PHOTO GALLERY: NORTH BRITISH RAILWAY
OPENED: 1867 CLOSED: 1966
Click or tap the images for enlarged views
Smeaton is a village to the east of Edinburgh, on the Macmerry branch which left the East Coast main line at Monktonhall Junction. A freight branch to Thorneybank (later extended to Hardengreen Junction on the Waverley route) opened in 1866. This signal box opened soon afterwards, in 1867 and was originally provided with 35 levers.
Interestingly the box has been built part-way up the cutting wall to give the signalman a good view of the layout under his control despite the road bridge alongside.
The signal box underwent several transformations in its life – it was originally roughly half of the size seen here. It was extended by about a half-length in 1913 to accommodate a new lever frame of 53 levers but it seems a further wooden extension was later made to provide more space. This probably accommodated the Tablet instrument (mentioned below) and the signalman’s comfort facilities.
Early signal boxes on the North British Railway were not particularly standardised but were generally without any remarkable features whereas from 1878 boxes were almost all distinctly provided with sash windows and thick wooden or even exceptionally thick brick pillars.
A peek inside the signal box shows the Stevens & Sons 53-lever frame installed in 1913. A pair of North British Railway three-wire, three-position block instruments control the double-line block section towards Monktonhall Junction, the main line in the other direction was single and controlled by a Tyer & Co No6 Tablet machine working to Dalkeith Colliery signal box. A short branch to Carberry Colliery was worked using a One Engine in Steam staff, and the block bell nearest the camera on the instrument shelf communicated with the level crossing near the colliery. The goods branch towards Hardengreen Junction had closed in 1934.
Passenger services had been discontinued in 1933 and reductions in freight traffic sources saw much rationalisation through the years. In 1966 the line was reduced to siding status and Smeaton Junction signal box closed.