A History of Staverton Signalling.
Records of the original signalling at Staverton are not well recorded, it is believed that the original arrangements would have been similar to the other stations on the line and inline with the South Devon Railway’s practices of the time.
In 1887 the OS map shows two signals, one for each direction of travel, both were located approximately 220yrds from the level crossing. One can guess that this is highly likely to have been the original arrangement from the opening of the line. The signals would have been operated from two levers on the platform, as there was no signal box, this was common practice at the time with a lot of stations in South Devon. There is a picture below showing one of these levers, possible the down signal, at Staverton in 1904. The down signal was almost certainly wire locked with the goods siding points, the same as other facing points on the line.
On opening, Staverton was not a block post, but having a level crossing it is likely that it had a block indicator instrument, for the Totnes - Buckfastleigh Block section, so the station staff new when a train was in section and could keep a watch out to open the gates as necessary.
A lack of records for the 1890’s would appear to suggest that no significant changes to the signalling occurred during this period although Staverton was made a block post at some point around 1900.
In this picture, can be seen the signal lever mounted on the platform, posing with the lever is the Stationmaster Edwin Bartlett. The gentleman with the white beard is the retired Stationmaster Richard Tope and next to him is Signal Porter Harry Maynard. On the far left of the picture is a Dart fisherman.
This picture is part of the Staverton Preservation Group collection.
A scheme was put forward in 1907 for an extension of the goods siding and to interlock the station but nothing came of this until 1911 when the GWR Traffic Committee authorized a scheme, estimated at £460, to bring the station signalling inline with up to date practices. The signal box was ordered in October 1911 but did not open until the 20th November 1912, the whole station was re-signalled and the existing signals replaced. The new box controlled the new signals, the goods sidings points and facing point lock and locked the gates over the mainline. The new signals installed were a Home, Starter and Distant signal in each direction, the Distant signals were working signals until 1923 when they were made fixed. The up Home signal was taken out of use at the same time leaving the box with three spare levers.

No other notable changes happened with the signalling until 1956 when the station ceased to be a block post with the introduction of one engine in steam working. The box and signals remained in use up to two weeks after the closure of the branch passenger service when all the signals, bar the fixed distants protecting the crossing, were taken out of use and the crossing became worked by the train crew. The goods siding remained in situ but was also taken out of use.

The collection of images below were taken on the 28th May 1965 after the abolition of the signals and signal boxes. They are part of the Staverton Preservation Group collection.
The above picture is looking down the platform towards Totnes, the picture below is taken from next to the station building also looking toward Totnes. In both pictures can be seen the Up Starter Signal post, minus its arm, just to the right of the crossing gate. Also note the missing signal box. The Station has clearly been neglected for some time!
These pictures are part of the Staverton Preservation Group collection.
Above, another picture looking towards Totnes, taken from the other side of the crossing gates, you can just make out the Down Home Signal post in the center right of the photo.

Below, looking back towards Buckfastleigh and the station, the Down Home Signal post can be seen to the left of the picture.
These pictures are part of the Staverton Preservation Group collection.
When the Dart Valley Railway started operating the line the signal posts were all still in place but missing their arms, this made life easier for the railway to re-instate the signalling. The signal box had been removed having been purchased by a local Vicar for use in his garden as a green house, after a suitable replacement was found, he was more than happy to have the 'box returned to its original task.

To be continued…