THE SIGNAL BOX

PHOTO GALLERY

London, Brighton & South Coast Railway

BEDHAMPTON CROSSING

Opened: 1879

Closed: c1985

Location code: S62/29

Bedhampton Crossing boxBedhampton Crossing was located a short distance west of Havant on the coastal line that ran from Brighton towards Portsmouth.

Whilst the LB&SC obtained most of its boxes from Saxby & Farmer, it had been building a few of its own cabins since 1872.

No attempt seems to have been made to produce anything strikingly different from S&F's products, and manufacture of boxes and lever frames (presumably made at the Cold Blow works, New Cross) seem to have mimicked their designs. That contractor continued to supply a proportion of the railway's needs through to 1898.

Bedhampton Crossing was a fine example of the Brighton's own model. Brick construction was generally employed, right up to window level (a feature not normally found in Saxby & Farmer boxes) and the roof had both a fancy valance and a splendidly ornate vent to allow the fumes from oil lamps to escape. These latter two features in fact made the boxes look a bit top-heavy and ungainly.

Interestingly, the windows reflect Saxby & Farmer's 1868 design (see Mitcham) and lack the curved corners of the more attractive 1876 design illustrated at Drayton. As in the 1872 design (see Cooksbridge) there were no S&F "toplight" windows, but ornate roof support brackets appeared in that contractor's style. Later boxes, such as that at Plumpton, abandoned the use of the valance.

Bedhampton Crossing was not initially a "proper" signal box, being an intermediate gate-keepers cabin with signals but having no influence on the block working. Nevertheless, a full size signalbox structure was provided to house just a seven lever frame.

However, in connection with signalling improvements made in the area in 1929, the box was elevated in status to become a proper signal box. The previously complicated slotting arrangements with other nearby crossings was replaced by three-aspect colour-light signalling. Bedhampton Mill box was correspondingly reduced to ground frame status and was released by Bedhampton Crossing, and a release was also provided for Stockheath Crossing. The lever frame would have been enlarged at this date to accommodate the additional arrangements. In 1968, the box reverted to crossing keeper status.

The cabin closed altogether on 3rd June 1979, but the road crossing survives and is now controlled from Havant box using closed-circuit television.



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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated