© Jon Tooke
The SIGNAL BOX was erected in 1904 to the standard GWR design of the day.
It has its original 17 lever frame, controlling signals (by wires) and points (by rods), interlocked with the big wheel (visible from the opposite platform) that opens the level crossing gates across the road, which are opened by the signalman. Levers are all interlocked and must be pulled in the correct order for safety reasons. Some of this complex interlocking gear can be seen through the lower window of the box. The rods and wires pass beneath the platform and can be seen working whenever a train is being signalled. Any bells that you may hear ringing are coded messages between signal boxes.
All the signals at Blue Anchor are of the lower quadrant type used by the GWR and later by BR Western Region. These go DOWN rather than UP like most other railways.
The signals are all lit by electric lamps at night (red - stop, green - all clear) and the original GWR LAMP HUT is still in use on the far side of the level crossing (to store gardening equipment!). In here the signalman would fill, light and trim the lamps, a pleasant job on a wet and windy day!
The level crossing gates were once a familiar sight all over the railway system, but this is now the only example still in existence in the West Country, everywhere else having changed to barriers and flashing lights.
This is the only example of a GWR 'stud' locking frame still in operational use in its original signal-box in its original location, which makes it unique. There is a superb view from the signal box and one is able to observe trains leaving Dunster and follow their progress along the coast of Blue Anchor Bay. Also on a clear day the Welsh coast is visible some seventeen miles away across the Bristol Channel.
Speak nicely to the duty signalman, and it may be possible to visit the signal box.
© Robin White
The drawings of Blue Anchor Station on this website are by local artist Issy McFarlane, and can be purchased at the station as A5 sketches (unframed £3 or framed £5) or as greeting cards at £1 each.
Blue Anchor Station,
Minehead, TA24 6LG.
Tel: (+44) 01643 821123
© Friends of Blue Anchor Station 2018.
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