London & South Western Railway


Opened: 1878

Closed: —

Location code: S66/09

Bollo Lane Junction signal box
Photograph by John Hinson, 1974

The curiously named Bollo Lane (thought to have originated as Bull Lane in farming days) once possessed two signal boxes, just a few hundred yards apart but on different lines. The North & South Western Junction Railway's one was called Bollo Lane Crossing, but the box illustrated here was Bollo Lane Junction.

The box opened in 1878, when a curve (the Acton Curve) was added to turn the junction at Gunnersbury into a triangle. It represents the London & South Western's 1877 development of their simple box design - providing a taller glazed area to improve the view and make the working environment brighter. Curiously enough, there is an upper row of windows in Saxby & Farmer style above the main panes, but these are obscured by the attractive valancing.

Interestingly, when the box first opened, it was about 200 yards from the point of the junction as it had sensibly been located by the level crossing. In those days, controlling of junction points at so great a distance was frowned upon, and instead the tracks were interlaced with the the facing points located outside the box. This arrangement had to be changed for something more conventional when the line was electrified in 1916.

Closure of the Acton Curve saw the arrangements here being reduced to just one stop signal in each direction, protecting the level crossing, but in 1970 the fortunes of the box rose. It took over control of the other level crossing and the junction at South Acton where the two lines met. All of this was managed from the original 19-lever Stevens & Sons frame, although the remote crossing was of course barrier operated but the working is observed without the assistance of CCTV cameras. A long extension was made to the box to allow a good view down the road, although that isn't much help if there is a removals lorry parked in the way.

In 1983, a small NX panel replaced the frame, and CCTV control of Acton Central level crossing was introduced.

The box continues to function in this form, and is the sole surviving example of the L&SW's 1877 architecture. During 2007, the redundant extension provided to view the remote level crossing (now viewed using closed-circuit television) was removed, restoring the box back to look much as it was built.

About the photographs

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson

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