GNR Somersault signal

Signal boxes of the

The Highland Railway originally possessed a very basic signalling system, but in 1890 a massive programme of installations took place to achieve the Regulation of Railways Act requirement for interlocking. In retrospect, this can be seen as excessive given the low traffic levels over the wide network. Nearly all crossing loops on the (mostly) single line railway had two cabins. Most of these were arranged in such a way that they could be worked by the same member of staff that also ran the station, and could be regarded as little more than a pair of ground frames. The single line instruments would be housed in the booking office, together with a pair of levers working slots on the starting signals.

Signal boxes were normally of all-timber construction, initially to contractor's designs but with features reflecting local architectural policy. From 1890 onwards, some boxes were built with brick bases to the company's own design.

Please click on the thumbnail images for more information on each location.

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Achnasheen WestPage includes views of lever frame

All early work on the Highland Railway was carried out by McKenzie & Holland, and boxes were built to their post-1875 design. However, most boxes featured a smaller than standard height of window.

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Achnasheen EastPage includes views of lever framePage includes close-up views of box diagram

All McKenzie & Holland boxes featured vertical timbering linked by battens - a crude style of architecture used widely in this part of the country.

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Forres EastPage includes views of lever frame

A larger than typical box was one of three provided to control a triangular junction and was one of a minority to always be manned by its own signalman.

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Dingwall SouthPage includes views of lever framePage includes close-up views of lever badgesPage includes close-up views if signalling instruments and equipment

This larger box, built by McKenzie & Holland, is one of only a few on the Highland Railway that had the full depth windows typical of McK&H's boxes built elsewhere.

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Rogart South

Dutton & Co. built the boxes northwards from Invergordon in 1894, and although at first glance the cabins looked similar to the McKenzie & Holland examples, they possessed certain features, such as the decorative bargeboard mouldings, typical of Dutton's standard product.

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Rogart North

All Dutton-built boxes had the same battened timberwork as found on the McKenzie & Holland structures.

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Georgemas JunctionPage includes views of signals and other outdoor equipment

A grander looking cabin was provided by Dutton & Co. at the only significant junction in the far north.

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Georgemas North

At the opposite end of the same station, Dutton provided little more than a hut. This, too, conformed with their own small cabin design by having only a limited glazing area.

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Rose StreetPage includes views of signals and other outdoor equipment

Some special boxes were built by McKenzie & Holland at Inverness during 1898, probably through a desire to impress managers and visitors to the company's headquarters. Extras included curved framing at the tops of the window sections, decorative barge boards, fascia board decorations and the luxury of a slate roof!

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Welsh's Bridge

The largest box on the Highland Railway, erected at the same time, was of similar design but with a brick base. Limited space has necessitated the structure of the signal gantry to be incorporated into the box.

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From 1900, the Highland developed its own design and this is one of the earliest examples. As such it does not demonstrate all of the features of the Highland's own design, which usually incorporated panelled brickwork and a slate roof.

The Highland became part of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway in 1923.