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Callington Branch Signals
SR target sign The Callington Branch
The Signals
SR target sign
Mineral Line Light Railway Signal Register

This page deals specifically with the Signals of the former Callington Branch railway line. Please click here for a general Introduction to the signalling of the Callington Branch, or click here for an Index of all pages in RailWest about the Callington Branch.

Mineral Railway

The East Cornwall Mineral Railway (ECMR) had a rudimentary form of signalling, which was described by JT Burge (one-time stationmaster at Templecombe station on the London & South Western Railway (L&SWR)) in an article published in the February 1908 issue of the Railway Magazine. Semaphore signals were provided at Cox's Park, Monks Corner and Kelly Bray, although Burge states that these appear to have been used only when both engines owned by the ECMR were in steam on the line at the same time! Only Distant and Home signals were provided and these were of the 3-position slotted-post variety, which Burge says were of the "customary two-wire pattern". This is presumed to have been a pattern of signal where the arm was pulled by wire both to the 'off' and 'on' positions when the lever was pulled or pushed. No photographs are known of any signals from the ECMR period.

Light Railway

During the 1908 reconstruction of the former ECMR by the Plymouth, Devonport & South Western Junction Railway (PD&SWJR) the signalling was upgraded to a suitable level for a Light Railway. Home and Starting signals were provided where required, but no Distant signals were fitted originally. Subsequently however one distant signal was installed at Gunnislake in 1938 as a result of a change in signal sighting and another was erected at Bere Alston in 1969, probably for the same reason.

From early photographs the PD&SWJR signals appear to have been lower-quadrant (LQ) arms on wooden posts similar to contemporary L&SWR practice. After 1923 the Southern Railway (SR) replaced a few signals with LQ arms on lattice posts, including the Down Branch Starting and Down Branch Advanced Starting at Bere Alston (later replaced again). Eventually the SR began to use upper-quadrant (UQ) arms on rail-built posts, although both the Down Outer Home and Down Inner Home at Calstock became rare examples of a LQ arm on a rail-built post. At some unknown date the Down Starting at Gunnislake was renewed with a concrete post, the only example known on the branch.

In British Railways (Southern Region) days the replacement programme of signals continued, using UQ arms on rail-built posts. It is believed that the last surviving original PD&SWJR signal was the Up Starting at Callington, which was replaced on 29-April-1960. As part of the layout alterations at Bere Alston in 1969 two new signals were erected there to control the movement of trains to/from the main line, and these were of the standard BR (Western Region) pattern of LQ arm on a tubular metal post. A new Up Branch Distant signal was erected at the same time (with the arm fixed at 'caution') and this probably also had a BR(WR) tubular post, but no photograph of that signal is known. In 1989 both the Up Branch Distant at Bere Alston and the Down Distant at Gunnislake were replaced by reflectorised distant boards. In 1994 another reflectorised board was provided as a temporary Down Distant at Calstock during the temporary truncation of the line there while the new station at Gunnislake was under construction.

Signal Register

This Register lists all the known signals on the Callington Branch from 1908 onwards, with details of the various changes (where known). In the case of Bere Alston only the main running signals applicable to the branch have been included. The following comments should be noted:-

Key to Signal Register Codes
C = Concrete post   AS = Signal fitted with Annett’s Shield
L = Lattice post   DB = Distant Board (reflectorised)
R = Rail-built post   FD = Fixed Distant (arm fixed at 'caution')
T = Tubular post   LQ = Lower-quadrant arm (L&SWR style)
W = Wooden post   RHS = Signal located on right-hand side of the line
    UQ = Upper-quadrant arm (SR style)
    WR = BR(WR) lower-quadrant arm
Locations Index
Bere Alston Callington Calstock Chilsworthy Gunnislake Latchley Luckett

Callington Branch Signal Register
Down Branch Starting 25   L+LQ R+UQ Replaced 13-Feb-1927 height 17.5'. Replaced again by 1962. Abolished 26-Jan-1969.
Down Branch Advanced Starting 29 --- L+LQ R+UQ Introduced 13-Feb-1927 height 20' sited 122 yards beyond DBS. Replaced by 1959. Abolished 26-Jan-1969.
Up Branch Home 30   R+UQ T+WR Replaced 24-Apr-1960 by new signal height 16' nearer to SB at 167 yards. Replaced again 26-Jan-1969 by new signal (No 14) height 14' at 124 yards east of SB.
Up Branch Distant -   ?T+FD ?+DB Introduced 26-Jan-1969 height 18' at 479 yards. Replaced by DB July 1989. Note 2
Up Home 2     R+UQ Replaced 1944 by new signal 20' high and 9 yards nearer SB.
Down Inner Home 8     R+LQ RHS (originally LHS?).
Down Outer Home 9     R+LQ RHS on top of cutting (may not have existed in 1908).
Down Distant -     ?+DB Temporary signal in 1994 for engineering works. Note 2
Down Distant - --- R+FD ?+DB Introduced 1938 with UQ-style arm, height 13.5' and 800 yards in rear of DH. Replaced by DB in July 1989 and relocated to 4m 12ch 19yds in 1994. Note 2
Down Home 1     R+UQ 28' high and RHS. Replaced 1938 height 13.5' and 146 yards nearer SB on LH side.
Down Starting 2     C+LQ  
Up Starting 9     R+UQ Replaced  8-Oct-1936 height 12.5' and 53 yards further away from SB.
Up Home 10     L+UQ  
Up Stop       W Two opposing LQ arms on one post worked locally. Slotted post, no spectacles. Removed at unknown date.
Down Stop      
Up Stop       W Believed to be the same arrangement as Chilsworthy. Removed at unknown date.
Down Stop      
Up Home         No photographs known of these signals. Removed by July 1923.
Down Home        
Down Home 1       No photograph known of this signal.
Up Starting 5     R+UQ Replaced 26-Apr-1960 height 12.5'. (Believed last original PD&SWJR signal on the branch to be replaced.)
1 The lever numbers for Bere Alston are for the ex-L&SWR signal-box after it was extended in 1927 to take over the work of the former Branch signal-box; the latter had Up Home and Down Starting signals only.
2 Mounting arrangements for distant boards are unknown, but probably consisted of two small-diameter tubular posts similar to an example here.

© CJL Osment 2002-19

Mineral Line Light Railway Signal Register