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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Budbrook and Warwick Cold Store: gwrw2670

At the bottom of Hatton bank adjacent to the up main line was Budbrook Signal Box, seen here circa 1960

At the bottom of Hatton bank adjacent to the up main line was Budbrook Signal Box, seen here circa 1960. The signal box was a McKenzie & Holland type 3 design, originally housing an eleven lever frame and called ‘Budbrooke Crossing Signal Box’. It opened in May 1879, when a cross-over and down refuge siding was provided at this location.

For many years the Great Western Railway used two principle signalling contractors to meet their requirements, which included the provision of Signal Boxes and frames. Saxby & Farmer were mainly used on the southern routes until approximately 1876, when this work was mostly taken in-house from the Signalling Works at Reading, while McKenzie & Holland were used on the northern routes until this work was also taken in-house in April 1885. The McKenzie & Holland Signal Box type 3 design used from 1875 onwards had a brick or timber lock room with windows at the front. In the lock room there was a brick arch in the rear wall to support the fireplace in the 1st floor operating room and brick chimney. The operating room was normally timber construction with front and side 3x2 panel sliding sash windows. The external timber cladding was seven inch wide horizontal weatherboards attached to 9x3 inch vertical corner principles and 3x3 inch vertical intermediate studding at 1 foot, 6 inch spacing. The roof was a gabled design, covered in 20x10 inch flat slate tiles with a 3 inch lap and plain ridge tiles. At either end there were plain bargeboards with rounded feet and tall distinctive finals. The staircase was external, leading to a short veranda at one end, which was supported on cast iron brackets attached to the principles and incorporated a small toilet cabin. A soil-pipe usually lead to a septic tank with a soak-away to drain the liquid. The design of these Signal Boxes was simple and sound, only requiring replacement for operational necessities and as a result a number of these boxes survived until the quadrupling of the main line in the 1930s with the rest being sweep away from the Warwickshire landscape by the track and signalling rationalisations in the 1960s. See photographs of similar McKenzie & Holland type 3 Signal Boxes at Bentley Heath Crossing 'gwrbh24', Olton 'gwro2304' and Bearley [later Bearley East] 'gwrbj785'.

The signal box name plate was originally wooden, but this was changed to a cast iron name plate ordered on 18th July 1899 (part of order No 210) and by this time the name was ‘Budbrook Signal Box’. On 19th December 1910 the frame was change to a GW stud type with 17 levers at 5.25 inch centres and some of these extra levers were utilised when in October 1911 the down refuge siding was converted to a down goods loop with both the facing entry and trailing egress switches controlled from Budbrook Signal Box. On 3rd May 1914 this down goods loop was extended up the 1 in 105 Hatton bank to Hatton Station and became the down goods running loop. For details of the signalling at this time see the signalling diagram 'gwrw2669'. The main line cross-over was taken out of use on 8th December 1968 and this down goods running loop was taken out of use on 25th May 1969 and although the down goods loop at Budbrook was initially retained, both this and Budbrook Signal Box were closed later that year on 1st September 1969.

Robert Ferris