PHOTO GALLERY: NORTH BRITISH RAILWAY
Touch North Junction
OPENED: 1915 CLOSED: 1970
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In 1908, the North British Railway finally settled on a new, modern-looking standard design to supersede the chunky 1873 design which had soldiered on, long beyond its “sell-by” date. Many variations and non-standard varieties had come and gone along the way.
Touch North Junction was located a short distance east of Dunfermline, controlling one corner of a triangular junction where the lines through Dunfermline Upper and Dunfermline Lower met on the route towards Cowdenbeath and Thornton.
The signal box demonstrates the features of the new design well – all brick construction continued previous practice. The glazing area is tall, making the signalman’s work area bright and airy. Sash windows have finally been abandoned and replaced by conventional horizontally sliding windows, provided only in the end panes of the front window. The upper section of the glazed area is divided into smaller panes.
All-timber construction continued earlier practice of only being used where circumstances demanded it – an example is illustrated at Thornton Station.
An interior view of the signal box shows the 30-lever frame to the usual Stevens & Sons Glasgow design positioned at the rear of the box. Mounted on the instrument shelf are three pairs of North British Railway three-wire, three position block instruments, of the later type with a thumb catch for easier operation than the old pin and chain type. Notice that all of the non-pegging instruments have what look like commutator handles, these are non-operational and are probably just residue from their original use as telegraph instruments.
Between the two left-hand pairs is a NBR closing switch.
Of interest from the architectural point of view, is the inner wall boarding and the corner-located fireplace. A false ceiling is provided – a common feature of Scottish signal boxes. Combine these features with the relative lack of opening windows (and their associated draughts), and signal boxes such as these must have been reasonably cosy.
This signal box closed on 1st November 1970.