Great Eastern Railway


Opened: c1900

Closed: 1987

Location code: E34/30

Trowse Swing Bridge and signal boxTrowse Swing Bridge, and its signal box, are to be found on the approaches to Norwich, where the line crosses the River Wensum. In the days when manual signalling reigned supreme, it was located between Trowse Yard and Norwich Thorpe Junction boxes.

Inside Trowse Swing Bridge boxLike Horsemoor, this was a Dutton-built box of the Great Eastern's 1885 design, with the "small over large" window pane arrangement.

The 25-lever frame is of Dutton's standard type, with the distinctive curved catch-handles.

The block shelf was replaced in the late 1960's, when the Syke's Lock & Block was replaced by BR standard types. That shelf, and the equipment now resides in York Railway Museum. An interesting arrangement that became necessary when the new blocks were installed was that when the signalman sent "Blocking back Outside Home Signal" to open the bridge (which was in fact inside the home) the block needle had to be left in the Normal position, as turning it to Train On Line would prevent the bridge from being opened.

Unlike the arrangements at Somerleyton Swing Bridge, the bridge controls were not in an annexe to the box but in a separate cabin on the bridge. The signalman had to leave the box and maroon himself in mid-river whilst boats passed. One of the requirements to work here was the ability to row a boat, essential at Christmas when the bridge was left open!

Signals at Trowse YardThe Up Starter and Down Home were both motor operated as they were on the far side of the river. The Down Home was also slotted as the Trowse Yard Starter, and a detailed description of this signal will be found on that box's page.

On 30th November 1986, the box was reduced to bridge control status in connection with the Norwich resignalling, but it did not outlive its brothers for long. On 15th February 1987, control of the bridge was transferred to a small new cabin nearby.

However, more recent resignalling saw the control of the Cromer line placed in this new cabin during 2000, which has elevated its status back to a signal box.

Click here to see a track layout for this box in 1964

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated