North London Railway


Opened: 1876

Closed: 1986

Location code: LM113/01

Broad Street No2 signal boxBroad Street No2 was one of the oldest signal boxes to survive on the lines of the former North London Railway, dating as far back as 1876. Even so, it was not the original box at this station, the North London's city terminus, for a previous box is known to have opened in 1865. That probably wasn't the first, either, for that company had introduced the Absolute Block system in 1855.

The architectural provenance of the cabin is not known, but it is likely that the box was built to the NL's specification by one of the signalling contractors used up to 1878. Later cabins were more standardised - as at nearby Dunloe Street.

Inside Broad Street No2 boxThat contractor may well have been Stevens & Sons, for inside the box could be found a frame to their design. This is not certain, for records show the frame to have been renewed in 1891 - although by then the North London built their own frames.

The frame had been extended and modified over the years, and in its final form it comprised 70 levers with capacity for a further three at the left-hand end. To accommodate this, the box had been extended northwards, although the lever spaces do not appear to have ever been used.

Another view inside Broad Street No2 boxWhen the North London was developed into quadruple lines in the 1890s, second boxes were generally provided (even at minor locations) and the boxes were numbered so that No1 would work the "No1 lines" and No2 controlled the "No2 lines". The same applied at Broad Street, and this box controlled the station throat leading into Bays 5 to 9.

Later rationalisation saw the eventual closure of the other side of the station, and the more modern No1 box closed in the 1970s. But No2 soldiered on beyond its 120th birthday, in its final state controlling just a single platform on a truncated line used only during rush hours.

After services were diverted to Liverpool Street, the area was swiftly demolished as part of the Broadgate officere development, and you will now find it hard to identify the location.

See also the article Say Good Morning to Broad Street

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated