Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 27, 2017
Webpage updated: May 13, 2018




Friary Junction on the Sutton Harbour and North Quay Branch of the Great Western Railway was 58 chains from Laira Junction, with a ruling gradient of 1 in 1071 falling, and 3 miles 3 chains from Plymouth Station (Millbay) via Lipson Junction and the Plymouth Number 1 Curve to Mount Gould Junction.  It was  officially 244 miles 60 chains Mile Post mileage from London Paddington Station via Bristol Temple Meads.  In the Up direction it was 1 mile 3 chains from Sutton Harbour.

GWR 2116 passes through Friary Junction with  freight
train for the Sutton Harbour Branch, 1925.
  F H C Casbourn/Stephenson Locomotive Society.

Friary Junction Signal Box, which measured 19 feet 9 inches by 12 feet, was opened by the Great Western Railway Company in around 1895 as a replacement for a small, 16-lever Tothill Crossing Signal Box, where the lane entered The Embankment.  This new box had 21 levers, some spare, and controlled the level crossing, the Exchange Siding with the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway, and the junction with the London and South Western Railway Company's main line to Friary Station.  The Box, which was situated on the Up side, was 440 yards from Mount Gould Junction Signal Box and 924 yards from Plymouth Friary "A" Signal Box.

The levers for the Distant Signals for the Sutton Harbour Branch were disconnected in 1919 as Distant Signals were not exactly required in this situation and the signals were fixed at Caution.  In 1921 the Exchange Siding was taken out of use, reducing the number of working levers still further.  A plan in 1921 to merge the Friary Junction and Mount Gould Junction signal boxes was dropped.  The line to Northey's Siding was singled in November 1936.

As from August 19th 1938 Friary Junction Signal Box was worked by one of two Southern Railway Company Porter/Signalmen based at Friary Station.  The hours of working were reduced from 12 hours 35 minutes to three separate periods totaling 1 hour 45 minutes per day just to cover the freight trains from Laira to Sutton Harbour. 

In 1957 Friary Junction Signal Box, which was 440 yards from Mount Gould Junction Signal Box, was open on weekdays as required.  The Box was provided with a closing switch.

Friary Junction Signal Box was closed on or as from September 29th 1959.  It was replaced by a ground frame unlocked from Mount Gould Junction Signal Box.


  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.