British Railways (Eastern Region)


Opened: 1964

Closed: ——

Location code: E60/35

Gainsborough Trent Junctions signal boxWhen the Great Northern & Great Eastern Joint line forged its way north from Cambridge, through Spalding and Lincoln towards Doncaster in the late 1870s and early 1880s, a cunning plan was conceived for crossing the wide River Trent near Gainsborough. At their Gainsborough Lea Road station, the line curved sharply left and joined the Great Central Railway's main Grimsby to Manchester route. Travelling south-west for a short distance to cross the Trent, it turned off again at the far side of the bridge to head northwards again. Whilst this was no doubt officially to encourage interworking of traffic, little of this happened in practice.

The boxes at each junction were known as East Trent Junction and West Trent Junction, but when the layout was centralised on one box the unusual name of Gainsborough Trent Junctions was adopted. That box was renewed in 1964 with the structure illustrated here.

Boxes of this era were rather austere, although the design was functional. This particular style was used between 1961 and 1964, after which the only full size mechanical box built by BR(E) was Twenty Feet River of 1974.

Inside Gainsborough Trent Junctions boxAll of the boxes were roomy inside, and most of this type contained frames manufactured by the Railway Signal Company. This particular example appears to be a standard model (most were to the Great Northern Railway of Ireland design, believed to be a cancelled order - see Seymour Junction) and may be second-hand. This one totalled 40 levers.

The points controlling the West Junction are motor operated, being so far from the box, and are worked by the levers with the shortened handles in the foreground.

All routes here are still active, ensuring a future for the box for the time being.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated