Plus parts of the South Hams and West Devon

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: April 21, 2018
Webpage updated: February 24, 2022




Cattewater Junction Signal Box, 1962.
Mr John J Smith/Bluebell Railway Museum.

When in 1879 the London and South Western Railway Company took over the operation of the railway that had been built under the authority of the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway (Plymouth Extensions) Act 1875, it ran straight from Friary Goods Yard to the Cattewater.  It was not until the London and South Western Railway Company opened their line to Pomphlett Station, later Plymstock Station, to passenger trains on September 5th 1892 that there was a need for some points where the Cattewater Branch left what was now the main line.  These were controlled by a ground frame released by an Annett's key attached to the Friary to Plymstock staff.  The so-called "main line" subsequently became the Turnchapel Branch.

It was the coming of the Great Western Railway Company's line from Plymstock Station to Yealmpton Station that brought about the need for a proper Signal Box at the Cattewater Junction.  In order for them to be able to get access to their line via the LSWR to Plymstock Station they had to build a new connecting  line between Mount Gould Junction Signal Box, on the Sutton Harbour Branch, and Cattewater Junction Signal Box, which required extra points and signals.    The London and South Western Railway Company agreed to construct a new signal box at the expense of the Great Western Railway Company.  It was brought into operation on January 13th 1898 and it was always regarded as a "Southern" (i.e. Southern Railway Company or Southern Region of British Railways) Signal Box.

Cattewater Junction Signal Box was 75 chains from Friary Station and originally had 37 levers, of which only 29 were in use.  The Junction was simplified in September 1922 and the total number of active levers reduced to 14 out of a frame of 25.  In June 1938 lever 15 was put in to use when switching-out apparatus was installed to enable the Box to be switched out once traffic on the Cattewater Branch had ceased for the day.  The late Larry Crosier (1929-2010) relates in his book "Mechanical Signalling in Plymouth" that because of extra trains being required on the Cattewater Branch during the artificial manure season, it was often necessary for the signalmen at the adjoining Boxes of Plymouth Friary "A" and Plymstock to have to stay on duty with nothing to do until gone midnight before they could carry out the switching out procedure with the Cattewater Junction signalman.

In 1957,when the Cattewater Junction Signal Box was 1,004 yards from Mount Gould Junction Signal Box, the Box was open between 6.20am and 9pm on weekdays only. 

Cattewater Junction Signal Box was closed on or as from October 1st 1963.


892 With grateful acknowledgement to the late Mr Laurence 'Larry' William Crosier (1929-2010) of the Great Western Railway Company (1943-1947);
British Railways (1948-c1994); the Plymouth Railway Circle, the Lee Moor Tramway Preservation Society, and the Signalling Record Society.