Buckfastleigh signal box opens

Buckfastleigh signal box opens - South Devon Railway

By: John Brodribb
Added: 23 May 2012

The South Devon Railway Museum has expanded its scope by bringing the original signal box at Buckfastleigh back into use for visitors. Provided that they can get up the steps, people can now see how a signal box works, what the levers do and hear some of the sounds. They can even try pulling the levers themselves!

The signal box was built by the Great Western Railway in 1906, when the station was expanded to cope with the increased goods traffic, mainly wool, paper and coal. The station remained largely unchanged after that, and when the Ashburton branch – now the South Devon Railway - finally closed in 1962 – almost all that was needed was to replace the signal arms to get things working again.

However, it didn’t last. In 1971 the line between Buckfastleigh and Ashburton closed finally, and the new A38 was built over the trackbed. This included most of the goods yard at Buckfastleigh, which had to be moved to the other side of the station. The old signal box fell out of use, and was replaced in the 1980s with a new one.

Volunteers from the South Devon Railway’s thriving museum are now working hard to bring the old signal box back to its former glory. It is now open for visitors every weekend and bank holiday, so come and try signalling a train from Totnes to Ashburton, or shunt some (virtual) coal wagons into the yard. Entry is free, and it is open when the main museum is open on those days. We look forward to seeing you.