Arrochar & Tarbet

PHOTO GALLERY: NORTH BRITISH RAILWAY

Arrochar & Tarbet

OPENED: 1894      CLOSED: 1986

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Most of the signal boxes that were provided when the West Highland line opened in 1894 were small platform cabins controlling crossing loops. Arrochar & Tarbet was just one of the many:

Arrochar & Tarbet SB
John Hinson, 1984

The architecture was in keeping with the station buildings on the island platforms, although most of these signal boxes were some distance from them. They were mostly near-identical in size and looks, and featured nine-pane non-opening windows.

The entire contract for lever frames along the line was let (unusually for Scotland) to Saxby & Farmer, who provided their 1888 Duplex tappet interlocking design frames.

Arrochar & Tarbet SB
John Hinson, 1984

Here we see the 17-lever Saxby & Farmer lever frame that controlled the layout.

These signal boxes were never staffed as such, instead the signalman resided (with his instruments) in the station office in order to sell tickets and undertake other duties. He would only venture to the signal box when it was necessary to set point and signals for trains. This would normally be a quite straightforward exercise unless two trains had to cross at the station, when suddenly things would get complicated whilst the signalman darted between his token machines and the signal box.

Key locations that required an independent, properly-staffed signal box used a different design, one is illustrated at Mallaig Junction.

Arrochar & Tarbet was abolished on 19th January 1986, when the Radio Electronic Token Block system was introduced, managed from the new signal box at Banavie. The signal box had, however, been classified as a Listed Building – it was moved to a seemingly better location but was subsequently dismantled owing to subsidence damage, with its place being taken by a replica.

 

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