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How to use this site

Much of this site is based upon a book issued to railwaymen called the Sectional Appendix. The Sectional Appendix was, and indeed still is, the railwayman’s guide to the routes upon which he/she is required to operate trains. At its simplest, it contains a list of locations (Signal boxes, stations and other features), running lines (Showing the signalling system in use), speed restrictions and mileages. Delving further uncovers a myriad of local instructions, with tables showing special working arrangements, all designed to ensure the safe working of the railway. A typical list of contents from a 1960 Sectional Appendix looked like this:

A List of signal boxes, running lines, maximum permissible speeds and restrictions etc.
B Lines worked under Permissive Block system
C Lines worked under "No Block" Regulations
D1 Electric Token Receiving and Delivering Apparatus
D2 Lines Worked under the Electric Train Token, Train Staff and Ticket and One Engine in Steam arrangements where persons other than the Signalman are authorised to deliver or receive the Token or Staff
E Local code of engine whistles
F Propelling trains or vehicles
G Working in wrong direction
H2 Working of freight trains without a brake van in rear
H2 Working of coaching stock vehicles without a brake van beyond station limits
J Engines assisting in rear of trains – Rule 133
K1 Working of trains conveying Passengers over Goods lines or Goods loops
K2 Lines equipped for passenger train working over which there is no booked passenger train service – Rule 55
L Engineer’s rail motors
M Placing trains or vehicles outside Home signals on falling gradients – Rule 114 (c)
N Trolleys going into or through tunnels
P Level crossing gates – Opening and closing by trainmen
Q Lighting and extinguishing of signal lamps – Rule 73
R Mail bag apparatus
S1 Intermediate sidings at which trains may be shunted for other trains to pass
S2 Trains returning from intermediate sidings or stations on Single lines of railway to the Token or Staff station in rear
T Lineside fires
U Towing of vehicles – Rule 110 (c)
V List of local head-codes
X Tail lamps – lighting through tunnels – Rule 120
– General Instructions
– Local Instructions

This website provides a list of every route operated by British Railways as shown in the Sectional Appendix dated October 1st, 1960 (Some dates different on the Western Region). Don’t know what the Sectional Appendix is? Click here.

Where available, I will seek to include information from pre-1960. Lest it be thought that the Beeching era was a new phenomena, the wholesale closure of stations and routes had been going on for many years prior to 1960. WWI economy measures, the great depression and the post WWII rise of road transport all bit deeply into the railway network.

In the National Routes page the country is divided into regions and then sub-divided into sections or, in the case of the Western Region, Traffic Divisions. Clicking on any of the regions/divisions will take you to a list of routes. Then simply click on whichever route interests you.

Once you have found the route that you are looking for, you will see a table containing a list of locations, along with certain other information. At junctions you will see an arrow. These arrows are clickable and will allow you to move from route to route. It will thus be possible to take a ‘journey’ from Penzance to Thurso, passing every signal box along the way and, hopefully, to get a feel for British Railways as it was during this fascinating period of its history. This is definitely a work in progress, so many areas of the country have little or no information available as yet other than place names..

Without an intimate knowledge of the routes concerned, users will find it difficult to navigate any distance and to keep track of where they are. Maps become an essential tool. In this connection, I get a lot of use out of my Ian Allan Pre-Grouping atlas. If you don’t possess such a map then there are excellent online versions available. Some of them are listed on my links page.

Any feedback is always welcome and, indeed, essential. Any mistakes that I have made will remain mistakes without the help of those who know better.

Definite items for inclusion

  • List of stations all stations, including those closed prior to, or opened after, 1960.
  • Signal boxes and some other features that existed in 1960.
  • Distances between locations (Usually signal boxes).
  • Number of running lines, loops and refuge sidings
  • Opening and closing dates of routes and stations, where available.
  • Links to old OS maps for each passenger station.
  • Sections of line that have been reopened by preservationists.

Possible items for inclusion

  • Details of routes closed before 1960.
  • Private sidings.
  • Some timetable information for routes.
  • Features of closed lines that remain traceable and the new uses that some have been put to.
  • Railway related listed buildings.

Below are two pages from Section A of the L.M.R. Midland Lines Sectional Appendix dated October 1st, 1960. It covers the lines out of London St. Pancras station. Most of the information can be understood from the ‘Explanation of References’, but some items need more explanation. The additional up and down running lines are divided by two thin black lines. These denote a double track railway (Plus the additional lines, of course). Single line railways are denoted by this divider being a single black line.

All running lines are classified as either up or down lines. The layout of the table corresponds to this practice, so trains travelling from Kentish Town towards St. Pancras – up the page – are on the up line, and visa versa. So between Islip Street Junction and Kentish Town Station there were 2 up passenger lines, two up goods lines, 2 down passenger lines and two down goods lines. The position of running lines is shown in diagrammatic form and does not necessarily correspond to the actual track layout.

Modern Sectional Appendices follow a slightly different format, with the running lines being shown in more of a map form, with points and sidings being shown. Generally speaking, as with timetables, the older a Sectional Appendix is, the less easy it is to understand at a glance.

Hopefully these pages will serve to illustrate the usefulness of the Sectional Appendix to the railway historian. As already stated, my website will broadly be based upon the set of Sectional Appendices that were issued on October 1st, 1960 covering the London Midland, Eastern, North Eastern, Scottish and Southern Regions of British Railways. The Western Region, dedicated as ever to the cause of being different, issued it’s set at various dates between 1958 and 1959.