Liskeard & Looe Railway


Opened: 1901

Closed: 1981

Location code: W26/08

Coombe Junction signal boxThe Liskeard & Looe Railway was a curious, winding branch line that managed to remain independent until 1909, and the line is amazingly still operating passenger trains today although no signalling remains. Starting from its own platform remote from the main station at Liskeard, the line turns through more than 180 degrees and drops steeply to pass under the main line. On reaching Coombe Junction, a reversal is necessary to continue to the small fishing town of Looe. It was also at one time possible to continue ahead at Coombe Junction, along a mineral line to Moorswater.

The L&L was signalled by Saxby & Farmer, and Coombe Junction demonstrates their later, post 1884 design, which for the first time incorporated gabled roofs. These boxes were far simpler in construction to their predecessors (see Drayton, for example) and doubtless were produced to improve the company's chances in the tendering process. This design could (and still can) be found at a number of locations around the country, although another type, illustrated at Bearstead, was used in small quantities during 1884 on the South Eastern Railway. The boxes on the L&L are believed to be the last to be constructed by Saxby & Farmer to their own design.

The original 26 lever Saxby & Farmer Duplex frame (like the one illustrated at Warsop Junction) was replaced in 1956 by one to the GW's design, of the same size.

The peaceful life that this box led ended in 1981, and the pointwork is now operated from a ground frame by the train crews.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated