2020

Signal box garden looking at it's best, shame that nobody can see it.
The daffodils are all out as we hoped they would be for ready for our spring weekend opening which sadly will not happen.
The garden railway is nearly complete but much like St Albans City the station is being rebuilt.
Hope all our members and friends are well and virus free. Keep smiling.

17/03/2020

It is with great regret that the Signal Box has closed to visitors until further notice.
This has become necessary to protect the members who's average age is above the 70 year threshold recommended by the government.

As a result The Big Weekend opening on the 4th and 5th April will not now take place.

I apologise to all our younger visitors and assure them that Thomas, Percy and James are well and looking forward to meeting you all again in the summer.

Restricted access Midland Mile Post now on display at the signal box.
02/03/2020

Restricted access Midland Mile Post now on display at the signal box.

Great photograph of morning at box
22/01/2020

Great photograph of morning at box

14/01/2020

An unusual use for a signal box!!
Herts Music Service used St Albans Signal Box as a recording studio to highlight the work of young local musicians, listen and enjoy.

https://youtu.be/T15rDhY0rX4

Southern Railway ground signal now installed and litThe trustees of the signal box would like to wish our membership and...
10/12/2019

Southern Railway ground signal now installed and lit
The trustees of the signal box would like to wish our membership and visitors a very happy christmas and we look forward to meeting you all again in the new year.

Another couple of interesting artifacts on display in the signal box garden.  Both are boundary markers one from the Gre...
05/12/2019

Another couple of interesting artifacts on display in the signal box garden. Both are boundary markers one from the Great Northern and Midland Joint Railway and the other from the London and North Western and Midland Joint Railway. Both are in need of a little restoration which hopefully will happen as the weather improves.
Still to come an illuminated Southern ground signal and a home and distant fog repeater signal.

01/12/2019

Great visit yesterday from the Institute of Engineering and Technology, thanks Ian for organising your colleagues hope to see you all again on perhaps a warmer day.

Sunday 13th October the Signal Box is open in the afternoon from 2 till 5.  Still no charge for entry
12/10/2019

Sunday 13th October the Signal Box is open in the afternoon from 2 till 5. Still no charge for entry

This coming weekend the signal box will be open both Saturday and Sunday from 10 in the morning till 5 in the afternoon ...
17/09/2019

This coming weekend the signal box will be open both Saturday and Sunday from 10 in the morning till 5 in the afternoon as part of Heritage Weekend.
Lots of additional things to see and do including steam train rides along Ridgemont Road, 00 gauge Thomas and friends and a display from the Bricket Wood Station group, plus of course the usual Thomas in the flower beds and lots of levers to pull and bells to ring.
Entry is still FREE so why not give us a visit.

Another new display at the signal box!56 rail chairs( a rail chair holds the rail to the wooden sleeper) from 56 differe...
07/09/2019

Another new display at the signal box!
56 rail chairs( a rail chair holds the rail to the wooden sleeper) from 56 different rail companies. Can you guess the company name from the initials on the chair?
Signal box open this Sunday the 8th from 2 till 5 and still FREE entry so why not come and test your knowledge.
As a starter what company had the initials BD?

Another new exhibit at the signal box.   This is a Hudson Rugger quarry wagon probably used in the 1930s in quarries in ...
19/08/2019

Another new exhibit at the signal box. This is a Hudson Rugger quarry wagon probably used in the 1930s in quarries in the Northampton area. It was rather rusty when we collected it from Flamstead but now looks great in it's black and red paint. It's sits on the narrow gauge track at the north end of the site.
Why not come along and have a look on our open day Sunday 25th between 2 and 5.
Still FREE entry for all.

This weather is playing havoc with the signal box garden.  Everything is growing so fast we are struggling to stay on to...
01/08/2019

This weather is playing havoc with the signal box garden. Everything is growing so fast we are struggling to stay on top and lots of our exhibits look as though they are in a jungle not beside a railway. If you are a garden enthusiast and would like to help why not pop along and talk to us any open day on Wednesday afternoon.

Last Wednesday our memorial to the railway men of St Albans who did not come back from WW1 was unveiled by the Lord Lieu...
29/07/2019

Last Wednesday our memorial to the railway men of St Albans who did not come back from WW1 was unveiled by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire in the signal box garden.
Thanks to all who helped to put this together.

