THE SIGNAL BOX

PHOTO GALLERY

Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway

RUFFORD

Opened: 1875

Closed: 1988

Location code: LM105/09

Rufford signal box
Photograph from the collection of Dr J W F Scrimgeour

Rufford is located on the Lancashire and Yorkshire's Liverpool to Preston line.

The box here dated from 1875, and was erected by the contractors Saxby & Farmer, who did a lot of work for the L&Y in early years.

This particular style of architecture was a variation of the 1869 design (as at Horrocksford Junction) incorporating an additional row of windows below the main panes. At most locations these were applied at the ends as well as along the front of the box, and they were certainly provided at the far end of the box. It is perhaps reasonable, therefore, to assume that the end nearest the camera has been rebuilt at some time with this feature omitted. This particular design was superseded in 1874 by the type illustrated at Brierfield Station.

It is interesting to note that the box has been fitted with LMS-style nameplates on the end walls, but the original, large, L&Y board was never removed.

Lever frame in Rufford signal box
Photograph from the collection of Dr J W F Scrimgeour

The box was provided with a 21-lever frame of Saxby & Farmer's "Rocker" type which, remarkably, survived throughout the life of the box. This type of frame did not prove popular with the lancashire Yorkshire Railway and most had been renewed by the early 1900s. However, here the original frame survived and just the interlocking was renewed - the Rocker system (see Heckington for an example) was replaced by the L&Y's standard tappet interlocking in 1906. The gaps between the levers, and the pivots for the rockers can clearly be seen in this view, which was taken after the frame had been shortened to 16 levers.

The badges on the levers are not original - the two nearest the camera are of BR manufacture, although most are cast-iron and would date from 1906. The functions of the levers are described on plates mounted on a board mounted at the foot of the windows. Levers 12 and 13 syand slightly out of the frame - these controlled the wicket gates of the level crossing and would have been left like this for ease of operation.

Over the years, the line became generally run down, and the line was divided at Ormskirk to become two separate sections meeting there end-to-end. The line between Ormskirk and Preston was singled, but Rufford was the sole intermediate box to survive, controlling the only crossing loop on the line.

However, this was not enough for the box to have survived to the present day, for it was replaced in 1988 by a basic Portacabin structure with a handful of switches to control the layout.

All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated