Settle Station Signal Box opened on the 12th of April 1891. It is a standard timber-built "Midland type 2a" design measuring 12’6 x 11’6 x 8'0 and it was manufactured in kit form at the Midland Railway Company's signalling workshops in Derby. It was closed for operational purposes on the 13th of May 1984 and lay derelict for more than a decade. The signal box is still owned by Network Rail, but it is classed as a 'non-operational heritage asset'. It was given to the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line "on long-term loan" in June 1997, with the proviso that the structure be re-sited and restored.
To allow the redevelopment of the former goods yard, and to facilitate safe access to the structure during and after restoration, the signal box was moved approximately 150 yards north from its original position beside the goods shed (since demolished) to its current location at the south end of the southbound platform. Before the box could be moved, Listed Building consent and planning consent had to be obtained from Craven District Council, the external staircase had to be removed, and specially-designed temporary steel braces had to be fitted to all four sides to ensure that the structure remained rigid throughout the relocation procedure. The move itself took place during a scheduled 'full-line possession' on the night of 14th / 15th June 1997. A 90-ton road crane was used to lift the signal box onto six rail-mounted trolleys (three on the 'up' line and three on the 'down' line). This unusual item of 'rail freight' was then pushed up the 1-in-200 gradient by a small group of FoSCL Volunteers - a task that proved to be more difficult than anticipated. The distance between the two running lines in this area was supposed to be a constant six-feet, but in reality the distance narrowed slightly making the fixed wheelbase load increasingly difficult to push. Fortunately, the volunteers were able to overcome the increasing resistance and the structure was successfully lifted onto its newly-prepared concrete base by the road crane.
The signal box has since been fully restored thanks to grants and donations totaling more than £14,000 plus a great deal of volunteer time and effort. It still contains its original 20-lever 'tumbler' locking frame, although the Midland Railway Company converted the frame from 'tumbler' to 'tappet' interlocking during (or sometime after) 1909. Unfortunately, at some point between the box's closure in 1984 and its relocation in 1997, all of the interlocking components were stripped from the frame and their current whereabouts are not known. However, replacement 'tappet' interlocking components have been obtained and installed for ten of the levers and this allows the operation of the box to be demonstrated to visitors. Visitors are also encouraged to have a go at pulling these levers and observing the resulting changes to the adjacent heritage signals, etc..
Settle Station Signal Box was granted Grade II listed status on 14-Aug-2013.
For views of the interior of the signal box, see
Additional photographs of the signal box are available in the SCRCA Location Summary for this structure.
You can find about the working life of a Signaller on the Settle and Carlisle Line by listen to Derek Soames (who was a relief signaller at Long Preston, Settle Junction and Settle Station) via the following link, courtesy of Long Preston Oral History Heritage Society:
Settle Station Signal Box is now run as a small working museum dedicated to mechanical-era railway signalling on the Settle-Carlisle Railway. It is staffed and maintained by a small group of dedicated FoSCL volunteers and it is open to the public MOST Saturdays between 10am and 4pm. The exceptions are:
- the two Saturdays closest to Christmas Day and New Year's Day (to give our volunteers a well-earned festive break);
- any Saturdays when Settle station is not being served by any scheduled rail passenger services (e.g. due to line closures, strike action, etc.); and (very occasionally)
- any Saturdays when there is a shortage of available volunteers (e.g. due to illness).
If you want to check if we'll be open on a specific date, or if you'd like to arrange a special individual or group visit, you can do so via the general 'Contact us' facility or by using the following e-mail address: [email protected].
Admission to the signal box is free, but donations will be gratefully received to help cover the costs associated with running and maintaining this fragile old building.
- Gaining access to the signal box involves climbing / descending the steep and narrow external staircase that is visible in the photograph on this page. Unfortunately, this means that there is no wheelchair access to the signal box.
- Toilet facilities are provided at the railway station: visitors to the signal box may use these facilities if desired.
- A small pay-and-display car park is provided at the railway station, but this is intended solely for the use of rail travellers. There are, however, several public pay-and display car-parks in the nearby town centre.
- The signal box has excellent rail connections from the adjacent Settle Station (part of the UK's National Rail Network). Information regarding the train service can be obtained from the National Rail Enquiries website.
For a brief article explaining the purpose and historical development of signal boxes, see "What are railway signal boxes and why are they necessary?".)