Signal box, possibly 1887-9, by the South Eastern Railway Company on the Maidstone and Strood Railway (now known as the Medway Valley Line). Porch added in the C20 (which is not of special interest).
Reasons for Designation
Cuxton Signal Box, a South Eastern Railway Signal Box, on the Maidstone and Strood Railway (now known as the Medway Valley Line) and probably constructed in the late 1887-9, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Intactness: exterior unaltered except for a small later porch extension;
* Survival of operating equipment: contains a South Eastern Railway 7'' Brady Lever Frame, possibly of 1892 and some train control instruments including the bell for the up line, a commutator and a track indicator;
* Group value: it is adjacent to a Gothic-style 1856 railway station.
From the 1840s, huts or cabins were provided for men operating railway signals. These were often located on raised platforms containing levers to operate the signals and in the early 1860s, the fully glazed signal box, initially raised high on stilts to give a good view down the line, emerged. The interlocking of signals and points, perhaps the most important single advance in rail safety, patented by John Saxby in 1856, was the final step in the evolution of railway signalling into a form recognisable today. Signal boxes were built to a great variety of different designs and sizes to meet traffic needs by signalling contractors and the railway companies themselves.
Signal box numbers peaked at around 12,000-13,000 for Great Britain just prior to the First World War and successive economies in working led to large reductions in their numbers from the 1920s onwards. British Railways inherited around 10,000 in 1948 and numbers dwindled rapidly to about 4000 by 1970. In 2012, about 750 remained in use; it was anticipated that most would be rendered redundant over the next decade.
Cuxton Signal Box was built for the South Eastern Railway to its own design. It is was built on the Maidstone and Strood Railway (now known as the Medway Valley Line). The design was introduced in the early 1870s and examples continued to be built until the First World War. Although Cuxton Signal Box's opening date is not known, it is similar in appearance to other signal boxes erected on the Elham Valley line between Canterbury and Folkestone in 1887-9 and could well date from the same time. It does not appear on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1872 but is shown on the Second Edition map of 1896. It retains an SER 7'' Brady Lever Frame possibly of 1892. The porch is a later addition.
DATE: possibly 1887-9, designed by and for the South Eastern Railway. Porch added in C20 (not of special interest).
MATERIALS: timber-framed, clad in horizontal weatherboarding with hipped slate roof.
EXTERIOR: two storeys with four vertically-sliding sash windows with vertical glazing bars and horns to the front or north-west elevation and one similar on the south-west and north-east end elevations. There is an iron access balcony supported on cast iron brackets underneath the windows. Access to the operating room is via a flight of wooden steps at the north-east end and through a later weatherboarded porch. A plain access door located under the porch gives access to the locking room.
INTERIOR: includes a boarded ceiling and walls. Equipment includes a South Eastern Railway 7'' Brady Lever Frame possibly of 1892, originally with 29 levers (some now removed) and some train control instruments including the bell for the up line, a commutator and a track indicator.