Great Eastern Railway


Opened: 1882

Closed: 1985

Location code: E37/06

Mistley signal boxSeen here in rather dappled sunlight, Mistley box is an example of the Great Eastern Railway's 1882 design. Although this distinctive style was only used for boxes erected during 1882 and 1883, quite a number were built as much work was going on at this time. The box contained a 30-lever frame built by McKenzie & Holland.

All is not what it seems. The box is not constructed from large bricks or concrete, but is in fact timber-built. The block effect is simply chiselled out from the timber. Also of note is the particularly unusual window construction. The brick base is a later addition to combat rot.

Another box of this type, re-used by the LNER, is illustrated at Hilgay. A less ornate type was introduced in 1883, as illustrated at Attleborough.

Lower quadrant signal at MistleyMistley was a wayside station with goods yard on the Manningtree to Harwich line. A short, steep branch runs off here to serve Mistley Quay.

Owing to the steep gradient up from the quay, loaded trains need to be sure they have a clear run out onto the main line. For this reason, a signal was placed part-way down the bank, and this survived to become the very last great Eastern lower-quadrant signal in use.

By the time this picture was taken, the arm had been trimmed at the end to combat rot, so the white stripe appears to be right at the end. The original wooden post is leaning well, too.

The signal box closed on 29th September 1985, when control of the area was passed to Colchester power box. This signal was removed, but its function still exists in the form of a position-light ground signal.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated