Wrangaton Signal Box
The former Wrangaton signal box is now an exhibit at Kidderminster Railway Museum. It is gradually being restored to full working order in a project which began in 1994.
The signal box was formerly situated at Wrangaton in Devon, in the area of the former GWR main line known as the ‘South Devon Banks’. The line from Totnes climbs Rattery Bank to the summit at Wrangaton, before descending Hemerdon Bank to reach Plymouth.
The box was first opened by the GWR in 1896. It continued in use until 1966, after which the signalling equipment and lever frame were removed. It was subsequently used as a mess room by the local permanent way gang.
DismantlingIn November 1994 an appeal was made by David Postle on behalf of Kidderminster Railway Museum for SVR members based in Devon to help dismantle the box so it could be preserved. 21 local members turned up to help with this process. It was necessary to obtain a possession on the West of England main line so that scaffolding could be safely erected, this being carried out in the early hours of the morning. During the demolition the bricks were removed one by one, cleaned, numbered and recorded so that the box could be rebuilt in its exact form. Owing to the isolated position of the box, a tractor and trailer were used to transport the bricks across two fields so they could be loaded onto a lorry for transport to Kidderminster.
RebuildingAfter some delay, the process of rebuilding the box began. A site was chosen for the box to be re-erected at Kidderminster. However when a pit was first dug, the ground proved to be unstable and the decision was quickly taken to backfill this and consult a structural engineer. The revised design incorporated a steel-reinforced concrete pad with 34 cubic meters of concrete which was cast in July 2004. The brickwork was reassembled during 2005-06 with the roof being fitted in early 2007. Construction of the windows and floor continued in 2008.
Lever frame and other fittings
The GWR standard 19 lever stud locking frame was recovered from a similar signal box at Bersham Colliery Sidings near Wrexham, on which the interior of the rebuilt Wrangaton box is based. The Bersham box opened in 1897, replacing an earlier box of 1874, and the frame has a casting date of 1896. The detonator placers (black and white striped levers 5 and 15) were added circa 1915.The frame has been restored to working order and is connected to the adjacent outdoor signals and detonator placers. Other internal turn of the century equipment and fittings have been acquired by the Museum from numerous sources.
The box was opened to the public for the first time in June 2015. It is open when possible during galas and other special events or by appointment with the Museum.
- KRM information poster
- SVR News 113 pp 27, 56-57, SVR News 114
- Kidderminster Railway Museum 'Future Projects'
- Wikipedia web page for Wrangaton Box
- Cornwall Railway Society web page with photos of the box in its original location
- Kidderminster Railway Museum 'Future Projects' (Retrieved 23 February 2017) has reports up until 2008
- Photo of Bersham Colliery Sidings signal box