Many people will be familiar with the sight of a traditional signal box, controlling a level crossing or at a local station. For those with a love of railways, they have always been a special place, somewhat mysterious in that they are strictly private, and the `dark arts' that these signalmen practice, with their bells and levers, has never been expansively covered in the railway press. However, Network Rail have embarked on a major resignalling programme that will see the abolition of all their traditional signal boxes and crossing cabins and concentrate all train control into twelve Rail Operating Centres. The loss of these traditional boxes will bring to an end a way of life stretching back over 250 years.
Particularly hard hit will be Lincolnshire, a county that has remained relatively free from major resignalling schemes due to its largely rural nature. This book tours the county's remaining signal boxes in places such as Lincoln, Swinderby, Uffington and Stallingborough and gives a privileged look inside at a job little changed since the first boxes opened with the start of the railway age.
Dafydd Whyles has been a signalman for 18 years and currently works at a traditional signal box in Lincolnshire. His partner Dorothy also worked as a signaller and crossing keeper at several locations across Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire until retirement in 2014 when the box closures started in Lincolnshire. Today, they spend their spare time travelling the country recording this fast disappearing way of life.