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By Russell Hollowood on

Britain’s busiest signal box – Restored

Borough Market Junction signal box is getting ready to undergo significant conservation work.

Today, Friday 9th August, work began on restoring ‘Britain’s Busiest Signal Box’ to display condition. Over the next three weeks rotten wood will be cut out, new lap boarding applied and the whole structure given three coats of wood friendly paint.

borough market
© National Railway Museum
borough market 002
© National Railway Museum
borough market 002
© National Railway Museum

The effect on Borough Market Junction was to create Britain’s busiest signal box as service density and the resulting time gaps between trains passing over the junction massively increased. With traffic peaking at 89 trains an hour, Borough Market Junction often required two signallers to keep the trains moving. It all ended in 1976, when the box was de-commissioned and brought to York.

Today, as part of the ongoing restoration project, the Museum is interested to hear from people who have memories of working in, maintaining or driving trains past this historic signal box. If you have memories to share please contact

7 comments on “Britain’s busiest signal box – Restored

  1. Wish I’d seen it, but didn’t start using this line into London regularly until 1979. In fact I didn’t know there was a box here.

  2. I used to drive trains regularly pass Borough Market when I was based at Grove park Depot.

  3. I became aware of this location when making a series of trips between Glasgow and Sevenoaks in May 1970, since when (and from a Railwayman’s point of view) learning of the level of traffic being worked through it; phenomenal stuff!

  4. My father used to work in this box – and I remember waiting at the foot of the stairs for him to finish a shift! I am visiting the NRM next week and so looking forward to seeing it again

    1. Hi Sue,

      Did you wait at the street level?


      Russell Hollowood

      BA(Hons), MA, AMA+, Dip CW (Inst.CW)

      Associate Curator of Railways

      National Railway Museum

      Leeman Road


      YO26 4XJ

      Tel: +44 (0) 1904 686 244

  5. Worked in this signal box on my very first day as an electrical apprentice for British Railways Aug1964 helping to install a fire detection system. Good memories.

  6. As a Commuter to Charing Cross in the 1960s, I travelled through the Junction twice a day Monday to Friday.
    You wouldn’t put your head out of the window in those days as it was a very tight fit when trains passed each other,

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