THE SIGNAL BOX

BRANCH LINES

 

THE WEST SOMERSET RAILWAY

A Description of the Signalling
by Kevin Weston

Norton Fitzwarren

The junction for the branch was at Norton Fitzwarren station, where the four-track main line from Taunton station split into three routes. The main line continued to Exeter as double track, while the other two routes were to Minehead and Barnstaple. The Barnstaple branch, which closed in 1966, was also doubled as far as the first station at Milverton. Norton Fitzwarren signal box closed on the same day as Bishops Lydeard and the four tracks were reduced to three from Silk Mill Crossing signal box. Two of the tracks formed the main line while the third was the single line from Williton. When passenger trains ceased on the branch, the main line connection was downgraded to freight only and a local drinks company “Taunton Cider” installed a private siding at this end of the line. Colour light signals were installed in the Taunton area during 1986, controlled from the existing Taunton East and Silk Mill signal boxes. At the same time, a new junction was laid in about half way between Silk Mill and the site of Norton Fitzwarren station. This was brought in to use when Exeter panel took control of the area in 1987. At the same time, a new junction was laid in about half way between Silk Mill and the site of Norton Fitzwarren station. This was brought in to use when Exeter panel took control of the area in 1987. There has been an increase in the number of through passenger trains over the last few years; this has resulted in a feasibility study to look into the upgrading of the junction to passenger standards. Taunton Cider ceased using rail in the 1990’s and the company has since closed. As part of the upgrading, the siding will be removed.