Taff Vale Railway


Opened: c1915

Closed: 1998

Location code: W78/17

Walnut Tree Junction signal boxAn extra tall version of the Taff Vale Railway's later design was built at the delightfully named Walnut Tree Junction, which was located on the platform of the equally quaint sounding station of Taff's Well. The height was necessary to ensure a good view over the footbridge of the layout, which included a branch to Penrhos and running connections between the Relief and Main lines. An additional junction (at the north end of the station) was added in 1952 to give access to the colliery after the closure of the Cardiff Railway's route.

Like Rhondda Fach Junction South, this box was built with plainer brickwork than found at Llandaff Loop Junction - a neat touch here was the provision of chamfered corners.. As at the last-mentioned box, the end windows of the box have been replaced by those of Great Western style.

The box contained a Great Western frame of 79 levers, which had replaced the original one in 1952.

Signals at Walnut Tree Junction A nice example of a Great Western centre-pivot signal existed at the north end of the Up platform. (In the Welsh Valleys, it is normal practice for the Up direction to be "Up" the valley rather than the more usual "Up" to the main terminus.)

The signal itself is not as old as it might look, and was probably erected by British Railways in 1952 when the new junction to Nantgarw was brought into use. By this date all BR (WR) signals, except this design, had enamelled steel arms but this type continued to be fitted with wooden arms.

Signals of this type were used where visibility was limited - in this instance the footbridge from which the upper photograph above was taken obstructed drivers' vision.

The left hand arm (lever 76) read along the Up Main towards Abercynon, whilst the right hand arm (64) led to the Nantgarw branch. The white diamond on the signal indicates to drivers that there is a track-circuit at the signal, thus exempting them from the normal requirement to walk to the box to remind the signalman their trains is waiting there.

The grassed-over area behind the signal is the bed of the Relief lines, which had been removed north of here during the 1970s.

The box closed in 1998 as part of the Radyr area resignalling.

Additional notes by Kevin Richards.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated