FARSAP film archive

Northenden Junction signal box

The latest additions to the Film Archive of Railway Signalling and People (FARSAP) can now be viewed. These films have proved to be very popular when details were posted on several Facebook signalling groups. The star of the show this time has been the signal box at Northenden Junction on the route between Altrincham and Stockport Edgeley Junction. As you can see from the picture it is a very tall eyrie of a box which has an 1881 Cheshire Lines Committee 25-lever frame and, to reach it from ground level, a long internal staircase with 42 steps. In the feedback, signallers who worked there in the past talked of lowering the single line token over a pulley using a long piece of rope with a home-made hook at the end so that train drivers could easily reach out and get the token. They also talk of the box having the smallest toilet in the world and some very fit rats which climbed the 42 steps. Several stressed the importance of checking they had everything to hand when coming on duty as you didn’t want to negotiate those steps more than was necessary. Some spoke of leaning a plank of wood against the ground-level door at nights so that any out-of-hours visitors opening the door would displace the plank and the noise would wake you up and, it is said, give you plenty of time to get out of your sleeping bag! One signaller rebuilt and re-assembled his rally car engine in the box between trains - and l