SEmG

Instow

Instow, similarly to Bideford, has seen some regeneration of its former self with track relaid in the station area and the buildings refurbished, after beating off plans for redevelopment by the local yacht club who had acquired the up platform, buildings and trackbed. The Signalbox at Instow, mid-way between Bideford and Fremington, does not date from the opening of the line but was built in 1873 to replace the former gate keeper's hut and control the level crossing gates and the passing loop at Instow station. This one-time block post for the two sections on either side was replaced in 1979 by an automatically operated crossing but managed to avoid being demolished, having been there purely to operate the crossing and its protecting signals since the abolition of the passing loop and siding in 1968.

Languishing beside the line, neglected, for several years it was saved by a group of local enthusiats, the Instow Box Emergency Repair Fund, who managed to obtain Grade II listing, the first in the UK for such a building. Ownership passed to Devon County Council and the box is now managed by the Bideford Railway Heritage Centre, and opened to the public on occasional Sundays and Bank holidays. The interior of the 'box has been restored with levers, gate wheel, instruments and etc. The up starter was restored in 1995 and connected to the frame whilst a lattice signal post was erected in the original position of the down home signal on the other side of the crossing gates in 1998, with the intention also to restore its connection to the 'box.

 
Instow The restored Signalbox at Instow. British Rail had unsuccessfully proposed its demolition once it was de-commissioned due to it "blocking the view of drivers, both of trains and cars". There had been no such problems when the 'box was operational!
Painted in Western Region colours when acquired, it is now resplendent in Southern green and cream with a fine new replica name board. The small platform in front of the 'box was for making the single line token exchange.

photograph by Glen Woods

 
The rear of Instow Signalbox. The basically wood-built structure has to have a brick chimney to house the signalman's stove, and to vent its smoke and fumes..

photograph by Glen Woods

Instow
 
Instow Looking towards Barnstaple the newly restored crossing gates make a splendid sight, though the down home signal on the other side of the road is not quite so plain to see.

photograph by Glen Woods

 
The station area and up starting signal.

photograph by Glen Woods

Instow
 
Instow A view along the station with the timeless scene of milk churns on the platform.

photograph by Glen Woods

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This page was last updated 29 June 2013

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