Plus parts of East Cornwall and West Devon

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: June 02, 2018
Webpage updated: May 03, 2019

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The first Devonport Signal Box at the terminus of the London and South Western Railway Company's new line from Lydford up the Great Western Railway Company's Launceston Branch via Marsh Mills Station was inspected by the Board of Trade on March 1st 1876 and failed because a set of facing points on the Down main line, which at that time was from the Plymouth direction, were about 270 yards from the signal box, which was considered too far.  The Inspector required them to be connected to a much nearer ground frame, locked with the signal box, and with facing  point locks as well.  After alterations, the Box was duly opened on May 17th 1876.

When the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Railway Company constructed their new line from Lydford Station, via Bere Alston and Ford, this completely changed things at Devonport for Stonehouse Station.  From 1891 the Down trains entered from the tunnel at the western end of the Station and trains from North Road Plymouth Station became Up trains.  The signal box was then said to contain 29 levers but a ground frame was added to the western end of the station layout to control the crossover and two ground signals that had been installed at that end.  An additional set of points put in in 1903 linked the Down platform line with the adjacent siding.

In 1904 the branch to Stonehouse Pool was to be used by passenger trains from the new Ocean Terminal to London Waterloo so the point work had to have facing point locks and other safety features.  This increased the signal frame from 29 to 37 levers.  In 1911 the London and South Western Railway Company gave up Ocean expresses after a serious accident at Salisbury Station in Wiltshire but the locking remained in situ right to the very end of the Stonehouse Pool Branch.

On September 26th 1949 both the Signal Box and the Station were renamed Devonport King's Road Signal Box and Station.  The Box was reduced to 36 levers in 1950.

In 1957, when Devonport King's Road Signal Box was 2 miles 943 yards from Saint Budeaux Victoria Road Signal Box, it was open continuously from 1.25am on Monday mornings until 1.25am on the following Sunday mornings.  During Sundays itself, the Box was open between 8.20am and 10.45am; 11.35am until 1pm; 2.50pm until 8pm; and between 9.15pm and 10.40pm.  Devonport King's Road Signal Box was just 1,122 yards to Devonport Junction Signal Box, which was open continuously.

In November 1960 the Box became a fringe Box for the new Plymouth Panel Box but the line to Ford Station, Saint Budeaux Victoria Road Station and onwards to Okehampton was closed in 1964 and the Devonport King's Road Signal Box finally closed on March 14th 1965.

The Signalling Regulations required that the "Is Line Clear?" for Up trains to Tavistock was passed on to Saint Budeaux Victoria Road Signal Box as soon as received from Devonport Junction Signal Box but that the same code for Down trains towards North Road Plymouth Station was sent only when the train was ready to start from the platform or the goods yard.


  With grateful acknowledgement to the late Mr Laurence 'Larry' William Crosier (1929-2010) of the Great Western Railway Company (1943-1947);
British Railways (1948-c1994); the Plymouth Railway Circle, the Lee Moor Tramway Preservation Society, and the Signalling Record Society.