1 thought on “Greatham Signal Box

  1. I photographed Greatham Signal Box in March 1986, when it was a fully functioning, and beautifully kept and maintained British Railways working signal box controlling the safe movement of all the trains on the coast line between Stockton, Billingham, Hartlepool and Sunderland. But living on the South Coast, it is some time since I was last on Teeside. To see the recent picture posted by Michael Thompson of the sad state the box has been reduced to, came as a bit of a shock. However, like every one of our classic signal boxes in Britain, we have to recognise that their days are numbered.

    To add a bit more of explanation to the notes Michael put with the picture.
    The North Eastern Railway was an enormous and very profitable railway company, with its main line from Leeds and Doncaster to Berwick on Tweed but with tentacles reaching across to Carlisle, just into Scotland and over the Pennines into Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales. And until the early 1960s, some of the most scenic railways of Britain.

    Because of its enormous mileage, the North Eastern Railway was divided into three ‘Divisions’ ; Northern Division – north of Stockton, Central Division – the old Stockton and Darlington lines and Southern Division – Hull, Whitby, York – Scarborough. Each division had its own responsibilty for signalling and each division had very different designs of signal box (which altered over the years) until the entire NER was taken over by the LNER at the ‘Grouping’ in 1923. However, the Central Division was abolished in 1899 and its signalling requirements were split between the other two. For this reason there are very few NER ‘Central Division’ boxes – those classified ‘C’ remaining today. (The number, e.g C1, representing the design type of signal box)

    Now, until 1986 and the publication of the ‘Signalling Study Group’s’ seminal work ‘The Signal Box, a pictorial History and Guide to Designs’ – very little of this was known or appreciated. Indeed it was the Signalling Study Group who devised the now, universally used type identifications, which have proved so invaluable.

    Coming back to Greatham Signal Box it was built in 1889 and is actually a NER “Northern Division’ Signal Box, which the Signalling Study Group have classified as a type N1.

    Thank you so much for your fascinating post Michael, please can we have those beautiful mechanical signal boxes back?

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