Great Western Railway


Opened: 1943

Closed: 1981

Location code: W20/17

Exeter Riverside signal boxAlthough opened as late as 1943, the box itself dates from 1906 as it was brought here second-hand from Hatherley Junction, Cheltenham. The box is, in fact, of the common 1896 design of the Great Western (see Athelney) although it doesn't appear so at first glace because it has been fitted with a gabled roof. It has, in fact, effectively been converted to an all-wood version of the design found at Green Lane Crossing.

Substantial enlargements to the layout were made at Exeter during the second world war to cope with the increased freight traffic (see also Cowley Bridge Junction), and this box was built to control the layout on the Goods lines adjacent to Exeter East box. Some of the pointwork was dually controlled between the two boxes.

Inside Exeter Riverside boxThe box may have been second-hand, but it was fitted with a brand new Great Western frame of the 5-bar Vertical Tappet type, which the Great Western (and the Western Region of British Railways) standardised on from around 1926. Unlike most companies, the GW did not provide a footboard for the signalman, but instead cast a tread-pattern into the frame itself for shoe grip.

Mounted on the block shelf is the framed paper diagram of the signalman's layout, but there are no block instruments to be seen as the Goods Lines were worked on the "No Block" system using bells alone.

At the far right of the picture can be seen part of the enclosed interior staircase, which was a feature found in many larger Great Western boxes.

Although Exeter East was abolished in 1973, this cabin remained in use until 1981.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated