Great Western Railway


Opened: 1894

Closed: 1985

Location code: W19/09

Cowley Bridge Junction signal boxThis box, erected in 1894 to replace the original Bristol & Exeter Railway cabin, controlled the important junction just east of Exeter with the London & South Western Railway's lines to North Devon and Cornwall. Curiously enough, LSW trains bound for London would run along the Great Western's metals through Exeter St. Davids station in the opposite direction to the GW's London-bound trains.

This cabin is to the same style illustrated at Brymbo Middle, although as originally built the box was only two-thirds of the length seen in this photograph. The extension (at the far end) was carried out in 1943 when the Goods Lines were extended and Exeter Riverside box opened. The extension was made quite neatly, matching the bricks and windows well, but for some peculiar reason the box nameboard was never repositioned centrally. The lean-to porch is a later addition, too.

This design of box was adiopted by the Great Western in 1889, superceding the type illustrated at Moreton-in-Marsh which had a steeper roof. The design seen here gave way to a hipped-roof design in 1896, which can be seen at Astrop.

Frequent expansion to the layout caused the box to be fitted with four different frames in its lifetime. The original 16 lever frame was replaced by one of 19 in 1916 - which was extended to accommodate one additional lever in 1924. In August 1942 a 35 lever frame was provided, only to be replaced in May 1943 by one of 44 levers! These latter two frames were of the Great Western 5-bar Vertical Tappet type, as illustrated in the adjacent box at Exeter Riverside.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated