Great Northern Railway


Opened: 1893

Closed: 1976

Location code: E3/12

Tempsford signal boxIn 1892, the Great Northern introduced a further standardised design of box, which gained systemwide adoption around the turn of the century. At last the Great Northern could claim to have a standard box design!

This was clearly derived from the 1883 design illustrated at Sykes Junction, but all frills were now abandoned. Even the heavily overhanging roof was neatened off, and the bargeboards were so small as to be virtually unnoticeable. Vertical boarding joined by battens emphasise the utilitary appearance of these boxes, which must have been substantially cheaper than the elegant 1870's cabins.

A large number of boxes of this type were built, many in connection with widening and enlargement of layouts as traffic grew. The last of this type were erected in 1903 (another is illustrated at New England East "A"), after which there was a reversion to 1870's designs before development of the final standard design of 1907 illustrated at Bellwater Junction.

Tempsford box was located on the Great Northern's main line just south of St Neots. In contrast with the plentiful provision of small boxes in the London area, many cabins along this stretch controlled a spacious layout with a large lever frame. Opening in 1893, the original 55-lever Saxby & Farmer Duplex frame was replaced as early as 1899 by a Dutton & Co model of 60 levers. Doubtless the small extension to the box was carried out at this stage. This frame controlled the four-track main line, two refuge sidings (which the GN always liked to refer to as "Shunting Sidings"), yard connections and a level crossing. This latter had an inner set of gates on the main lines, plus an outer set protecting the goods lines - warranting the provision of two gate wheels.

Tempsford box closed on 25th July 1976.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated