Incident at Boldon Colliery Signal Box 22 April 2000

by Ian Hughes

Boldon Colliery Box is situated on the Newcastle Sunderland line, controlling the Branch to Tyne Dock, which is worked as OES. This was a triangular Junction but only the Western portion now remains. The Main Line is worked TCB With Tyneside IECC to the West and East Boldon to the East, all signalling is MAS type. The Box is ex NER of 1893 converted to NX panel with VDU for the Tyne fringe.

A view of Boldon Colliery box in happier days
A view of Boldon Colliery box in happier days
Photograph by John Hinson, c1973

During the evening of the 21/22 April 2000, an arson attack was made on the box at Boldon Colliery, resulting in the complete destruction of the wooden entrance porch the box door and parts of the operating floor. This made the box unusable and operations were transferred to the emergency panel in the relay room opposite. This can be seen in the view below of the box looking East towards East Boldon the relay room is behind the metal fencing to the right of the line.

Boldon Colliery box after the fire
The entrance porch has gone in this view and all that can be seen are the remains of a doorpost sticking up wrapped with red white tape. Roof damage can also be seen above the boarded up door.
Photograph by Ian Hughes, 2000

View of front of Boldon Colliery box, after the fire
In this view from the front of the box the entrance porch was at the top of the wooded stairs the walkway to the left of the stairs is for access to the toilet which is the brick building behind.
Photograph by Ian Hughes, 2000

Boldon Colliery box in August 2000, after repair
In the August 2000 views it can be seen in this view looking East that the Porch has not been renewed, new woodwork and glazing has been added and the veranda has been removed. A new metal fence has been added enclosing the box in its own compound.
Photograph by Ian Hughes, 2000

Another August 2000 view of the box
This picture shows the front view
Photograph by Ian Hughes, 2000

August 2000, looking west past Boldon Colliery box
A view looking West.
Photograph by Ian Hughes, 2000

The box is now looking good in its refurbished state but does look rather odd inside the small compound normally reserved for power box installations. I wonder how long it is before this level of security becomes the norm?

Ian Hughes Wallsend 20/12/00

As a postscript to this article, the renovated box did not survive long and was abolished during 2002. Ian revisited the site in December of that year, and little remained to show there had ever been a signal box here at all!

The site of Boldon Colliery box
Photograph by Ian Hughes, 24/12/02

All photographs by Ian Hughes except where shown