This 92-Year-Old Tube Signal Cabin Is Still In Use... But It Won't Make It To 100

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 6 months ago
This 92-Year-Old Tube Signal Cabin Is Still In Use... But It Won't Make It To 100

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With its pioneering use of contactless, and real-time travel information, London's transport network is rightly heralded as one of the world's most forward-thinking. But dinosaurs lurk in in its midst. Like this signal cabin at Edgware Road, which is over 92 years old.

Mmm, lovely old buttons and lights

Introduced into service 10 October 1926, the positively art deco beast is the kind of setup you'd expect to find in the London Transport Museum. A satisfyingly hunk of vintage gadgetry, it has 38 levers with approximately 3,250 lever movements.

When a lever was a lever

It's the kind of thing you'd expect to find in the London Transport Museum. But, although it was due to be decommissioned in 2016, this old warhorse is battling on.

The equipment, back when it was state-of-the-art

It will not be receiving a 100th birthday card from the Queen, though. The signal cabin is now expected to be decommissioned this July — replaced by the all-digital system, at Hammersmith Control Centre, which hopes to see Circle line trains running up to a third more frequently.

Few would know of the history hidden away in this unsuspecting cabin

What's to become of the old cabin? It'll be listed, and likely moved either to London Transport Museum, or the museum's Acton Depot.

Some of this equipment looks like the inside of a world war two era plane

Another possibility is that it will remain in situ, and open to the public, for special tours.

Here's a video we made about the signal box, in 2016:

Two other retiring signal boxes

Baker Street's signal cabin: also not long for this world

Hammersmith's signal box, which opened in June 1951 (the same time the Festival of Britain was going on) was decommissioned in March 2019. It's to be converted into an office, while the parts are moved to Acton Depot (not as display objects, but as spare parts: stations like Rickmansworth still use this equipment).

Baker Street's signal cabin is a relative newcomer — only opening in the 1980s. Part of it (Finchley Road-Euston Square) will be decommissioned summer 2019, and it'll be fully decommissioned in 2021.

All photos © TfL

Last Updated 15 May 2019