Closure of Barry signal box marks the end of an era

Barry And District News: END OF AN ERA: The Barry signal box closed for the last time on Friday, June 27 (Pic: Dinas Powys Pictures) END OF AN ERA: The Barry signal box closed for the last time on Friday, June 27 (Pic: Dinas Powys Pictures)

THE SIGNAL box at Barry town railway station closed for the last time in its 117 year history last week.

The signal box, located at the end of the platform, will now be demolished in the next few weeks.

Following resignalling work, all the old semaphore signals that it controlled are now redundant so there is no need for a box and the levers it uses to control the signals and points.

All the modern signalling is controlled from Cardiff, with the closing down of the signal box being done in anticipation of the forthcoming electrification of the line.

Barry-born Michael Baker, 48, has admired the signal box for many years and finally had the opportunity to step inside it and fulfil a boyhood dream by pulling the levers before it was closed for good last Friday, June 27.

“It’s a very sad day for us trainspotters,” he said.

“I'm appalled that this wonderful piece of Barry history will soon be demolished."

The grand box survived as a monument to Evans, O'Donnell & Co, who were the contractors that built the box, as two cast iron plates are mounted on the front of the box with their name on it.

When it first opened it was provided with a 117 lever frame, although this was replaced by a standard GWR frame in 1957, which was more recently shortened to 77 levers.

The area, which was the hub of the Barry Railway network, was originally controlled by a number of boxes, but today the box controls all that is left.

Until the closure of the other boxes, this one carried the name Barry Station.

Until 1895, Saxby & Farmer supplied the Barry railway's signalling equipment, but a switch was made to Evans & O'Donnell.

The design of the box is unusual - it is not a standard Evans, O'Donnell & Co. product, but appears to have been "lifted" from the Great Eastern Railway standard box of the 1884 to 1889 period.

At 9.30pm on Friday, June 27, it was all over. The box will soon be demolished and will sadly just be history and a distant memory to those that knew it.

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