A blog post

Premier given the signal to undertake a timber survey at historic signal box

Posted on the 17 September, 2009 at 5:15 pm Written by in Blog, Case Studies, Wet Rot

In early August Premier received instructions to undertake a timber condition survey of the signal box located at Ryde St John Station on the Isle of Wight.

The station, which opened in August 1864, was the Isle of Wight railway’s northern terminus, (one of three stations in Ryde), before being expanded in 1866 to accommodate the opening of the new Ventnor to Shanklin line.

Ryde St John Signal Box

Ryde St John Signal Box

The islands railway now boasts an annual passenger usage of around 170,000, being the only commercial public transport railway line on the island and relied on by many local residents for access to other parts of the island.

The timber framed, two storey signal box originally located at London Waterloo East, was dismantled in 1926, timbers numbered and moved piece by piece to be re-erected at its present location. This is the only operational signal box on the Isle of Wight line today and hence it has become known as the ‘Island Line Signalling Centre’!

No fancy computerised systems here! All hand operated by an experienced Signalman

No fancy computerised systems here! All hand operated by an experienced Signalman

Premier’s brief was to undertake a detailed investigation of the main structural supporting timbers and to prepare a specification of repair and preservation to allow for the continued use of the Signal Box well into the 21st century.

The main soft wood timber frame which sits on a concrete ringed foundation suffers from wet rot fungal decay and general deterioration, in part due to general weathering and the lack of routine maintenance, but also as a consequence of past flooding that affected the track and station buildings in the early and late 1990’s. Investigation of the timbers included the use of conventional survey techniques and moisture measurement, but also Micro Drilling using the Sibtec Digital Probe to determine the integral condition of the main wall plates, cill beams and large corner posts.

Significant wet rot fungal decay affecting the large corner posts  and cill beams

Significant wet rot fungal decay affecting the large corner posts and cill beams

Wet rot decay affects the internal wall plates

Wet rot decay affects the internal wall plates

Wet rot fungal decay affects the joists to the canter levered jetty on the southern elevation

Wet rot fungal decay affects the joists to the canter levered jetty on the southern elevation

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