PHOTO GALLERY: NORTH BRITISH RAILWAY
OPENED: 1881 CLOSED: 1969
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Riccarton Junction was one of the key stations on the North British Railway’s Waverley main line between Carlisle and Edinburgh and was large enough to warrant the provision of two signal boxes in 1881.
Riccarton South was of a non-standard design but featured the usual sash windows – even in the locking room (where only one of the original two has survived, giving it a lop-sided look, emphasised by the unbalanced placement of the operating floor windows. The box is constructed in brick but has been rendered.
Unusually, the box has been erected in the vee of the junction with the front wall facing the station. A view from one of the front windows of the box (below) emphasises this.
On the left is the remains of the marshalling yard that had existed here, and the North Tyne branch to Keilder, Reedsmouth Junction and Hexham branches off lower right – closed in 1958 but the stub here still used as sidings at this date. Although one tends to not associate the Waverley route with anything other than steam trains, a Brush Type 4 diesel is heading a freight service for Carlisle through the station.
This interior view of the box shows some very interesting features.
Firstly, the two boxes at Riccarton Junction were fitted, most unusually, with lever frames built by the Railway Signal Company – it is not known why the NBR deviated from its affirmed devotion to frames manufactured by Stevens & Sons at their Glasgow works. The only other known use was in a single contract for crossing cabins – see Cardrona – and these were dwarf frames and not standard Railway Signal Company products.
The box diagram is interesting, it has been drawn and displayed vertically to correspond with the signalman’s view of his layout.
The block instruments for the main line are North British Railway three-wire, three-position instruments with thumb catches very similar to those used on the Great Central Railway. Both are provided, oddly with London & North Western Railway bells.
The signal box closed on 6th January 1969 when the Waverley route was closed throughout but was one of only two that weren’t subsequently demolished and it remained in very dilapidated condition until around 1990 when it is believed it was conveniently caused to self-demolish to allow the lever frame to be easily recovered for scrap by tinkers.