THE SIGNAL BOX

BRANCH LINES

THE YORK YARD SIGNAL BOXES IN THE 1950s

a selection of photographs by Frank Archer
with captions by 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.


Inside York Yard South boxInside York Yard South, 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.


York Yard South 1983 From my own collection, 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.


Inside the new box at York Yard SouthSignalman 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! Thankyou to Richard Pulleyn for correctly identifying the picture.


Severus Junction in 1940A photograph taken of Severus Junction in 1939, which was later renamed York Yard North. [Photographer unknown, Frank Archer collection.]


York Yard North in 1983.Here is a photograph of York Yard North I took myself in 1983. By this time it was in a sad state as the re-alignment of the road bridge had made it necessary to remove the gabled roof and replace it with a flat one. Nevertheless, it can clearly be seen that the box was originally to the other of the two less common designs of the 1902-1905 period which included the distinctive additional row of panes above the main window sections and concrete lintels over the locking-room windows.

The box was extended at the south (left) end at some time to accommodate a 150-lever McKenzie & Holland No.16 pattern frame, although in later years this had been cut down to a mere 60. The North box outlived all of the other boxes at York, and survived until the 1989 resignalling.


York Yard 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 Yard No.1 Up Goods
York Yard No.1 Up Goods was similar in design to No.1 Down Goods box.


York Yard No.2 Up Goods box 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.


General view of south end of yourk yardsThis 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.


The Up Yard after modernisationA similar view taken in the 1960s after modernisation of the yard and the abolition of York Yard No.2 Up Goods.


Comments about this article should be addressed to Frank Archer