Great Western Railway


Opened: 1876

Closed: ——

Location code: W52/08

Hartlebury Station signal boxHartlebury Station box must be one of the oldest signal boxes on the former Great Western Railway to still be operational. It was not until 1885 that the GW was able to cope with the manufacture of its own signal boxes and signalling equipment, and prior to that contractors provided most of the signalling.

This box is to McKenzie & Holland second design which was introduced in 1875, being a development from the original design as illustrated at Leek Brook Junction on the North Staffordshire Railway, to improve the signalman's view of his layout. Relatively few boxes were built to this design - being overtaken by a gabled roof design as illustrated at Baschurch.

McK&H, who were based in Worcester, provided most of the signalling during this period in the area north of Gloucester, whilst Saxby & Farmer covered the remained of the Great Western - see Torquay and Stoke Canon Crossing.

The station at Hartlebury, which was the junction for the Severn Valley branch through Bewdley and Bridgnorth to Shrewsbury, was for many years controlled by two signal boxes, although the original name of Hartlebury Centre suggests there may have been a third cabin in the 1870s.

When first built, the cabin contained a 21-lever frame, although this was renewed in 1910 with one of 30 levers. In 1982 the frame was removed and the remaining, rather basic, signalling is now controlled by a small switch panel.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated