Cambrian Railway


Opened: c1894

Closed: 1988

Location code: W87/22

Newtown signal boxIn 1894, Dutton & Co. modified their box design slightly by introducing a new window pane arrangement which consisted of two small panes above two larger ones - effectively, they omitted the lower bar of the window arrangement as illustrated at Aberystwyth. Comparison will show that little else of the design was altered. This design of box remained in use up to the great merger with McKenzie & Holland in 1901.

The box illustrated here was originally Newtown South; but the North box (which had only eight levers) closed in 1920. The one set of points there became motor worked from this box.

Interior of Newtown box The original frame here was of Dutton manufacture (54 levers) but this was replaced in Great Western days by one of their final design known as the Five-bar Vertical Tappet type as seen here, comprising 35 levers. At the far end of the box is the Electric Token instrument controlling the single line to Welshpool.

Special trolley instruments at Newtown Meanwhile, at the other end of the frame, next to the token instrument for the single line to Caersws, is an interesting device known as a Ganger's Occupation Key instrument. This allowed platelayers to withdraw keys at remote locations along the line, permitting them to place a motorised trolley on the line. The slides in the main instrument were interlocked with the single line token instruments, and when pulled out would prevent a token being withdrawn, in turn releasing the key in the small box to the left which was the authority to occupy the line.

The buttons above the two right-hand slides released similar keys at remote locations along the line.

Ringed-arm siding signal at Newtown A late-surviving ringed-arm signal survived at Newtown by virtue of the fact that this line had been transferred to the London Midland Region of British Railways, and therefore escaped the dictate from Western Region headquarters that all rings from arms were to be removed.

It was Great Western policy to provide ringed arms on all miniature arm signals reading along or from sidings or goods lines. This example, worked by lever 18, read from the Up Sidings to the Up Main. This 1976 photograph suggests there were no longer any "Up Sidings" but not all had been lifted, and the signal applied to a line some distance to the right of the photograph.

Newtown box closed in 1988 when the last stage of the Radio Electric Token Block resignalling of the Cambrian lines was implemented.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated