Signal Box Safari – South Tynedale Railway

To me, no structure screams ‘RAILWAY!’ more than a signal box…

Old station buildings get converted to houses, goods and locomotive sheds are often unrecognisable in their new roles as factories or warehouses but a signal box rarely ends up looking like anything other than… well… a signal box.

I try to photograph them wherever they crop up, there are still many to be found on the national network and heritage lines occasionally build new ones. The South Tynedale Railway (STR) is one such line.

The STR extended their 2ft gauge line to a new northern terminus at Slaggyford in 2017 and needed a signal box to control the station’s signals and level crossing but the original North Eastern Railway (NER) box had been demolished in the 1960s.

… So the STR built a very convincing replica of the original NER type N2 structure that contains a 28-lever frame obtained from Battersby signal box (which closed in August 1989) on the Esk Valley Line that runs from Middlesbrough to Whitby.

Slaggyford Signal Box-20181026Slaggyford Signal Box
South Tynedale Railway, October 2018

Alston, at the southern end of the STR, boasts a 1915-vintage signal box, but not one original to the location…

Alston Signal Box-20181026Alston Signal Box
South Tynedale Railway, October 2018

Alston signal box is a North Eastern Railway (NER) type S5 structure that originally stood at Ainderby on what is now the Wensleydale Railway in North Yorkshire.

Rebuilt at Alston in 1991 (on a new brick base) the box contains a 21-lever McKenzie & Holland frame, part of which came from Leeming Bar (also on the Wensleydale Railway).

The South Tynedale Railway has also had to suspend operations due to the Covid-19 situation and are currently appealing for donations to help support the railway until such time as they can run trains again.