Celebrating the humble signal box
13 August 2014
As advances in technology signal the end for the humble box, Historic Scotland,
in partnership with Network Rail, undertook a review of the nation’s surviving structures. The results
were used to compile the new booklet, featuring images of some of the best surviving and most recognizable
signal boxes, as well as an overview of how these buildings have been used over the centuries.
Elizabeth McCrone, Historic Scotland’s Head of Listing said: “These purpose-built
buildings are found in our towns and cities as well as some of the most picturesque parts of the countryside.
To many they are much-loved and instantly recognisable remnants of the bygone era of steam travel, as
unmistakable in the landscape as lighthouses.”
“Some of these boxes have been in operation since the 1870s but, sadly, many of
them will become obsolete in the near future. By reviewing them for listing we hoped we could help them
receive some of the recognition they richly deserve. This wonderful little booklet will certainly appeal
to railway and history enthusiasts but it’s so accessible that it should also be appreciated by a much
The review was undertaken as the modernisation of signalling systems means most
boxes in Britain will be phased out over the next 15-30 years, with the current 74 Scottish boxes being
consolidated into two modern signalling centres.
The booklet features stunning images and information on signal boxes across the
country, including Aberdour, Arbroath, Biggar, Boat of Garten, Bridge of Allan, Clachnaharry, Edinburgh
Waverley West, Glenfinnan, Nairn, Stirling, and Upper Tyndrum.
The booklet is available free online http://issuu.com/hspubs/docs/signal_boxes
(page turning format), or the PDF can be downloaded from our website www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/signal-boxes.pdf
Notes for editors:
- Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government
charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish
Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.
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