Southern Railway


Opened: 1934

Closed: 1983

Location code: S47/08

Betchworth signal boxA few signal boxes weren't really signal boxes at all, being incorporated into the station buildings. The Southern Railway undertook a number of box staff-saving schemes in the nineteen-thirties where they were able to close existing boxes and transfer the control to a location where other duties around the station could also be carried out.

At Betchworth the station house was situated conveniently by the level crossing, and therefore proved ideal for conversion of the lower floor to a signal box.

Betchworth is located on one of the few non-electrified lines on the former Southern Region, between Redhill and Guildford. The level crossing was situated at the foot of a steep hill down from Boxhill, and every signalman there had a tale to tell of demolition of the gates by runaway vehicles.

Interior of Betchworth box As the signal box was in the former station house at Betchworth, there was little room beneath the lever frame to accommodate the interlocking for the levers. Therefore, a frame of a type designed for outdoor use at ground frames was used. These were always known as "knee" frames because the quadrant plates (which would normally be at ground level) were nicely in line with the signalman's knee, and could give a nasty bruise to the unwary. The interlocking of these frames, which were generally manufactured by Stevens & Sons or the Railway Signal Company, was usually along the back of the frame or a few inches below floor level, under the signalman's feet. This example is believed to be of Railway Signal Company manufacture.

Above the levers is the "block shelf" on which is mounted a standard Southern Railway three-position block instrument and its accompanying bell. Along the front of the shelf are a well-polished array of brass-cased signal repeaters. Adjacent boxes were, at the time of these photographs (1976) Reigate and Gomshall.

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