Baffling inscription on antique item of railway equipment

Czesziafan

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Many years ago I was given an old railway key (which had had business end cut off) and have always wandered what the inscription on it means. it reads: BR (W) LM. Does anyone know what the "LM" means? It looks like the old type of door key everyone had at one time but the shaft is flat rather than round if that helps with identification.
 
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Mcr Warrior

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Presumably the "BR (W)" means British Rail (Western region)?

Does the key look anything like the one below...?

Not sure about the "LM" bit.
RP00179-33.jpg
 

Andy R. A.

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Possibly referring to London Midland Region with the W meaning North West Lines, i.e lines from Euston as opposed to the Midland Lines from St. Pancras. The Green Diesel period saw a W or M placed below the Loco Number to show the allocation grouping. I have an old oil lamp which had LM, but with a W under that ?
 

Trackman

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Possibly referring to London Midland Region with the W meaning North West Lines, i.e lines from Euston as opposed to the Midland Lines from St. Pancras. The Green Diesel period saw a W or M placed below the Loco Number to show the allocation grouping. I have an old oil lamp which had LM, but with a W under that ?
It seems the logical explanation and the first one I thought of.
 

Gloster

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Considering the large amount of equipment used by BR, (almost) all of which had individual codes to identify each item (*), could it just be chance that the letters are the same as two of the regions? Alternatively, it could be something like key type W, London Midland Region issue variant, or Western Region issue variant of key type LM.

* - It also made it easier to order a replacement for lost keys, if you knew the code on the key you had just lost...
 

Ashley Hill

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Today there are 3 versions of the BR1 key a,b and c. Somewhere I have an LNER version of one. Possibly yours was a LMR variant issued by the WR. Presumably these were issued for when inter-regional stock working occurred.
 

Pigeon

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BR(W) has always meant "British Rail (Western region)" wherever I've seen it, on all sorts of kit. I think the region of origin can be considered to be known definitely. Can't really guess meaningfully about the LM bit though. I don't think it means Texas Instruments...
 

Czesziafan

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@Czesziafan , any possibility of you uploading a photo of your item?
My apologies for the delay in responding to you all but I have not been on this blog for a while unfortunately. Attached is a pic of the item in question. It certainly looks like a BR(W) issue but could LM mean "Local and Main" - i.e referring to local and main line stock? Any thoughts welcome.BRW key.jpg
 

30907

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My apologies for the delay in responding to you all but I have not been on this blog for a while unfortunately. Attached is a pic of the item in question. It certainly looks like a BR(W) issue but could LM mean "Local and Main" - i.e referring to local and main line stock? Any thoughts welcome.View attachment 104448
Is the lettering at the top significant? I can read LEEDS but the other 4 letters, much more crudely stamped and I can't make out the last one . K or R, A, Y, ? Possibly the owner's initials?
 

Mcr Warrior

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If it's "KAYE", then Joseph Kaye & Sons Ltd. of Leeds, were railway carriage lock makers and oil can manufacturers for many a year, ever since the mid 1850's, I believe. Also had an office in Holborn, London.
 

Gloster

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Is there a difference in the depth and quality of the engraving/stamping of the BR (W), and the L and M? Could the BR (W) have been already on the key when it was supplied by Kayes, and the L and M have been added wherever it was used to differentiate it from other keys.
 

XAM2175

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Is there a difference in the depth and quality of the engraving/stamping of the BR (W), and the L and M? Could the BR (W) have been already on the key when it was supplied by Kayes, and the L and M have been added wherever it was used to differentiate it from other keys.
Yes, the LM lettering appears to be in a different typeface and on a different alignment. I'd say it's almost definitely a later addition.
 

calopez

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Could it be that the 'BR (W)' is the later addition? The 'LM' is aligned with the edges of the key, and is in a similar typeface to the 'Kaye Leeds' lettering. And, to me, the key itself looks as if it might pre-date nationalisation.
 

Gloster

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I think it would have been LMS or LMSR, not just LM. Plenty of stuff that BR had was workmanlike, rather than top quality, but if extra letters were put on at a station, the job would probably have been adequate for the purpose, but no more.
 

Ashley Hill

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Its an old version of a BR 1 key. If ex LMS cars had a slight difference to the standard key then the WR issued to its staff a modified key that would fit. As I mentioned up thread there's 4 different versions of a BR 1 key. Here's the one I use at work . image.jpeg
 

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