Bristol & Exeter Railway


Opened: 1875

Closed: 1971

Location code: W20/26

Williton signal boxOpened in the early days of interlocked signalling on the Bristol & Exeter Railway, Williton was originally the only intermediate box on the long branch from Taunton to Minehead.

The B&E built some boxes themselves, as here, but most were contracted to Saxby & Farmer - an example is illustrated at Stoke Canon Crossing. In the 1870s, many cabins were built entirely in brick although this fashion quickly lost favour and the use of timber allowed smaller corner pillars for an improved view from within.

The present 25 lever frame, of Great Western 5-bar Vertical Tappet type, is the third that the box has possessed, and was provided in 1937 when the track signalling along the entire line was improved to allow longer passenger trains to operate during the tourist season.

Williton was amongst the boxes to survive up to the closure of the line in 1971, and amazingly this unique survivor was not demolished and has been returned to use with the West Somerset steam railway. Its future us assured.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated