When were semaphore signals just taken off the railway system and replaced with the colour light signals? Why did this change happen?

Other answer:

Sally:
They are still in use! There is fixed ( I.E. set to allow trains to pass )set of distant and home signals to be found at Creswell station on the " Robin Hood " line between Nottingham and Worksop in Nottinghamshire. The reason for the retention of these semaphores is that the project to re-signal the whole line ran out of money! So there is about half-a-mile of double track still controlled by semaphore signals!
Samurai Hoghead:
Semaphore signals have exposed, moving parts, and there is a potential for failure. Bottom line wise, that means extensive maintenance.

There was also a difference, whether upper quadrant or lower quadrant.

The last ones I worked with was on the SP's Oregon Division on the Siskiyou Sub-division, but that was many moons ago. They were both for a long time, so if a "lighted" night time signal is inoperative or burned out, the "day" signal, the semaphore part, can govern.

But best of all, company headhunters knew they were impossible to pull a "test" on, due to their back-up status. Of course, WE knew that shortcoming as well………

David S:
It has been a gradual change as more modern signalling systems with less signal boxes and more computers have been introduced. There are still semaphore signals being used on a few secondary rail routes and the even more primitive token system will remain for the foreseeable future on a very few very lightly trafficed routes such as the Mid Wales Line
wallace:
Semaphore signals need a massive arrangement of push rods and levers to work them. Lights need a wire.
Kevin:
Semaphore signals need a massive arrangement of push rods and levers to work them. Lights need a wire.
Andy:
By your spelling of color I assume you're in the U.K.? I have no idea when that happened there. The Chiel will probably know and be along later to help answer you. Here in the USA they were mostly gone by the late 70's ,early 80's. I worked one of the last divisions on the Southern Pacific RR that had them. From Tucumcari NM to El Paso TX they had semaphore signals up till the early 90's. They got rid of them because they require a lot of maintenance to keep them working properly.
Zheia:
Most likely in the 1950s when British Rail underwent a modernisation plan. In the 1960s signals were largely light. The great train robbery of 1963 occurred when the robbers manipulated the light signalling to stop the train, which was carrying used bank notes.
Glover:
Semaphore signals need a massive arrangement of push rods and levers to work them. Lights need a wire.
Gavin:
Semaphore signals need a massive arrangement of push rods and levers to work them. Lights need a wire.
STEPHEN:
Semaphore signals need a massive arrangement of push rods and levers to work them. Lights need a wire.

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