JTA's trip to Foxton Signal Box

24th January 2019

The JTA trip to the Foxton Signal Box


On Thursday 17th January the JTAs went to Foxton signal box to learn about safety on the level crossing. When we got to the signal box there were three people there, they were waiting to tell us all about how the signal box controls the trains and how to keep ourselves safe.

Before we went up into the signal box, we went and stood by the level crossing so that we could see it working. We met Sarah (who had arranged our visit) and watched her come safely across the track after a train had gone and it was safe to cross.

After Sarah had arrived, we went up some really long, steep steps that went up to the signal box. The steps were outside and were really close to the railway line so we had to be very careful. Inside the signal box there were lots and lots of buttons and flashing lights. There was a big electronic display that showed the signal man when the trains were coming.

The crossings at Shepreth and Foxton are both controlled by the signal man at Foxton and they have to press lots of buttons – they let us have a go. When a train was coming to Foxton, first we had to press the button to make the lights flash and lower the level crossing gates. Next, we had to turn the switch to lock the pedestrian gates, then we had to look out of the window and check that the crossing was clear. Finally we had to press the button that said crossing clear so the train driver would know the crossing was ready. The signal man has to make sure the barriers are put down early enough to keep everyone safe.

As the trains went past the signal box most of the drivers waved to us.

Once the train had gone we had to press the button to put the barriers up and switch the switches to open the pedestrian gate.

We learnt lots of interesting things at the signal box; that fast trains go past the crossing at 90 miles an hour and that the fastest trains in Britain go 125 miles an hour. The only day there is not a signalman in the box is Christmas day as that is the only day there are no trains. We learnt that the electric wires above the railway line has 25,000 volts to power the train and that is why it is very important not to go near it.

We asked the railway men why they were wearing bright safety jackets and they said that it was so that the train drivers could see them. If there is a power cut at the signal box they have back up batteries to last the rest of the day

We aware surprised how many trains went past while we were there. The man told us that 90 trains go past each shift, that is every 8 hours. They also told us that sometimes steam trains go past the crossing and once they had the Orient Express go past.

After our trip to the crossing we wrote five rules to keep ourselves safe to share with the rest of the school.

  1. When the lights flash and the barriers come down – WAIT – DO NOT CROSS!
  2. Don’t run across the track in case you trip.
  3. Do not climb on the fences or the gates by the railway.
  4. Do not play on the railway.
  5. Always look and listens for trains before you walk across the railway.
  6. If you are on the platform waiting for a train, stand behind the yellow line.

We also made up a slogan to help everyone stay safe;


When the lights flash – Don’t dash!!


By Olly, Tia, Zoe, Sophie M., Henry G and Amelia H.