A History of Ashburton Signalling.
The original facilities provided at Ashburton were a platform road with 300ft passenger platform and 80ft train shed, a goods shed with loading bank and 2 ton crane, a loop with siding to enable locomotives to run round and providing covered siding space under the train shed roof, although there was no platform on the loop siding until later in it history. There was also an engine shed with 23ft 6in turntable. The signalling, in line with the other stations on the line, consisted of a home signal (190yrds from the facing points) and a platform starter. These signals were controlled by two levers on the platform and were not interlocked with each other but the home signal would most likely have been ‘wire’ locked with the facing point at the throat of the station.

The signalling and layout at Ashburton had only a few minor changes through out the life of the branch.
In 1882 the catch points for the goods road were moved and extended to Tucker’s Malt house, the new siding primarily being for Tucker’s traffic although legally it was not a private siding. It is possible that at this same time a 2-lever ground frame was also installed concentrating the control of the points for the loop and the goods siding but it was certainly in place by the late 1890’s. Also in 1890 the goods siding and loading bank were extended by 40ft to 90ft, this was most likely in connection with increased mineral traffic from near by umber mines.
In 1911 the GWR decided to upgrade the signalling and interlocking at Ashburton along with that of Staverton, the payment was authorised on the same day (25th May 1911) for an estimate of £440. This scheme would have seen the layout unaltered, with the installation of a 16-lever frame ‘box, new signals, facing point locks and the layout finally interlocked.

The scheme then had some amendments put forward which improve the station layout by putting a second connection to the Tucker’s siding enabling the abolishment of “tow roping”, and to provide cattle pens and platform. The second, revised plan was approved by the Traffic Committee on the 9th January 1913 with an estimated cost of £812. The ‘box was ordered from the GWR Reading signalling workshops on the 18th February 1913 and was actually built. It was an 18-lever stud frame box but the outbreak of war prevented the box from ever reaching Ashburton and was in fact used as a temporary box at Reading West Junction in 1915. The Ashburton Signal Box nameplate was ordered along with the box and was delivered to the station and found in the engine shed in the 1960’s it is now on display in the museum at Buckfastleigh Station. However the cattle pens and platform were built and the turn table was removed at a similar time.
The cattle pens and platform were soon found to be inadequate and in 1928 the platform was extended under the train shed giving the appearance that Ashburton had two passenger platforms. Around 1925 the 2 lever ground frame was replaced by a 3 lever ground frame on which the working of the home signal was added. Other than extending the loop by moving its point further south at some point around 1930 no other major alterations were made to the station or it’s layout.