Structure / Site Summary for 290840

Long Meg Sidings Signal Box (1955 - 2013)

Long Meg Sidings Signal Box: Eastern elevation view

Key details from the SCRCA Structure Record

Brief description: Long Meg Sidings Signal Box (1955 - 2013)

Assessment status: Assessed

Location 1 - Rail-miles: 290

Location 2 - Chains: 70.00

Location 3 - Position relative to main running lines (tracks): Down

Is a structure of this type shown at this location on the MR 1911 landplan?: No

Construction / installation period: BR

Current Use: Demolished

Visibility: Part-visible

Accessibility (ease of access): Moderate


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Knowledge Base

  • The signal box on this site opened on July 3rd, 1955, replacing a number of earlier ground-frames and signal boxes in different locations.
     
  • It ceased to be used on a regular basis from around 1975, although it was opened for one day of WCML diversions on November 17th, 1983. It was closed permanently at some point after the latter date.
     
  • Network Rail lodged a Planing Application with Eden District Council on 4th September 2012 requesting permission to demolish the structure (Planning Application Number 12/0781).
    Further information regarding this planning application can be found in this
    'note'.
     
  • On 7th November 2012 Eden District Council decided to GRANT conservation area consent for the demolition of this structure subject to work commencing within three years of the decision date.
     
  • The structure was demolished during the second half of January 2013 and all that remained on 31st January 2013 was a newly levelled area of ground marking its former site.

Primary / Secondary References

There is no signal box or other structure marked at this location. A signal box is shown a little further north on the 'up' side at 290 miles 74 chains - see Structure ID 290930.

The structure is visible in part 3 at position 1:14:07. The south elevation and an oblique view of the east elevation are clearly visible, albeit at low-quality due to train movement. The structure is already in poor condition: the steps have gone (removed or collapsed?), the windows are without glazing and the woodwork is deteriorating. The lamp hut is still in-situ to the south of the coal bunker.

Figure 65 is the trackplan for Long Meg Sidings from a Midland Railway Survey of 1912 and this shows a signal box on the 'Up' side to the north of the siding turnout (see SCRCA Structure 290930).

Figure 66 is the trackplan based on an LMS landplan dated 1927 and no signal box is shown - the caption states that the sidings were controlled via a "covered lever stage (ground-frame)" at this period.

Plate 174 is a photograph of Long Meg signalbox at about the turn of the 20th century. These illustrations and the associated captions offer interesting contextual / background information for the Long Meg Sidings area, but they are not directly relevant to this structure (ID 290840).

Figure 67 shows the trackplan based on a BR proposal dated 1953 and this shows the proposed location of what became structure 290840.

Plates 175 and 176 are interesting contextual photographs of the Long Meg Sidings area in 1963 and 1964 - i.e. within the operational period of this structure (ID 290840).

Plate 177 shows this structure (ID 290840) and its associated lamp hut from the south in September 1963. The caption states that the signal box began operational life on 3rd July 1955. It also gives measurements for the structure, details of the lever frame and brief details of the structure's closure in 1983.

Figure 68 is the signalling diagram for 1955 - i.e. shortly after the construction of this structure (ID 290840).

Plate 177 is a view of Long Meg signal box in September 1963.

It was brought into use on 3 July 1955 and measured 28ft 4in x 13ft 10in x 10ft, was of brick/timber composite construction and had a 40 lever standard 1943 pattern 6in centre frame.
The box remained in use until 1983, surviving the withdrawal of facilities to the mines by some eight years.  The box was opened for one day on 17 November 1983 to allow for diversionary working, following a mishap on the West Coast Main Line.  

The following is a direct extract from page 186 of Gough, John: "The Midland Railway - A Chronology", 2nd edition, published by The Railway and Canal Historical Society (1989):

"Long Meg Sidings GF replaced by a signalbox: 3.7.1955 // Closed [no date given]"


Notes / additional information

On 4th September 2012, Network Rail submitted Planning Application Number 12/0781 to Eden District Council requesting permission to demolish Long Meg Sidings signal box (this structure) and the nearby platelayers’ hut (Structure ID 290970) citing the following as their reason:

"The structures have been disused since the 1980s and are now in a very poor condition (completely stripped and vandalised apart from the LMR lever frame which, having been open to the elements for so long, is not worth re-use by Network Rail or offering to preservation bodies). Both now present a maintenance liability to Network Rail and their condition is to the detriment of the character and appearance of the S&C line."

The following documents were uploaded with the application:

The Public Consultation Period ran from 20 Sep to 18 Oct 2012.

The FoSCL Committee submitted a formal response supporting the application to demolish both structures. The full text of the FoSCL response was as follows:

"Network Rail have stated in their application that: 'The Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line have been consulted and approve of Network Rail's intentions to demolish the structures.'  While this is true of Long Meg signal box, we have no record of having been consulted over the demolition of the platelayers' hut. We would stress that, as a group who are concerned to preserve the heritage of the Settle-Carlisle Line wherever possible, we can only approve of the demolition of any structure in exceptional circumstances.  In this case the fact that Long Meg signal box is of fairly recent construction (ca 1955), is derelict and an eyesore means that in our view an exception can be made in this case.  In future we would expect to seek the preservation of 19th century signal boxes when they cease to be operational. In the case of the platelayers' hut, we are in this case not raising an objection but must state that this in no way should be seen as a precedent for the demolition of any other such huts.  The hut to be demolished here is again of fairly recent red-brick construction, is not unique and has in our view no great historical value.  We would wish to see most other huts along the line preserved."

A member of FoSCL's SCRCA team submitted a personal response in the form of an "observation" (i.e. it neither supported, nor objected to Network Rail's Application) with the following objectives:

  1. To request justification for the application (very little was provided on the Application Form or in the form of supporting information uploaded to the EDC website).
     
  2. To provide the EDC Planning Dept. with photographs of, and background information on, the 13 remaining signalboxes.
     
  3. To request that the potential "group value" of the thirteen remaining signalboxes be investigated prior to any decision being made.

As a result of this "observation", the following additional information was provided by Network Rail to support their claim that the structures were in poor condition and that they would not be suitable for re-use:

A copy of English Heritage research report no 28-2012 "Railway Signal Boxes: A Review" was also provided, with Network Rail pointing-out that the Long Meg signal box was not included in the list of signal boxes recommended for listing.

It is not known if the potential "group value" of the thirteen remaining signal boxes was investigated.

On 7th November 2012 Eden District Council decided the matter under delegated powers, the decision being to GRANT conservation area consent for the demolition of this structure subject to work commencing within three years of the decision date.

The structure was demolished during the second half of January 2013 and all that remained on 31st January 2013 was a newly levelled area of ground marking its former site.


Structure Location Map

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