London & North Western Railway


Opened: 1878

Closed: 1988

Location code: LM2/26

Banbury lane signal boxAlthough the West Coast main line south of Rugby was controlled by power boxes from the mid-1960's, Banbury Lane box survived quite a while longer.

The box's main function had always been to control a level crossing - the first reached after leaving Euston. This ensured its retention after the surrounding boxes closed in 1964.

The box itself is quite old, dating from 1878. It was built by Saxby & Farmer, and in its original form it would have looked very similar to Torquay South. What dramatically changed its looks, however, was the renewal of the roof with one of gabled design. It is not known when this took place, but it was probably done as a result of fire damage.

The original Saxby & Farmer lever frame was replaced in 1891 with one of the LNW's own design, with tumbler locking, of twelve levers. This frame survived to control the colour-light signalling brought into use in 1964.

Obviously one mechanical signal box in a sea of colour lights created practical problems in the way of staffing as well as perhaps not suiting the modern image. Many plans were mooted over the years to alleviate these problems, ranging from road diversion or closure and bridge. None came to anything, but the advances in technology allowed the crossing to be controlled remotely, using closed-circuit television cameras, from Rugby power box. This led to the closure of the box on 13th September 1988.

Curiously, there is still talk of building a bridge here and diverting the road. Recent plans for the operation of faster services on the line clash may not permit level crossings to exist!

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated