Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway


Opened: 1885

Closed: 1966

Location code: S11/11

Binegar signal box
Photograph 3/9/63, by Dr J W F Scrimgeour

Opened on 27th July 1885, Binegar box was similar, architecturally, to Wellow, although built on a stone base. At a later date the area between floor level and the base of the windows has been bricked up - this would have originally been timber-filled.

Binegar was once to be found on the Somerset & Dorset main line between Radstock and Shepton Mallet.

To the right of this photograph can be seen the token delivery apparatus for the "banking key" in use at this box. This is for bank engines that assisted trains to the summit over the Mendips and permitted the engine to return "wrong line" to Binegar box. Until the key was returned and replaced in the lever frame, the block instrument was locked at Train On Line. One such bank engine can be seen, having crossed to the right line behind the cameraman and halted outside the box to surrender the key.

Interior of Binegar box
Photograph 3/9/63, by Dr J W F Scrimgeour

The interior view of the box is intriguing. Instead of seeing the expected Stevens & Sons frame we find a Saxby & Farmer frame of their 1888 Duplex design which was probably the only one of this type found on the Somerset & Dorset system. But, despite this, the levers are extensively fitted out with Stevens-style brass badges.

The instruments on the right (working to Masbury) are Midland Railway "peg and chain" blocks but that on the left (for the section to Chilcompton) is a standard Southern Railway block.

The box survived until the unexpected closure of the entire route on 6th March 1966.

All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated