Chard Junction signal box – And there it was – gone!

I wrote this back in 2012 and thought it worth preserving.

Driving back into Dorset from Somerset today I was approaching the Chard Road milk factory when the railway crossing lights started flashing red and the barriers came down. I pulled up to wait for the train to go through.

Glancing to my right I thought where is the signal box? I looked again and there it wasn't! It had disappeared, just the concrete base remained.

ST3404 : Level crossing at Chard Junction by Sarah CharlesworthLevel crossing at Chard Junction © Copyright Sarah Charlesworth and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
A Google when I got home revealed this story "End of an era at Chard Junction". It seems signaling on this stretch of line has transferred to a modern centralised location at Basingstoke, so I suppose with no further use for the box it has been knocked down. No more will those in the know be able to see if another train is due by looking at the signalman (or often signalwoman). If they came to the corner of the box straight after the train had passed they were raising the barriers, if they stayed where they were you were stuck there until the train waiting to travel along the single track in the opposite direction had gone through. There is a better picture of the box and more information on it at trainweb.org.

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