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Railway Infrastructure

 

This section is dedicated to societies that own or manage in some manner former railway infrastructure. The predominant entries relate to signal boxes and viaducts.

 

Note that there is a vast amount of former railway infrastructure still existing in the UK. Much of this is still owned by quasi-governmental bodies of one form or another, as well as trusts such as Sustrans and Railway Paths Limited, and much has also been sold and is now in private hands. Much else has been preserved by heritage railways and now forms part of their operational railways.  We do not list railway infrastructure owned in this manner.

 

The Railway Club Directory is essentially a directory of railway related societies, and accordingly we only list in this section former railway infrastructure owned by or managed by a railway society or by a trust to which some form of membership or voluntary participation is offered. Trusts and charities operated without society or membership involvement are not included.  

 

Those interested in railway infrastructure may also be interested in the ‘Engine Shed Society’, the ‘Signalling Record Society’, and 'Railway Ramblers', which can all be found in the ‘Railway Societies’ section of this website under ‘Specialised National Railway Societies.

Armathwaite Station Signal box

Description 

A Midland Railway signal box, built in 1899 replacing an earlier box destroyed by fire. Located on the Settle-Carlisle line, the box closed in January 1983.

Address: Armathwaite Station, Station Road, Armathwaite, Cumbria, CA4 9PL (on up-side)

Opening Times: Access possible most Sunday's (10am to 4pm) and other times by prior arrangement.

Prices: Free entry

Society Involved: Friends of the Settle-Carlisle line

Society Role: Maintaining the box, which is still owned by Network Rail.

Society Membership: Yes, currently £10 per year

www.foscl.org.uk/content/armathwaite-station-signalbox

 

Bennerley Viaduct

Description: The longest wrought iron viaduct in the country, which crosses the River Erewash connecting Ilkeston with Awsworth, built in 1877 by the Great Northern Railway Company. 

Location: Between the villages of Cotmanhay and Awsworth

Open to the public: Yes. Access can be made from both ends of the viaduct

Society Involved: Friends of Bennerley Viaduct

Society Role: Society works in partnership with Railway Paths Limited to support this viaduct

Society Membership: Yes, currently £10 per year

www.bennerleyviaduct.org.uk

 

Brading Railway Heritage Centre and Signal Box

Description

Brading railway station is located on the Ilse of Wight and still sees trains on the Ryde - Shanklin service. Its historic station, which might otherwise have been demolished, has been preserved and now forms part of a railway heritage centre, including within it the station’s former signal box (closed October 1988) that previously controlled this section of the railway.

Address: Brading railway station, Station Road, Brading, PO36 0EB

Opening Times: Saturday & Sunday (12:30pm to 4:30pm) and Wednesday (1-4pm). Signal box tours are available on request.

Prices: Free entry - donations welcomed.

Society Involved: Site is leased to Brading Town Council and maintained by Brading Town Trust. Voluntary help welcomed.

www.brading.gov.uk/brading-railway-heritage-centre

 

Carlisle River Eden Viaduct

Description: A railway viaduct over the River Eden, just north of Carlisle, formally being part of the Carlisle - Edinburgh main (Waverley) line.

Location: Best viewed from path along River Eden near Cumberland Infirmary

Open to the public: Not yet. Viaduct is currently gated closed.

Society Involved: Carlisle Waverley Viaduct Trust

Society Role: Campaign to re-open the viaduct as a footpath and eventually a cycle path

Society Membership: Structured as a trust without members as such

www.carlislewaverleyviaducttrust.co.uk

 

Crawley Signal Box

Description

A signal box located near to the operational line in Crawley, West Sussex. The box is a former London, Brighton & South Coast Railway signal box built around 1877. Closed in 1986 as a consequence of signalling modernisation.

Address: At the level crossing close to Crawley Station, at the corner of Springfield Road and Brighton Road.

Opening Times: Usually 3rd Saturday of the month, March to December

Prices: Free entry - donations welcomed.

Society Involved: Crawley Signal Box Preservation Society

Society Role: Leases and maintains the signal box

Society Membership: Yes, currently £15 per year

www.crawley.cyng.org.uk/SignalBox.html

 

Eden Viaducts

Description: Three brick-built railway viaducts (Smardale Gill Viaduct, Merrygill Viaduct and Podgill Viaduct) built around 1860 on the Stainmore main line railway from Darlington (on the East Coast main line) to Tebay (on the West Coast main line). All 3 viaducts (plus a new footbridge on the trackbed over the River Eden, the ‘Millenium Bridge’), as well as the track bed between Stenkrith and Merrygill Viaduct, are under the care of the Trust.

Location: Merrygill Viaduct and Podgill Viaduct can be readily accessed from Stenkrith (near Kirkby East railway station, actually a little south of the town). Smardale Gill Viaduct is more remote, accessible via the hamlet of Smardale, a few miles west of Kirkby Stephen.

Open to the public: Yes, there are permissive footpaths across all the viaducts and between Stenkrith and Merrygill Viaduct.

Society Involved: Northern Viaduct Trust

Society Role: Northern Viaduct Trust is a charity established in 1989 to acquire and maintain parts of Cumbria’s railway history, ultimately owning and maintaining the viaducts named herein.