22/06/2019

For all you train buffs both young and old Flying Scotsman is due to stop at St Albans on Saturday 29th June at 7.33 departing at 7.36 on the Down Fast (platform 4). Should be good views of the engine under load anywhere north of the station including great views from Heartwood Forest.

New display in the Signal Box of items from the Eurostar trains.We have a pair of the air horns plus part of the nose co...
20/06/2019

New display in the Signal Box of items from the Eurostar trains.
We have a pair of the air horns plus part of the nose cone which usually conceals them and two of the emergency light units one clearly marked SNCF.
A great addition to the museum.

New display at St Albans Signal Box.We think it's x London Transport probably used in a depot to tell if track power is ...
14/05/2019

New display at St Albans Signal Box.
We think it's x London Transport probably used in a depot to tell if track power is on or off.

23/04/2019

Once again this weekend the signal box will be open from 2 till 5 on Sunday. Weather forecast isn't good but the box and buffet are all under cover and we do have umbrellas, so hope to see you there.

08/04/2019

A great weekend 6th 7th April. We had 1200 visitors in spite of the not very warm weather. I hope you all enjoyed your visit, we enjoyed showing you the box and gardens and especially our new friend Thomas the Tank Engine.
Come and see us again soon

04/04/2019

This weekend the signal box is open as part of 'The Big Weekend'. It opens at 10 on both days and shuts at 5. Lots of new things to see including a great new photo display in the new Buffet, a set of narrow gauge points all the way from Wales, a Southern Railway yellow and black ground signal, steam rides in the road outside the box and of course for the younger visitors the first running of Thomas the Tank Engine.
Tea and coffee available in the new buffet.
Amazingly entry to the box is still FREE.

11/03/2019

Great day yesterday 250 visitors in just 3 hours.

Photos from St Albans South Signal Box's post
11/03/2019

Photos from St Albans South Signal Box's post

Despite the lack of regular updates on this site, it’s been another busy period at the Signal Box with the progression o...
06/02/2019

Despite the lack of regular updates on this site, it’s been another busy period at the Signal Box with the progression of two major projects - both took a few months to complete, hence reporting several months together.

They are the re-siting of the ground frame and connecting it up to a recently acquired narrow gauge point, or “turnout” (“switch” to our American cousins), and the removal of the old “tea shelter”, dating from 2014, and it’s replacement with a "Tea Shed" to give those serving refreshments to visitors and volunteers better shelter from the British weather - together with some space for visitors to shelter as well.

The final open afternoon of 2018 on December 9th saw 72 visitors to the box, making a total of 2,425 for the whole year. This is a slight drop from 2017's record of 2,709 visitors, but is still pretty good going!

The photos show the old shelter and it’s replacement, and the resited lever frame and newly installed point

Lest We ForgetAs we approach the centenary of the Armistice we wanted to commemorate the employees of the Midland Railwa...
15/10/2018

Lest We Forget
As we approach the centenary of the Armistice we wanted to commemorate the employees of the Midland Railway who died in "The Great War" and who came from the St Albans area.
We were able to trace details for 11 men and for each one we have listed their name, rank, regiment, date of death, where buried (if known), their job on the railway and, again if we could find it, where they lived.
If you have seen this display we'd appreciate hearing your comments about it. If responses are favourable we will consider making some form of more permanent memorial.

Heritage Open Days - September 8th and 9thThe extended opening on these two days saw 469 visitors come to the box to see...
15/10/2018

Heritage Open Days - September 8th and 9th

The extended opening on these two days saw 469 visitors come to the box to see a number of special displays and demonstrations.

We were fortunate to be able to display a model of a Johnson Single in 5inch gauge - the prototype locomotives were built by the Midland Railway in the 1880s, a model of a "Crab", again to 5inch gauge - the LMS built these locomotives from 1926 onwards, and a collection of 4mm/foot (00 gauge) locomotives whose prototypes all passed through St Albans City station at sometime or another.

The usual ride-on railway in the car park took on a "Great War" theme with a model of a Simplex Armoured locomotive as used to supply the trenches of that conflict.

Some visitors were not local – one gentleman, a signalman himself, came all the way from Germany to see us!

Address

Ridgmont Road
Saint Albans
AL1 3AJ

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