THE SIGNAL BOX

PHOTO GALLERY

London & South Western Railway

BARNSTAPLE JUNCTION "A"

Opened: c1887

Closed: 1987

Location code: S53/11

Barnstaple Junction 'A' box
Photograph by John Hinson, 1972

Opened around 1887 as Barnstaple Junction East, this box represents a variation from the London & South Western Railway's design of the period, a normal example of which is illustrated at Pinhoe. One significant difference can be seen in the height of the operating floor windows which are much taller than usual; this may have been done so that the signalman had a better view of his layout from such a tall box. Also, it is unusual for the brickwork of L&SW boxes to reach right up to the window line, althopugh this might be a later modification.

The box assumed the name Barnstaple Junction "A" in accordance with BR's Southern Region naming policy in 1949, becoming just Barnstaple when the "B" box closed in 1971. Notice how the enamel nameplate has been crudely cut down in the photograph.

Interior of Barnstaple Junction 'A'
Photograph by John Hinson, 1972

A view of the interior shows the original 42-lever Stevens & Sons frame* (extended to 43 in 1924) although almost everything else has its origins with the Western Region, who took the area over after the nationalisation of the railways in 1948. The diagram, lamp repeaters, plungers, repeaters and lever badges all owe their origins to the WR, and most of these would have been installed when the box took over from Barnstaple Junction "B" in 1971.

* - Although the frame looks to be of standard Stevens' design, it is reportedly built by the Railway Signal Company. Part of it is now in use on the Mid-Hants Railway in their box at Ropley.

Ticket box at Barnstaple Junction 'A'
Photograph by John Hinson, 1972

One particularly interesting feature of the box when these photographs were taken in 1972 was the presence of Staff & Ticket working between Barnstaple and Instow. Illustrated here is the box that contains the tickets - this could only be opened to obtain a ticket with a key on the Train Staff. This method of working was discontinued in 1979 when the box at Instow (now preserved) closed.

The box at Barnstaple closed in 1987 and the line as far as Barnstaple is now worked on the No Signalman Key Token system.

View track layout plan for this date


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About the photographs

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson



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