North Staffordshire Railway


Opened: c1890

Closed: 2002

Location code: LM81/27

Mow Cop signal boxThis small and insignificant cabin remained in use until recently on the electrified route between Kidsgrove and Macclesfield. The box is to the North Staffordshire's standard design introduced in 1885, which always had brick bases and are readily identified by the locking-room windows always being positioned immediately below the wooden section. They were, effectively, a simplified version of the design seen at Stallington, without the elegant bargeboards and locking-room windows.

Although Mow Cop was an unimportant station, there were at one time two boxes here, but little is known about the other one which was named Mow Cop Sidings.

Inside Mow Cop box Inside the box there was little room for the furniture, and the armchair has been positioned in front of some disused levers in the 14-lever frame.

The McKenzie & Holland frame is of rare design, featuring levers that do not stand vertically in the normal position and a diamond shaped pattern cast into the quadrants of the levers. The frame almost certainly pre-dates the box, having been brought here from elsewhere, and may date from the late 1860s or early 1870s. The levers wear their original round brass McK&H number plates. The frame was ignominiously replaced by two switches built into the block shelf in 1981, which adopted the same numbers as the levers that worked the two signals.

The wooden level crossing gates can be clearly seen, these being worked by the "ship's wheel" behind the signalman. The wheel and gates were interlocked with the signals through the brown-coloured levers, one of which the signalman has his hand on.

In an act of great dexterity, the signalman's other hand is operating the Train Describer to Macclesfield box; the entire area of control of this box being by the Track Circuit Block system.

The signalman is believed to be Ernie Harlow, who moved here from Rushton when that box closed in 1963 and remained here through to retirement. He demonstrates well the days when signalmen came to work smartly dressed, with tie and polished shoes.

Mow Cop signal boxThe signal box closed on 27th may 2002, when the section of line was resignalled and controlled from Stoke power box.

Demolition of the box has been postponed until October 2002 to allow a proposal to remove the cabin elsewhere to take place.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated