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The Signalman

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The Signalman

Post  RichieO on Mon Oct 24 2011, 20:59


I am the signalman who controls a small stretch a railway line. I work from a Signal box along the line and pass the trains safely along. Inside my box there are, big levers and instruments, that help me see. For this is a box of old, which if told its signals, are of Semaphore. For when the bells ring its tells me of an approaching train. My box is on a lonely stretch of line close to a viaduct and between the towns of Settle and Carlisle.
The countryside around is bare and remote high up on the Yorkshire Dales

It was on a dark and cold winters night the story is told. The snow lay all round thick and deep. The Signalman was in his box awaiting the next train to pass. The weather outside was cold. The wind was blowing across the Moor, bringing more snow upon the air.
Inside the signal cabin a warm glow came from the fire in the corner. Hot water was on the boil which was on the stove. The signalman crossed the room to check the cabin log, no trains due for a hour or two.

Having made some tea and settled down to pass the time, he sipped on his tea. The sound of the wind howling outside was broken by the ringing of the telegraph bell. Ding.! Call attention it meant, startled by this the signalman wondered what it could be. Answering the call with a bell code to the signal box to the south, he waited for the bell to ring out the train to pass. The bells rang again this time it told of a train which be headed by steam engine. The signalman not worried has it was usual for Control not say of a special booked to pass. The signalman accepted the train and telegraphed the signal box to the north, the signalman also accepted the train.

Moving to the big signal levers the signalman did pull the route clear. Peering out of the cabin window to the south the signalman caught a glimpse of the approaching train. As it neared the train slowed and stopped outside the cabin. A magnificent looking steam engine stood there was eerie glow it came from firebox you know. The Fireman climbed down from the cab and came to cabin with a tea can in hand. “Aye up lad wilt thou ‘ave water on the boil” he said “Help yourself” the signalman replied. With that the Fireman filled his can and signed the cabin logbook.
“Cheerio lad” cried the Fireman has he left the cabin. Returning to the engine he did with tea can in hand. One blast on the engine whistle and the train disappeared along the track. The signalman then telegraphed the box to the north ‘Train entering section’ using the Block Telegraph. After awhile the signalman from the north rang and asked “Where’s the train” Stunned the signalman replied “It should be with you by now”. A great fear gripped the signalman’s heart what has happened to the train. Six rapid bells on the Block telegraph to signalman to the south indicating ‘Danger Obstruction”. Frantic telephone calls to Control were made but Control said no train was booked.
The signalman ran along the track and met the signalman from the north in the middle of the viaduct. No train was seen by both men it seems, but a look below the viaduct showed an eerie glow. They both saw this for a moment or so and then it was gone.
So what did this signalman see!!……..I let you ponder on that one??.

© Richie O'Leary 25 October 2011
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Re: The Signalman

Post  Mr Williams on Mon Oct 24 2011, 22:01

Interesting story Richard. My guess would be the train went over the viaduct?

GB, David
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Re: The Signalman

Post  RichieO on Mon Oct 24 2011, 22:27

That's correct David, the story goes that the bridge had a weak spot midway across and as the train crossed the viaduct under a heavy snowstorm it was swept off the viaduct to the ground below.
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