The York Yard signal boxes in the 1950s
by Frank Archer and John Hinson
Frank kindly sent these photographs of boxes around the yards at York which he took during the 1950s. He trained to be a signalman in York Yard North. When Frank started work in there in 1953, there was a piggery opposite called “Severus Herd Piggery” which is now long gone, but this may explain why the box was originally known as Severus Junction.
Frank is now resident in Australia.
York Yard South
York Yard South box was located roughly mid-way along the Goods Lines that passed York Station on the west side, and besides controlled numerous connections to the yards.
The box is to the North Eastern Railway’s less common design used from between 1902 and 1905. Most boxes of this type were found on the Hull – Staddlethorpe section. The 133-lever box closed in 1962 when it was replaced by a panel box.
This late fifties view shows signalman Alf McClean standing by his 133-lever frame. Despite the length of the frame, the few block instruments are mounted on just a short section of block shelf. The lever frame is a McKenzie & Holland design (No.16 pattern) – with 133 levers at 5 inch spacing, this makes the frame over 55 feet long. Notice the North Eastern Railway’s practice of painting a list of the lever pulls on the sides of the levers.
Here is a view of the 1962 panel box at York Yard South taken in 1983. This was built immediately opposite the old box. I have included it to show the complex arrangement of running lines. In the far distance, York Yard North can be made out, together with the road bridge mentioned below.
. . . Thirsk
Signalman Jack Bennington stands by his panel at Thirsk, c1962.
This photograph was originally thought to be of York Yard South, but even though it is now technically not relevant to this page about York, it would be a pity to remove it! Thank you to Richard Pulleyn for correctly identifying the picture.
York Yard North
Frank Archer collection, 1939
A photograph taken of Severus in 1939, which was later renamed York Yard North (above), and a 1983 view (below) after a new road bridge caused some rather drastic alterations to be necessary.
York No1 Down Goods
York No.1 Down Goods was located on the down side, roughly midway between South and North boxes.
This was built to the same design as York Yard South (above), which lacked the upper windows and incorporated arched windows in the locking room.
So far I have been able to establish little in the way of technical details, closure dates etc. for these cabins; any additional information would be appreciated. It is likely that they closed in 1962, when part of the yard was remodelled.
York No1 Up Goods
York Yard No.1 Up Goods was similar in design to No.1 Down Goods box.
York No2 Up Goods
And so was York Yard No.2 Up Goods! Clearly, these boxes were all erected during the same period. There was also a No.3 box, but no photograph is available.
This general view of the south end of the yards shows York Yard No.2 Up Goods in the centre. York Yard No.1 Down Goods is barely visible on the far left, near the row of house roofs.
A similar view taken in the 1960s after modernisation of the yard and the abolition of York Yard No.2 Up Goods.