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Greenmax Signal Tower.

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Hi,  I've just made the above mentioned kit and was wondering if it should have a fence round it when I place it on the layout.  Had a look for pics of the real thing, but not come up with anything so far.



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I don't know, and I've never seen a photo of a signal tower like that (I presume you mean the Railway Signal Box). Everything today seems to be remotely controlled, except for station signals, and with those I've seen towers incorporated into the station (like at this station), although it's unclear to me if those as still active, or just relics of earlier times. In any case, they don't appear to have anything isolating them from the rest of the platform.


My suspicion is that fencing, if present at all, would be relatively low-key, and intended to define the boundary, or to keep stray animals away in a rural area, rather than anything significant intended to prevent access. Modern Japanese railways sometimes use high chain-link fences to protect rights-of-way in urban areas, but even that seems to be inconsistently applied. Note the rather low-key fencing between the residential street and the extensive Tabata engine facility in northern Tokyo. In rural areas, and in earlier times when such towers were in use, I'd expect fencing to be even less of a concern.


Note that Shinkansen rights of way are fenced even in rural areas, but that's due to the speed of the trains. And Shinkansen always used centralized control (I believe) so they wouldn't have had towers.


Update: on closer look, that Tabata photo isn't quite where I thought it was. It looks like it's almost inside the yard, at the end of a stretch of commercial/industrial buildings. Streetview shows higher fencing (around 5-6 feet) along the outer edges of the yard.

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Hi,    Yes, a Signal Box, that's what I call them, but wasn't sure what they are known as in Japan.  My layout is rural, a scenic stretch of double track, so probably would only need a basic fence, if anything, so I'll give it some thought, try another search to see if i can find any pics.



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I don't known the correct phrase either. Hobby Search (or perhaps Greenmax) translated it as "Railway Signal Box", but I suspect that's just typical British English, and not a literal translation of the Japanese.  I think "signal tower" is more of a North American term.  I've seen the phrase "Signal Station" (信号所) and "Signal Ground" (信号場) used, but these appear to reflect what I'd call "control points" or "interlockings", i.e., places that need to be controled by signals rather than the station doing the controlling. And the distinction, if any, between the two Japanese phrases escapes me.


Of course Japanese railway terminology often borrows from 19th century British usage, so "Signal Box" may be correct.

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Waist high fencing is often found along railway lines well outside major cities like the Nagoya Railway's main line from Toyohashi to Gifu. Some of this fencing is made from sections of scrap rail or scrap cross ties.




This is a translated Japanese Wikipedia article on Railway Signals in Japan.




You might find what you are looking for in the Signal station article.



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Dave, the Green Max kit is of a wooden mechanical signalbox, necessary in the age of semaphore signals.  They were located in areas where the number of points necessitated a more substantial control layout than the more common ground frames found in open enclosures either as part of the station building or next to it.  Pictures of these signalboxes are rather scarce for some reason, one reason may be that they were not as common as say, in Great Britain.


Here are some I found-

Hakubi Line, Nunohara Signal Box:



The site today from the same vantage point:



Abandoned signal box on the Tohoku Main Line, somewhere between Kaneta and Misawa:



Obasute Station and switchback on the Shinonoi Line, you can see the signal tower in the center left:



Ground frame type setups directly on station platforms were more common at regular stations with passing sidings.  This one is at a station on the JNR Kihara Line in Chiba Pref:



On the Gotemba Line, Shizuoka Pref:



The signalboxes had point rodding and signal wires coming out of the base of their structures, so they were located next to the tracks.  Fencing, such as old sleepers, rail etc. if in place, would be on the sides or rear, if adjacent to a road or other public property. Of course, with the installation of light signals and modern train control such as CTC, these signal boxes were decommissioned and demolished.

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Thanks for the links and info, very interesting.    I guessed this type of signal box was from way back, but I just liked the look of it.  When i was a kid in the early sixties in the UK, there seemed to be a signalbox every few hundred yards, now they are quite rare, though there is still an old one at one of my local stations, about 3 miles from where i live, and most of the preserved lines over here have them in use, great to see.


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though there is still an old one at one of my local stations, about 3 miles from where i live


Lucky you.  Is it still in operation?  Could you tell me the name and/or its configuration?  Unfortunately there are no longer any working mechanical signalboxes in Japan, though it seems there are still some in Taiwan that are based on Japanese operational philosophy (which in turn is based on British practice, for the most part).

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Hi,    It's at Blackrod, Lancashire in England.    I actually drove past it today and could see it from the Motorway, about half a mile away, it looks in fairly good order, but couldn't say if it is still in use.  There was a junction there that went to the small town where i live, Horwich, and to the Loco works, but the tracks have long gone.    Horwich Loco Works made steam loco's from the late 1800s to the late 1950s and finally closed in the mid 80s.  Originally it was part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.


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