Membership: No formal membership as such. Supporters can subscribe to a monthly newsletter.

www.edenviaducts.org.uk

 

Exeter West Signal Box

Description

A Great Western Railway signal box, originally bult in 1913 and formerly located at the west end of Exeter St. Davids station, controlling the junction for the LSWR line to Exeter Central and Waterloo. It was replaced by this larger 131 levers box in 1959. The signal box remained in use until 1985, when colour light signalling was introduced. To save from loss by way of demolition, the box was dismantled and later re-erected at Crewe as part of the Crewe Heritage Centre, and is now a working museum piece demonstrating how the larger signal boxes of the past were operated.

Address: Located at Crewe Heritage Centre, Vernon Way, Crewe CW1 2DB

Opening Times: Saturdays, Sundays & Bank Holidays (10am to 4.30pm) from beginning of April to end of October

Prices: £7

Society Involved: The Exeter West Group

Society Role: Maintains and operates the signal box

Society Membership: Yes, currently £12 per year

www.exeterwest.org.uk

 

Princes Risborough North Signal Box

Description

A Great Western Railway signal box, originally bult in 1904, constructed as part of the GWR/GCR joint railway ‘Bicester cut-off’, whereby it became the GWR’s North Main Line from London to Birmingham, as well as a route for express trains on the Great Central Railway via Ashendon Junction (avoiding Aylesbury). Built as a 126-lever brick building arranged over three floors, it is now the largest surviving GWR signal box in the country, and a Grade II listed building. It was closed in 1991 as a consequence of a signalling up-grade scheme. The box is intended to be used by the Chinnor and Princes Risborough heritage railway as the controlling box for trains in and out of the heritage platform at Princes Risborough station, and part museum to demonstrate the working of a major GWR signal box.

Address: Princes Risborough railway station, Station Approach, HP27 9DN

Opening Times: In process on renovation (not generally open to the public but two or three times per year a public opening is usually arranged).

Prices: N/A

Society Involved: The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway Association

Society Role: Restoring the signal box for future intended use

Society Membership: Yes (go to ‘Heritage Railways’ section of this website for details on the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway(.

www.risboroughbox.org.uk

 

Romsey Signal Box

Description

Signal box, dating from around 1873, and believed to have been one of the oldest boxes still in service when it was closed in 1982. Until then, it controlled the railway junction at Romsey with the line from Salisbury dividing into lines to Eastleigh and to Southampton. In order to preserve it, the box was relocated from its original position to a nearby location away from the operational railway.

Address: Brick Lane, Romsey, Hampshire

Opening Times: Normally open to public during the afternoons of the first Sunday of every month, excluding January, and the third Saturday of every month, excluding December

Prices:  

Society Involved: Friends of Romsey Signal Box

Society Role: Box is owned by the Romsey & District Buildings Preservation Trust. The ‘Friends of Romsey Signal Box’ undertake its maintenance and operation

Society Membership: Yes, currently £10 per year

www.romseysignalbox.org.uk

St Albans South Signal Box

Description 

A Midland Railway signal box, built in 1892 replacing an earlier box when the line was expanded from two to four tracks southwards. Box controlled all the trains on the four tracks between St Albans North Box and Napsbury and later also northwards to Harpenden Station box. It was Grade II listed in 1979 before closure in December 1979.

Address: Ridgmont Road, St Albans, AL1 3AJ

Opening Times: 2nd Sunday of the month (2pm to 5pm) all year, also 4th Sunday March-October inclusive. Special openings for half-term and Heritage Open Days.

Prices: Free entry - donations welcomed.

Society Involved: St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust

Society Role: Maintaining the box, which is still owned by Network Rail.

Society Membership: Yes, currently £10 per year

www.sigbox.co.uk

 

Settle Signal Box

Description

A Midland Railway signal box, built in 1891. Located on the Settle-Carlisle line, the box closed in May 1984.

Address: Settle railway station, Station Road, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9AA

Opening Times: Most Saturdays between 10am and 4pm.

Prices: Free entry - donations welcomed.

Society Involved: Friends of the Settle-Carlisle line

Society Role: Maintaining the box, which is still owned by Network Rail.

Society Membership: Yes, currently £10 per year

www.foscl.org.uk/content/settle-station-signal-box

 

Swindon Panel Preservation

Description

The Swindon Panel Signal Box was opened in 1968 and took over an area controlled by thirty-two mechanical lever-frame signal boxes. It closed in February 2016 with all signalling functions transferred to Network Rail’s new Thames Valley Signalling Centre (TVSC) in Didcot in the latest modernisation. The Swindon Panel Society has preserved the Swindon Panel, one of the original Western Region "turn push" type panels. A building was constructed at the Didcot Railway Centre to house the panel which opened in 2018.

Address: Didcot Railway Centre, Didcot OX11 7NJ

Opening Times: See Society website (note it is not open as frequently as the Centre itself)

Prices: No additional charge over the price to enter Didcot Railway Centre

Society Involved: Swindon Panel Society

Society Role: Swindon Panel Society own the Swindon Panel, whose volunteers maintain and demonstrate the panel to visitors of the Centre. Opening dates are based on volunteer availability, so volunteers always welcome.

Society Membership: Yes, see website

www.swindonpanel.org.uk

 

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