Furness Railway


Opened: 1879

Closed: ——

Location code: LM108/34

Foxfield signal boxFoxfield box is to be found on the Furness Railway's coastal route between Carnforth and Whitehaven - about ten miles north of Barrow-in-Furness as the crow flies but rather further by train.

The box is an all-wood equivalent to the standard brick design adopted by the company in 1896, which throws into doubt the claimed opening date of 1879. It is recorded by the Board of Trade that the box was extended in 1909, but it is more probable that the structure was actually renewed at that date.

The box was once attached to the station buildings which included a train shed. The station was probably treated with such grand facilities as it was the junction for Coniston, in the Lake District.

In the foreground is a little used timber level crossing protected by hand-operated gates, but the box also oversees an important level crossing (worked by a crossing keeper) a short distance beyond the station.

Interior of Foxfield box The 52-lever frame dates from the 1909 alterations, and is typical of the frames built for the Furness Railway in their later years.was manufactured by Saxby & Farmer. It may have been built by the Railway Signal Company (most of this type were) although the lever badges are not a of that contractor's design. Many of the levers have subsequently become redundant with the closure of the branch and sidings, and the box now functions as little more than a block post.

On the block shelf are two BR standard block instruments, which replaced the Tyer's one-wire, three-position type used by the Furness Railway in the late 1960s. Between the instruments is a closing switch, an unusual facility for a box controlling two level crossings. To the left is a track circuit indicator, then a bank of repeaters to indicate if the paraffin signal lamps go out. Also visible on the block shelf are two original Furness Railway lever collars - reminder appliances that can be slotted over a lever to stop it being pulled.

Additional notes by David Ingham

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated