Lonely working life suits Jenny just
by Lyndon Whittaker, Melton Times, August 19, 1999
Its a lonely life working in a railway signal box but it suits Jenny
Goddard just fine. She reads a lot between trains and theres plenty of
time to sit and think.
I suppose theres about 30 trains coming through on a typical
eight-hour shift and I often dont talk to anybody for days except at
the beginning and end of each shift when I take over from someone or they
from me, she says.
But I dont get bored easily and Im quite happy with my own
Jenny (43) is a signaller (they used to be called signalmen) at the
Whissendine box, communicating with fellow signallers through a system of
bells. If four bells sound she knows a passenger train is coming through.
Five and its a freight train.
I saw a signallers job at Saxby advertised in the Melton Times
so I applied for it. Many people have asked me what I found attractive about
it but I dont really know.
But it was local and I knew two people who worked in that box.
They always seemed to be sitting in there drinking tea and doing not a
lot. So I thought I can do that.
Happy with her own company...signaller Jenny Goddard of Wymondham
Shes not very bothered about the trains themselves although the odd
steam train that comes through does excite her interest. Once youve
seen one Sprinter you've seen them all. Theyve got no character
Jenny could be looking for another job within a few years, though.
Railtrack is planning to introduce a fully automated system which will
render the traditional signal boxes redundant.
The proof-reading and editing course she is doing at the moment to while
away some of the time at work could stand her in good stead for when that
But it wouldnt be at all surprising if she landed another job
connected with transport.
Apart from the job she is doing now and the previous lorry driving job,
Jenny shares her husband Geoffs passion for 1950s American cars.
Parked outside their home in Main Street, Wymondham, is a six-seater Ford
Ranch Wagon from 1959 with only 70,000 miles on the clock, and a 1948
I love driving them and in the summer we take them to shows and
rallies, she says.
As long as I have known Geoff we have had American cars, starting off
in 1982 with a 1964 pink Pontiac.
We just like them. They are so flamboyant.
Even the gateway to the Goddard home has a transport theme. It is decorated
with traffic signs - French ones brought back when Jenny and her husband
followed the Tour de France.