British Railways (Eastern Region)


Opened: 1963


Location code: LM60/04

Seymour Junction signal boxThis boringly plain and, some would say, ugly structure is a product of the Eastern Region of British Railways. It seems totally out of character to find this example on Midland Railway territory but it was by no means the only one as a similar box was built at Horns Bridge on the main line near Chesterfield. The section of former Midland Railway between Chesterfield and Darfield (north of Sheffield) became Eastern Region after the formation of British Railways in 1948, whilst Darfield to Skipton became part of the North Eastern Region.

Seymour Junction is located just off the old North Midland line at Staveley, deep in the Nottinghamshire coalfield area. The box at this location was originally known as Clowne Branch Junction, however the current name was acquired by the third of the four signal boxes that existed here over the years. The previous box had opened in 1929, but repeated flooding of the nearby Doe Lea river had rotted the timberwork. The level of the track was actually raised by some six feet at this point in connection with this.

A similar box can be found at Gainsborough Trent Junctions.

Inside Seymour Junction boxThe sheer size of the frame dominates this photograph, some 80 levers of the 95 lever frame are visible. The frame is of a type used extensively by the Eastern Region in the nineteen-sixties built by the Railway Signal Company. These differ to the RSCo's standard frame (as at Caergwrle) by the levers standing nearly vertical when in the Normal position and having a very long stroke. They are known as Great Northern Railway of Ireland frames, but the suggestion that they were a cancelled order from Ireland seems unlikely from the large quantity concerned.

This massive frame replaced one of a mere 65 in the old box, but the reason for replacement is not known. The layout changed little, but perhaps the expansion took place to allow more shunting signals to be included in the layout.

The track layout consists of:

  • a double line from the Barrow Hill direction (Hall Lane Junction) which is controlled by the left-hand block instrument.
  • a single line continuing in the opposite direction to Elmton & Creswell Junction, controlled by a tablet instrument not visible in the picture.
  • a double line branch, with both lines worked bi-directionally to Markham Colliery Sidings, towards Bolsover, controlled by the other two block instruments, which in accordance with Eastern Region habit, have been assembled with the white segment in the wrong position.
  • a single goods line to Seymour Colliery, worked by wooden train staff.

An array of BR (E) signal repeaters and emergency releases are mounted along the front of the block shelf.

The studs in the signalman's footboard in front of the frame are an ingenious means of energising the electric locks prior to operation of the levers concerned.

A mid-1980's a rationalisation scheme saw the lever frame reduced to just 25 levers (the former 71 to 95) but, remarkably, this box has survived both the extensive resignalling of the area and the run-down of the coalfields and continues in use.

Progressive reduction in traffic flows finally led to the box becoming disused in Spring 2006.

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Additional notes by Peter Churchman

All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated