MEMORIES - SIGNAL BOXES


Signal Boxes are the forgotten building of the modern railway system, the local 'power boxes' which replaced / closed the use of manual signal boxes are themselves now an endangered species. 'Regional Signaling Centre's' are now taking control of hundreds of miles of track and signals. At Taunton Trains we have had many requests for photos of various signal boxes which existed in the Taunton area, so we felt it was about time to collate these into a single page for people to enjoy.

We start out journey to the East of Taunton on the Berks and Hants route heading Westbound through Taunton.

Athelney:

BR Class 50 No.50036 'Victorious' passes Athelney Signal Box in 1987 with a mixed rake of stock. Athelney Signal Box was an all timber construction, inside the box was a 37-lever GW 5¼" stud-locking frame. After closure in 1986 the upper half was carefully dismantled and now forms the upper half of the Bishops Bridge Signal Box (At Staverton) on the South Devon Railway. (Photo: Dave Jones)

This black and white image of Athelney Box was recorded on the 17th August 1985 ahead of the modernaisation plan. Note the Great Western Railway plaque adjacent to the box name. (Photo: Jeff Treece)


Cogload Junction :

Cogload Junction was a type 27c box of 23 levers was built at Cogload Junction during 1906. The signal box was located adjacent to the Up Bristol Mainline. It's pictured here complete prior to it's closure in 1986. Cogload Jn Signal Box officially closed it's door for the last time on Friday 4th April 1986. The track layout have already been reduced to two lines by the previous weekend. The box remained in position although slowly being stripped of it's workings until September 1987. It had been purchased for the princely sum of £5.75 by a man named Mike Rees. It was planned to move the box to Coleford GWR museum to be transported in two sections by road. (Photos: Andy Hunt)


Taunton East:

Large Logo Class 50 No.50006 'Neptune' stands at Taunton East on the 3rd March 1986 with a local engineers train. Taunton East was still in use at this time. (Photo: Steve Awford)

Taunton East Signal Box was a new type 11 box enclosing 147 levers. It was constructed at Taunton East Junction in 1931. This image depicts the remains of the box after it had been closed, during the late 1980's. (Photos: Norman Hawkes)

 


Taunton West:

Taunton West Signal Box also opened in 1931 and was a new type 11 box consisting of 135 levers. It stood at the West end of the island platforms at Taunton Station and was a prominent feature of the station. It's demise can be seen here, during the late 1980's with the install of colour light signals yet to take place. (Photo: Dave Jones)

A unidentified Class 45/1 passes Taunton West Signal Box in the early 1980's. (Photo: Russell Harrison)

Views from inside signal boxes were not always recorded, as the significance of these photos (at the time) was not known. Thankfully we have traced these images taken before the box was closed and demolished. (Photos: Jeff Treece)


Taunton West Junction:

Taunton West Junction Signal Box was GWR Type 11 box with 67 levers, built in 1931. The box controlled from the West of Taunton Station, various sidings and junctions, leading down to Silk Mills. This box was located adjacent to Staplegrove Road / Taunton School. This image was taken on a cold 23rd December 1963 of a 2-8-0 28XX No.3801 hauling a goods train towards Taunton Station. (Photo: Mike Pollard, Aged 16 !!)

We turn back the clock for Easter to provide a superb image from 1970. This shot (taken from Taunton School) on the 21st March 1970 and shows Taunton West Juntion Signal Box with a Class 119 DMU (51080+51097) passing working a Taunton - Minehead stopping service. Adjacent is a Class 42 'Warship' D813 'Diadem' which had been held on the Taunton 'avoider' hauling the 7C30 09:10 Stoke Gifford - Exeter Riverside mixed fright. (Photo: Dr R Elsdon)

The above image show 'Peak' D136, later 45077, passing the abandoned Taunton West Junction Signla Box on the Monday to Friday 7C52 1010 St Blazey-Severn Tunnel Junction freight. This was due through Taunton at 15:27 each weekday (source: BR WTT Section B 01.05.1972-06.05.1973). (Photo: Unknown - Supplied by Guy Vincent which was prevsiouly purchased from Nevis Books of Malborough with no prior photogrpaher name)

The above image shows the corner of the Taunton West Junction Box as D1650 (47066 47661 47816) passes with the 1B55 12:30 Paddington-Paignton which seems to have run for several years in the early 70s. (Photo: Unknown - Supplied by Guy Vincent which was prevsiouly purchased from Nevis Books of Malborough with no prior photogrpaher name)


Silk Mills Crossing:

Silk Mills Crossing Signal Box was a new type 12b box of 53 levers and was built at Silk Mills Crossing in 1940. It controlled access to the West End of Fairwater Yard, Norton Fitzwarren and Mainline Services. (Photo: Dave Jones)


Wellington:

Wellington Signal Box was situated at the former Wellington Station, and is pictured after closure on the 9th March 1986. The adjacent stopping loop lines had been removed as long ago as 1964. It's perhaps a tad ironic that residents in Wellington continue thier campaign to have the station re-opened to provide better transport links for the tow, when the original demise of the station was the car and construction of the M5. It's worth noting that several items from Wellington Box (including the door) went on to be salvaged from distruction/ disposal and helped to restore Blue Anchor Box, on the West Somerset Railway (Both Photos: Jeff Treece)


Whiteball:

Whiteball Signal Box controlled access to various sidings on the Devon side of Whiteball Tunnel. After closure part of the frame was used to construct the current signal box for Cheltenham Racecourse on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway. (Photo: Jeff Treece)


Barnstaple Branch - Milverton:

Milverton Signal Box is seen on the last day of passenger operation on the 3rd October 1966 before eventual closure. The box was a half brick, half timber design. (Photo: Bernard Mills)

Barnstaple Branch - Wiveliscombe:

Wiveliscombe Signal Box was an all timber construction and painted white. This unidentified image shows a BR Mogal No.7303 arriving into the station (date unknown). (Photo: Unknown)


Minehead Branch - Bishops Lydeard:

Bishops Lydeard Signal Box was located on the Minehead Branch, and still exists today as part of the West Somerset Railway. It's pictured here on the 26th August 1978. The box was constructed in the early 1900's and had several modifications to it's levels, frames and operation during it's life. (Photo: Reg Jones)

Minehead Branch - Williton:

Williton Signal Box was built by the Bristol and Exeter Railway. When the original WSR was extended from Watchet to Minehead in 1874, then the line was divided into two block sections Norton Fitzwarrren - Williton - Minehead and a passing-loop provided at Williton. At that time the B&ER opened both the box at Williton and one at Watchet, whilst the Minehead Railway built boxes at Washford, Dunster and Minehead itself. So Williton was merely the only intermediate *block post* at that time. The box later closed in 1971, but survived to become part of the West Somerset Railway. The box is pictured in September 1979. (Photo: Reg Jones)

Minehead Branch - Blue Anchor:

Blue Anchor Signal Box is another very lucky piece of Railway architecture which survived the Beeching era, and retains most of it's original equipment. The box was opened in the early 1900's. The box is pictured in April 1977 looking in a scene which has changed very little to the present day. (Photo: Reg Jones)

Minehead Branch - Minehead:

Minehead Signal Box unfortunately did not survive the Beeching Cuts, and was demolished by British Rail in 1966. However in a strange turn of events, Minehead regained Signal Box once the West Somerset Railway had been established. Dunster Signal Box was transported to Minehead in one piece and located where it currently sits today. Standing in a vast and open landscape, in August 1978 the box looks at home in the rolling countryside. A far cry from the developments of Tesco, Morrisons and McDonalds which now surround this structure! (Photo: Reg Jones)