Great Eastern Railway


Opened: 1875

Closed: 1983

Location code: E26/08

Fulbourne signal boxFulbourne is a fine example of one of the earliest standard signal boxes of the Great Eastern Railway. Although first seen in the 1860's, standard contractor's designs were the norm until 1873, when the Great Eastern adopted an unusual policy. They defined only loose standards for their designs, allowing the contractors concerned to embed their own features.

This example was erected in 1875 by Saxby & Farmer; the McKenzie & Holland equivalent is illustrated at Histon. Originally, the box would have had diagonal timberwork, which was applied on the inside of the framework below operating floor level.

Fulbourne was an intermediate station and block post on the Cambridge to Newmarket line, with hand-operated level crossing gates. The railway chose the wrong spelling - the village is called Fulbourn.

Inside the box at FulbourneInside the signal box, the original Saxby & Farmer locking frame controlled the layout, although at an early date the original "rocker" locking was replaced by the more standard tappet type. Some of the levers retain the original Saxby & Farmer description plates, which are smaller than the later replacements.

On the instrument shelf are two Tyers one-wire, two-position block instruments of the type used by the Great Eastern Railway. These work to the adjacent boxes of Six Mile Bottom and Brookfields, although the latter only opened when required and normally switched the circuit through to Coldham Lane Junction at Cambridge.

Between the instruments hangs a four-way paraffin lamp of the type more typically found at road works. Before the advent of battery-operated flashing lamps, these were used for protection of engineering blockages.

The box and its 18-lever frame soldered on until 8th May 1983, when the line was singled and the level crossing automated under the Cambridge resignalling scheme.

View track layout diagram for 1956

Buy prints of photographs
at 433shop
Click here

All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated