Great Western Railway


Opened: 1906

Closed: 1986

Location code: W18/16

Athelney signal boxFor the first two years of this box's life it was known as Athelney West, but the East box was closed in 1908. Athelney is a tranquil location on the Great Western Railways direct route to the West Country via Westbury, just a few miles short of meeting the line from Bristol. A single-line branch used to diverge here to meet the Bristol line further north at Durston.

The box controlled two level crossings - a road passed across the line adjacent to the box. Beside that was a bridge over a canal, and beyond that a crossing for horses and other users of the canal towpath.

The box was built to the Great Western's standard design of the 1896 to 1927 period, this being an all-timber example and can be compared with a similar brick-built cabin at Astrop. All boxes to this design used the "three panes over two" arrangement of the operating floor windows.

Inside the box was a 37-lever GW 5¼" stud-locking frame. This type of locking was normally only used on smaller frames - it would have been more common for a frame of this size to be fitted with the GW's double-twist interlocking.

Additional Up and Down Goods Loops were added here in 1943 to help cope with the additional traffic of the Second World War, and the opportunity was taken to re-lock the frame at this time to the more modern and standard tappet locking.

Prior to the resignalling of the area in 1986, the layout had been progressively rationalised, leaving a very simple and basic layout in use. The area is now controlled from Exeter power box.

The box was carefully dismantled and the upper part is now at Bishops Bridge on the South Devon steam railway, mounted on a new brick base. This cabin opened on 16th September 1999.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated