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Detonator Tins



Used for carrying Detonators in Loco or Brake Van

Detonators were issued in a tin of 10 and dated with a “Use by Date”

Used to protect the line in case of accident or breakdown or during engineering work

Detonators where placed on the track ( usually 3) spaced a certain distance apart ,11/4 miles from the site of the blockage to give an audible warning to any approaching Loco before the signaller is able to stop traffic, They are exploded when crushed by the train wheels and the Driver would respond with Emergency braking.


They were also used by Signal men during poor visibility












The small yellow Detonator, with bendable strips that are wrapped around the rail to hold it in place. They are also used when awaiting for assistance to a failed train and placed 300 yards away to tell the approaching Assistance loco of his nearing the failure

detonator tin with text
detonator with text

General interest pages from our Archives


Steam Locomotive Firing Shovel



These shovels tended to be long and narrow with raised sides.  These were used to feed coal or briquettes through the narrow entrance to a steam locomotive firebox.


They were issued in different handle lengths, the sample shown is a long one used to fire Black Fives, 8F’s etc.


On a 4F a shorter variety would be issued due to restricted room on the footplate.


An interesting note is that the majority of these were made by Lucas of Dronfield which is now the site of a Supermarket


shovel with text

Oil cup or trimming box


The axles and running gear on a steam locomotive needed constant lubrication to avoid friction and overheating problems.


Boxes such as this wuld be positioned above the key components of the locomotives.  Oil would be put in this box and the two holes had Worsted Trimmings in, allowing oil to “wick” slowly down to the moving parts.


The trimming would be poked down the pipes with the wire loop stopping it dropping in further and the tails would be left soaking in the oil.


These parts would not require too much oil, like slides.


The diagram below shows detail of the trimmings for different applications, the more wool tails the more oil would be fed to the components.

oil cup with text
trimming with text

Worsted Trimming


Block Switch


Behind the scenes, the role of the signalmen had a major impact on the railways.  We are collecting much of the equipment used to diisplay in our signal box and we will eventually create a page here explaining the fixtures and how they were used.



Not all signal boxes were manned all of the time, for example those operating signals, points and crossings directing trains onto some small branch lines  When a Signal Box “switched out” (closed), this switch was operated, so that the bell signals went to the boxes on each side.


A Signal Box without this switch had to be manned all the time.


Box switch with text

This section contains items from our archives that don't fit naturally into any major catagory and are often overlooked.  These pages will be changed regularly so keep calling back.

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