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Wymondham South Junction Signal Box

A Grade II Listed Building in Wymondham, Norfolk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.5648 / 52°33'53"N

Longitude: 1.1165 / 1°6'59"E

OS Eastings: 611322

OS Northings: 300889

OS Grid: TG113008

Mapcode National: GBR TFN.14C

Mapcode Global: WHLSM.3SYN

Entry Name: Wymondham South Junction Signal Box

Listing Date: 16 May 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1414469

Location: Wymondham, South Norfolk, Norfolk, NR18

County: Norfolk

District: South Norfolk

Civil Parish: Wymondham

Built-Up Area: Wymondham (South Norfolk)

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Wymondham

Church of England Diocese: Norwich

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Summary

Signal box built for the Great Eastern Railway in 1877.

Description

Signal box built for the Great Eastern Railway in 1877.

MATERIALS: timber construction and slate roof covering.

PLAN: it is located a short distance to the west of the station at a point where the railway tracks fork into two, and is rectangular on plan.

EXTERIOR: the signal box has a pitched roof with exposed rafters at the eaves and plain bargeboards. It rests on a brick plinth and is clad in horizontal timber painted in green and pale yellow, the colours of the GER. The locking room is lit on the north side by a group of three horizontal, four-light windows with vertical glazing bars; and is accessed on the west side via the original timber door. The upper operating room is lit on all four sides by the original large sliding windows with vertical timber glazing bars: there are five four-light windows on the north and south sides, three three-light windows on the east side, and two three-light windows on the west side. It is accessed via a timber door with a glazed upper panel which is not original.

INTERIOR: the McKenzie and Holland 42 lever frame (of unknown date) is in situ. Secondary glazing has been fitted.

History

From the 1840s, huts or cabins were provided for men operating railway signals. These were often located on raised platforms containing levers to operate the signals, and in the early 1860s the fully glazed signal box, initially raised high on stilts to give a good view down the line, emerged. The interlocking of signals and points, perhaps the most important single advance in rail safety, patented by John Saxby in 1856, was the final step in the evolution of railway signalling into a form recognisable today. Signal boxes were built to a great variety of different designs and sizes to meet traffic needs by signalling contractors and the railway companies themselves.

Signal box numbers peaked at around 12,000-13,000 for Great Britain just prior to the First World War, and successive economies in working led to large reductions in their numbers from the 1920s onwards. British Railways inherited around 10,000 in 1948 and numbers dwindled rapidly to about 4000 by 1970. In 2012, about 750 remained in use; it was anticipated that most would be rendered redundant over the next decade.

Wymondham Station was built for the Norfolk Railway in 1844, together with the goods shed and row of railway cottages, all of which are listed at Grade II. The signal box was built in 1877 and is an example of the GER Type 2 design, a large number of which were built between 1877 and 1882, mostly of all timber construction. The signal box has window sashes without horizontal glazing bars, a variation found in a number of Type 2 boxes.

Reasons for Listing

Wymondham South Junction signal box, built for the Great Eastern Railway in 1877, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: it is the earliest survivor of the Type 2 and is also the oldest surviving GER signal box;

* Intactness: it survives with a high degree of intactness, retaining its distinctive fenestration and lever frame;

* Group value: it is an important element in one of the earliest and best preserved small stations in East Anglia, and has strong group value with the listed station buildings.

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