London, Chatham & Dover Railway


Opened: 1884

Closed: 1984

Location code: S41/04

Bearsted signal boxThe London, Chatham & Dover Railway called upon Stevens & Sons and Saxby & Farmer to erect nearly all of their signal boxes, and many there were too for this company was quite advanced with its signalling in the early days and had proper signalling at all locations by 1879. In the late 1870s, a few home-built boxes were produced (see Bat & Ball) but a reversion to the use of contractors soon occurred.

The line between Maidstone and Ashford was signalled by Saxby & Farmer when it opened in 1884, and for this section a new design of box was produced. Altogether simpler than earlier designs, it lacked the grandeur of the other types through having a flush-fitting gabled roof. Boxes of this design were uncommon elsewhere, being found only on the neighbouring South Eastern and also on the Hull & Barnsley Railway.

All of the boxes were provided with Saxby & Farmer's Rocker frames. Like many of the boxes along this line, Bearsted was just a wayside station and 20 levers sufficed to control the layout.

Conventional signalling survived on this line until 1984, and Bearsted survived, as did most of the intermediate boxes, as a break-section box necessary to handle the peak-hour commuter services. When the end finally came for the box, it had served for a full century.

More information about this location can be found on Graeme Pettit's Southern Railway Infrastructure pages.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated