Henwick Signal Box is probably best known as the place where trains were famously delayed one day almost five years ago (in February 2013), when a luckless signaller got trapped in the toilet! Happily it now has another distinction.
Work is nearing completion near the box on reinstating a turnback siding, to allow services terminating at nearby Worcester Foregate Street to clear the station before returning towards Birmingham or London, with exit from the siding being controlled by new signal HK9.
While semaphores disappear on the Fylde Coast and Humberside (see my earlier posts), it is a real delight to see this brand new lower quadrant signal about to be commissioned in an area with numerous surviving mechanical boxes, but one where there has been piecemeal replacement of some semaphores with single aspect colour lights.
Indeed there is one example of this just 200 yards from HK9, where a down signal beyond a left hand curve in the route towards Great Malvern and Hereford was recently replaced with a light (HK21) in order to improve visibility for train drivers. Another recent loss was at Norton Junction, south of Worcester, where semaphores controlling the Cotswold Line junction were replaced by a light.
These views taken from the Comer Road over-bridge on Sunday 7 January show GWR 166221 and West Midlands Railway 170635 passing HK9 with Hereford-bound services. Looking west, the newish colour light can be seen alongside Henwick’s attractive up home signals, as GWR 43171/042 approach with the 13.15 Great Malvern to London Paddington service.