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Epping Signal Cabin

The cabin was built to the standard London Transport type design and started signalling trains on 25th September 1949 when London Underground Central Line trains first started running to Epping. In the run-up to 1949, the line from Loughton was re-signalled to the then LPTB standard of two-aspect long-range colour-light stop signals (red and green). Additionally fog repeaters (with a black 'F' on the yellow aspect) were installed, which could be switched on when required. Steam hauled freight trains were still using the line so in order to give the necessary stopping distances, distant signals of the externally floodlit disc type showing a black fish-tailed bar on a yellow background were provided. The cabin was decommissioned in 1996, but has now been fully restored by our volunteers complete with working lever frame and line diagram.

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The brick and concrete signal cabin was built at the entrance to the Goods Yard on the approach to Epping station, complete with a Westinghouse N2M power frame with 47 miniature levers and illuminated diagram. The cabin was coded 'LW' and replaced the original Great Eastern Railway signal box, which had stood on the down platform (No2) of Epping station. That was built by the Great Eastern Railway on Platform 2 back in the days when steam trains first ran to Epping and beyond.

The full 47-lever frame was necessary because freight traffic was still playing its part on the railway and Epping had a large goods yard and gasworks siding. In addition there was still a locomotive shed and carriage sidings to cater for the services to Ongar and early morning services to London that were still steam hauled. The extension of the Central Line to Ongar was finally electrified on 18 November 1957. Freight traffic continued until 18 April 1966.

By September 1994 there were only 21 operational levers on the frame and with the closure of the Ongar section this was reduced to 14 levers, although to operate the normal service only seven levers were needed. The Central Line was re-signalled to modern standards with all movements being controlled from Wood Lane Signal Control Centre. On Sunday 28, July 1996, the 01:02 departure was the last train to be signalled by the cabin and it was then switched out. For a short while all points and signals at Epping were controlled by a temporary panel in Loughton signal cabin prior to the eventual transfer of operations to Wood Lane.

Regrettably the original Epping lever frame was removed after closure however, the 83-lever frame from Hainault cabin was secured as a replacement. It was dismantled and the components were moved to Epping over the weekend of 21/22nd May 2005.

 

The Signal Cabin saw very little activity over the intervening years so there was much to do. During this period intruders had removed heritage fixtures and fittings and further inspection found the high level toilet system smashed during the theft of lead pipe, copper pipe, taps, draining board and electrical fittings. We also found the water supply capped off to various outlets and the gas supply turned off to the heaters and boiler.

The Lever Frame we recovered from Hainault was enough for a 47 Lever Frame to be rebuilt with spares left over. Hainault Frame was 'N' and Epping 'N2M' Westinghouse style, the latter having the capability of being remotely operated by air possibly from Loughton Cabin via a Push Button panel but this never happened.

 

Shown here are the type of relays which used to be in our relay room. There were over 300 of them. They're called 'Fish Tank' relays. Strange because they don't work if you fill them with water!!

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