As regular readers of the NRM Blog will know, Borough Market Junction, ‘Britain’s Busiest Signal Box’, has been the subject of a conservation programme. The resulting works have prevented visitors from gaining access to this icon of Southern Railway modernisation. However, on 21 and 22 of June, this will all change, when Borough Market Junction, complete with new steps, opens its doors to visitors.
For these two days, Borough Market comes alive, and you have the chance to explore the space where 2 signallers and 35 levers handled about 1000 trains a shift. It was no place for the faint hearted; as one signaller explained, you only cleared the signals, when you could see the whites of the driver’s eyes.
Having completed the external works, the next task is to conserve were appropriate and restore were suitable. This process will include the jewel at the heart of Borough Market Junction, the Westinghouse K series signal frame. As the responsible curator, I see this is a real step forward in the process of returning ‘Britain’s Busiest Signal Box’ to a state, worthy of its place in the National Collection and in railway signalling history. The box is now sound, watertight and able to welcome visitors. With regular washing and occasional re-paints, it will easily last another fifty years; which is more than I can say.
You can check out the rest of the 21/22 June signalling activities at NRM by following this link http://www.nrm.org.uk/PlanaVisit/Events/festival-of-ideas.aspx to the York Festival of Ideas web pages.