The Signal Box

Railway stations stretch my mind. They are places of comings, goings, waitings, quietude, hecticity and evokers of emotion.

I was waiting at Waterford Station last night to collect son, Harry, off the Dublin train and, as always, my eyes were drawn to the timber clad signal box which dates back to 1906.

Signal Box
The Signal Box, Plunkett Station, Waterford City.ย 

It’s almost impossible to think of all the trains, passengers, railway staff, people waiting to collect passengers or wave them goodbye who have been watched over by this distinctive building up on its metal support frame.

Similarly, how many people, like me, have a whole mixum-gatherum of memories that seem to live in this signal box which opens up each time they have occasion to be in around the station or simply passing by for fleeting moments.

Little did I ever imagine when I was being collected by my father at the station as a teenager, that one day I would be collecting a ‘child’ of mine!

It was only when I was driving into the station last night, after shrugging off hubby’s offer to go instead, that I remembered how my mother used to stress how much Father loved collecting us because he got to hear all the news on the drive back out to Tramore.

I nearly turned back to ‘let’ hubby go but it was just a nearly!

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

20 thoughts on “The Signal Box”

  1. I could relate to this post, Jean! I am always the one to make the pickup at Sea-Tac airport–don’t want to miss a moment of time with the kids. And I often think of those who have come before me. Old bridges, the altar of an ancient church, even looking at the mirror in our dining room, I sometimes think of all the loved ones now gone who looked into the mirror when it was in my childhood home, to comb his hair or put on her lipstick, or stand back to back with my grandmother to see if he/she had grown taller than her.

  2. What a great old signal box which I never noticed when passing through there. I always thought it strange that the track was never extended over the bridge into the city proper.

    (Oh, I believe the flat rock above is now a Repeal slogan ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    1. Hi Roy, I was thinking of you when I saw the newly painted ‘Repeal.’ I wonder what next?
      As for the line, it breaks my heart that it doesn’t go to Rosslare anymore even. Short sighted, I feel, like the other closures back in the day, including Waterford-Tramore.

  3. This is a very inspiring post this morning Jean:) I can’t stop thinking about the ideas for a story and a poem….and I’m supposed to be editing the novel today:):) Procrastination is lovely sometimes!!!!

    1. Hi Olga, yes procrastination has its moments, though I suppose we should try to limit them-unless, of course, there’s something much more potentially memorable to do!

  4. Very cool Jean. I love train stations and train engines and equipment. There is a similar feeling for bus stations, trucks and airports. The steady state of these modes is movement. And they can take people and freight along with them. I have this theory that transportation is a form of communicating – instead of words or other two dimensional formats, it instead communicates three dimensional info like humans or goods or even animals. The movement of humans is really freedom.

    Great post Jean. Thank You.

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