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Om Signalman's Nightmare
Signalman's Nightmare is the third volume of Adrian Vaughan's memories of his career on the Western Region of British Railways. The book begins in 1962 at Challow and starts with a confession of his terrible contravention of the regulations brought about by an intense desire not to delay a passenger train. He learned a strong lesson there. The story moves on to mourn the passing of steam haulage with some good tales of gallant rescues of failed diesel locomotives by steam engines not far off being scrapped. For three years, Adrian worked at Uffington, which was the interface between the new signalling system, centred on Reading 'Panel'. He tells of how Western Region permitted situations to arise that breached the semaphore signalling regulations - and what he did about it. Automated signalling gave rise to derailments, one of which happened at Uffington while Adrian was on duty. From Uffington he moved to Oxford's signal boxes in 1968. In 1973, assailed once more by automation, he headed westwards into Somerset. Here he worked busy junction signal boxes with some fine ex-GWR and Somerset & Dorset Railway signalmen. The final chapter is bittersweet. The Somerset railway was idyllic but times they were a-changin'. Another automation scheme was looming, and Adrian had no intention of taking up a post in that. Then, in the sweltering heat of the summer of 1975, he made one last mistake -