British Railways (Western Region)


Opened: 1960

Closed: 1986

Location code: W63/07

Rossett signal boxRossett was one of the former Great Western Railway's most northerly locations, being just a few miles short of Chester on the line from Shrewsbury. This box replaced the former Rossett South as recently as 1960, resulting in the box only having a life of 26 years.

The design is disparagingly referred to by enthusiasts as a "plywood wonder" although what the Western Region's architects would think of that is anyone's guess. The principle of the design (which came into use in 1957) was that it would be cheap and quick to erect, and several came in useful to replace boxes that had been demolished by derailed trains. They were made up from standard parts - so standard in fact that there was invariably a door in each end of the box (although the one with no staircase was kept firmly locked!) and a few had two doors at each end.

Unlike most wooden boxes, the wood was stained and varnished (before erection) rather than painted. When the varnish deteriorated, some had creosoted applied which resulted in the dull appearance as seen here.

The box contained a forty lever frame of the GWR's final design, which had been adopted as standard by the Western Region. This type of frame is illustrated at Ystrad Mynach South.

Level crossing gates like those seen in the picture are becoming rare now, with the onward march of crossing automation.

Additional notes by Mike Romans

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated