PHOTO GALLERY: NORTH LONDON RAILWAY
OPENED: 1892 CLOSED: 1971
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Between the one-time stations of Haggerston and Shoreditch (closed in 1940), perched atop the viaduct along which the North London’s route ran, was Dunloe Street signal box. It served a small goods yard belonging to the London & North Western Railway (which was also at viaduct level) but mainly served as an important break-section box on this intensively used route.
Access was gained from ground level by the iron spiral staircase – there was plenty of time to hear the guv’nor coming!
Once you have got your breath back from the climb, a glance at the box shows it to be a perfectly normal-looking signal box at track level. It depicts the development of the first design (see Dalston Junction) but had been simplified and given a more conventional glazing arrangement. Gabled roofs were introduced in 1890 (see Western Junction) so this 1892 example is rather late on parade – it also incorporates the removable locking-room windows of that type.
In its early days, Dunloe Street was one of only a handful boxes to control all four lines, using a 40-lever frame to the North London’s standard tappet design like the one at Western Junction.
In later years, boxes were rationalised all around, but Dunloe Street survived many larger cabins by being conveniently midway between Broad Street No2 and Dalston Junction and therefore fulfilling its earlier role despite the block sections being somewhat longer. Its importance fell as train services were gradually reduced and it fell out of use in the 1970s.
In 1976, the signal arms were removed and the levers bolted to prevent interference, and the box declared as abolished. Nevertheless, it was retained in this form for many years in case a need arose.
It never did, and the line closed in 1986.