Scotland can boast a splendid signalling legacy, ranging from the two large and listed boxes at Stirling (Stirling Middle and Stirling North) to the numerous listed, though redundant, boxes along the West Highland Line, but what must be among the very finest survivors north of the border is the 1911 North British Railway (NBR) box at Arbroath, formerly known, and still identified, as Arbroath North.
This impressive box can easily be seen from the platform ends at the north end of the station, but can also be viewed at close quarters only a short walk from the station, at the level crossing it controls. From here it is well worth walking through the car park of a large Morrisons superstore to a bridge over the line on the A933 road.
Unlike the station building, which was not considered worthy of listing, Arbroath North Signal Box has a number of unique features, as cited in the reasons for its listing in the Scottish Signal Box Review (2012-13). It is a variation on what is known as a NBR Type 7 box, which was designed specifically its location, where additional height was required to obtain good views of the rail traffic.
The citation goes on to point out that: “it is the only signal box in the country with an oversailing signal cabin supported on metal brackets projecting toward the track. The prominent location beside a level crossing and its and group value with the adjacent cast-iron pedestrian bridge add to the interest.”
A helpfully low parapet to the A933 bridge – seen above on 7 March 2017 as 170410 departs with the 15.24 service to Aberdeen – gives an uninterrupted view north where you can see the down advanced starter (AH45) – another lattice post – alongside a tall up home signal (AH15), with a small shunting arm (AH19) alongside it.
Venture another 300 yards up a residential street called Ogilvy Place and you come to another footbridge, from where you get a great view of the up home and the lines heading into the station, while looking north beyond the end of a redundant siding there is an up outer home signal. Here 170403 approaches Arbroath on 7 March 2017, with a service from Aberdeen to Glasgow Queens Street.
Back at the station, and similar to nearby Stonehaven, the up starter AH16 is another short lattice post – seen here as Virgin Trains East Coast HST, formed of power cars 43272/257 departs on 7 March 2017 with the 15.49 service to London King’s Cross – while other station signal is its down starter (AH47).