South Eastern & Chatham Railway


Opened: 1905

Closed: 1983

Location code: S20/26

Merstham signal boxAt first glance, Merstham appears to be a typical South Eastern Railway weatherboard and sash window signal box, of the style illustrated at Edenbridge.

However, it did not open until 1905, well into South Eastern & Chatham days, when most new boxes were built to the design illustrated at Dover Marine. It would appear to be the top portion of an earlier cabin, placed on a new brick base.

Merstham was mid-way along the route that ran parallel to the London, Brighton & South Coast's main Brighton line (a train can be seen passing behind the box) to serve Redhill. In this respect, it was something of an oasis of semaphore signalling in an otherwise colour-light area.

Inside Merstham boxInside the box, further evidence of its later origins are found in the lever frame. This is of Evans, O'Donnell & Co manufacture, who only entered the signalling manufacture field in 1894.

This type of frame was quite advanced, technically, but not terribly practical. The levers were not the easiest (by height and position) for a signalman to get a good swing on, and footrests have been provided here at mid-height to help the pulling of the signals furthest from the box.

Signalling instruments are of the usual SR three-position type, and along with the array of brass-cased repeaters, modern plungers have replaced the traditional brass type.

The track diagram of MersthamThe signalman's diagram shows the track layout, signals and track circuits.

View an enlarged image of the diagram.

Merstham box survived in use until 26th February 1983.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated