Former railway signalmen and women are getting together at the Signal School at York’s National Railway Museum to celebrate its centenary in January 2013.
The Signal School looks like a gentleman’s train set but has been used to train would-be signallers since 1913. The track, signals and levers and even the table it sits on were all made by apprentices at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1912.
The locomotives, carriages and wagons were supplied by the Basset Lowke Company. On Friday, 18 January, to mark its centenary, the NRM will be launching a new film about the history of the layout. Then on Saturday 19th January past students who trained on the simulator are invited to the museum for a trip down memory lane and a party.
From 1913 trainee signallers used the equipment to signal the movement of trains around the layout and learn the rules and regulations that ensured that train travel remained the safest form of travel in Britain.
In 1995, redevelopment forced the signal school to close but thanks to the efforts of museum volunteers, it was recovered from Victoria Station in Manchester and brought to the National Railway Museum. The lay out has now been restored to its 1925 configuration. This was the year of the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley.
Says Russell Hollowood of the NRM, ‘Mention simulators and most people think of flat screens and futuristic technology; however this model is still used to train signallers of the future. We are proud to have been part of its 100 year history. Having a team of enthusiastic volunteers restoring this has been testament to the crucial past that this simulator has provided.
‘Restored, the model has returned to doing what it was built for, turning the complex world of railway signalling into an engaging learning experience. We are hoping to see many ex-signal school students and enthusiasts in January when we celebrate this acclaimed milestone.’
Signallers and former students interested in coming along should contact Matthew Hick: [email protected]