Great Northern & Great Eastern Joint Railway


Opened: c1875

Closed: 1972

Location code: E27/03

Histon signal boxHiston was located just north of Cambridge on the St. Ives line, which formed part of a by-pass to the main route through Ely and was thus always busy with freight traffic.

The box is a splendid example of one of the first designs of box adopted by the Great Eastern. The GE always allowed contractors a certain amount of freedom within their specified design, and three early types evolved built by Saxby & Farmer, Stevens or McKenzie & Holland. Histon is one of the latter, identified by the unusual vertical window panes and McK&H's standard "parachute" finials on the roof. A comedian has thoughtfully placed a pair of gloves on these!

The design of this period produced by Saxby & Farmer is illustrated at Fulbourne.

The box originally contained a 24-lever frame, although a new McKenzie & Holland frame of 30 levers was provided in 1903. Around 1932, an Up Goods Loop was provided to help cope with the ever-increasing freight traffic using the line and four levers were added to the frame at the left hand end. In order to accommodate this enlargement, the box was neatly extended as can be seen in the photograph.

But freight traffic eventually declined, and use of the line dwindled. Histon box closed in 1972.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated