By Ken Shipley

The platform clock at Oakworth station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway had been motionless since thieves broke in and stole the Booking Office clock and master movement in November 2000. The office clock had been replaced with a totally inappropriate and grubby Bakelite GPO Mk 4 unit and the platform clock looked very sad. With the KWVR 50th anniversary approaching I decided it was time for action so advice was sought from Derek Bird who has a wealth of knowledge about railway clocks.


The original clock had a master clockwork movement powering the inside, and also the slave clock on the platform, which needed winding up every few days. The intention was to make it more user friendly by fitting a 240v electric movement to power the outside clock and a more appropriate wall clock for inside. Derek had a spare Magneta synchronous movement which he kindly donated suggesting that it would do the job.

The platform clock and mounting plinth were removed, the clock was dismantled and cleaned but the plinth was beyond redemption so a new one was commissioned from Thompson Joinery in Wilsden and the face was sent to Paul Humberstone, a sign writer in Ripon. Both parties did a superb job.

A wall bracket was made to fit  the Magneta movement to the wall and a universal joint made to couple the movement to the platform slave clock. With the platform clock bezel being sealed, adjusting the time has to be done from indoors.

Various methods were tried to fabricate a setting dial until I hit upon the idea of a new 2.5 litre paint tin, courtesy of Manor Coatings, which came already painted white: cut off the bottom 1/2”; fit it to a mounting boss I turned up in the lathe, and marked out the minute graduations using my rotary table and applied Letraset transfers for the numbers.

During extensive trials on the work bench it would run for a few hours then stop. It turned out one of the teeth on the hour pinion was slightly bent. Realigning it cured the problem.

Meanwhile, I had sourced a Midland style wall clock casing at a reasonable price from Simon Turner at GWR railwayana auctions in Evesham with a view to installing a new dial, glass and bezel, powering it with a modern quartz movement.

Genuine Midland wall clocks can command prices from £1000 upwards so they were out of the question. The movement was easy to acquire but the dial and bezel proved to be a bit more tricky. The casing aperture for the dial was 15” but I could only find 14” or 16” ones from the usual suppliers.

Trawling eBay one evening I came across a new 16” Meadows & Passmore dial with a starting price of £2, no bids, and 35 mins to go. With five seconds to go I placed a bid and it was mine, I collected it from Horsforth the following day. These are usually about £25-30 from the suppliers. I snipped 1/2” off the outside edge and fitted the movement.

The spade hands which came with the movement were to fit 12” dials and looked too short so I made some longer hands from sheet brass and we had a working clock.

John Holroyd, a friend from Bradford Model Engineering Society and a KWVR member, painted "W. Potts & Sons Leeds" on the dial. A G Thomas in Bradford supplied a 16” bezel at a good price when I explained where it was for and the work involved to make it fit. I had to cut 1" out of it, re-form it to fit and then silver solder it back together; a new glass front from Shipley Glass was added and it turned out okay in the end.

The whole lot was reassembled in July 2019 and has only stopped a couple of times due to power interruption. A lot of work but all in all a very satisfying project.

the only free and the only weekly magazine for model engineers. 

Editor: David Carpenter