London, Midland & Scottish Railway


Opened: 1928

Closed: 1982

Location code: LM59/08

Barrow Hill Up Sidings boxMuch like Barrow Hill Junction in design, Barrow Hill Up Sidings (which was originally known as Staveley Up Sidings) is another product of the late-twenties remodelling of the area.

This neat and tidily kept cabin was not really a true signal box as it was "not a block post" but it certainly looks rather too grand to be classed as a shunters cabin.

But there is an important reason for our visit here . . .

Interior of Barrow Hill Up Sidings cabinInside was one of the strangest lever frames ever found inside a British signalbox, although such frames were not rare in Europe. It is to a design known as the Midland Railway New Pattern Turnover. All points are worked by double wire instead of the usual rodding - the Midland Railway had a policy of using wire-operated points in marshalling yards so that all outdoor connections could be boxed in easily to make the conditions safer for outdoor staff.

The levers turn through a full 180° which must have made the pulling method difficult. More of a "pull-push, perhaps.

Complete frames of this type were rare (there was also one at Barrow Hill Down Sidings) but a few locations had a couple of these levers added to a normal frame to bypass the regulations that decreed a maximum distance of 350 yards for rod-operated points.

The earlier Midland Railway Turnover frames were rarer still. These had no catch handles but were held normal or reversed purely by cast-iron weights on the levers. This earlier method avoided the need, however, to provide springs in the wire runs to allow for wire expansion. The last survivors I knew of this type were at Rowsley - closed in 1964.

With either expansion springs or the earlier weighted method, it was possible to "trail" points (i.e. run through them in the trailing direction, however set) without damage, making it only necessary to set the points for facing moves.

The box closed in 1982.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated