THE SIGNAL BOX

PHOTO GALLERY

Isle of Man Railway

DOUGLAS

Opened: 1890

Closed: c1970

Location code: IM1/01


Douglas signal box Most of the stations on the Isle of Man Railway's lines had primitive signalling (much of which still exists) but at the main terminus of Douglas a "proper" signal box was constructed when the station was remodelled in 1890. The box was built by Dutton & Co., to what was basically their standard design although a few untypical features are included.

Full main-line signalling standards are not essential as the line is of "Light Railway" status so simplification of the station working arrangements was achieved in the around the 1970s by installing colour light signals worked from switches in the Station Master's office.

The box survives, however, in disused state, and now separated from the railway by an access road to the local bus garage which is housed on former railway land. In this photograph the staircase is showing signs of wood-rot, and they have subsequently been removed, affording protection, at least, to the rare feature to be found within.


Interior of Douglas box Inside the box is the last surviving example of Dutton's strange design of lever frame. Introduced in 1889, it was often known as the drink-handle type, through the strange way the lever handle pivoted in place of a separate catch. The catch mechanism itself was below the quadrants, which were therefore able to be designed in a neat manner.

This type of frame was supplied in some numbers to the Cambrian Railway, but only isolated examples were found elsewhere. The design, although practical, was swiftly supersceded by more conventional frame designs - such as that at Welshpool.


Track diagram of Douglas box The track layout never altered in the lifetime of the box, allowing the original Dutton & Co. diagram to survive. As at Taynuilt, the colour scheme show running lines in blue and sidings in brown.

The diagram is now in the safe keeping of the Isle of Man Railway but is not presently on display to the public.



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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated