Semaphore Signals

A close look any ex industrial site will reveal a wealth of clues to it’s previous life. Occassionally a feature can look so obviously out of place, almost like it had been moved there from another location.

Half buried in years of coal dust and relentless brambles, our featured location holds more hidden heritage as we look closer.

The former industrial land around Swanwick Junction, Butterley has countless artifacts from a bygone era. Noticeably amongst the debris, railway semaphore signalling.

These signals once displayed their different indications to train drivers by changing the angle of inclination of a pivoted ‘arm’. Semaphore signals were patented in the early 1840s by Joseph James Stevens, and soon became the most widely used form of mechanical signal. Designs have altered over the intervening years, and colour light signals have replaced semaphore signals in most countries, but in a few they remain in use.

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