Midland & Great Northern Railway


Opened: c1920

Closed: 2000

Location code: E58/17

Cromer Yrad signal boxVery few boxes were renewed during the life of the Midland & Great Northern Railway, but Cromer Yard opened during the 1920s, and was to a very different design to those based on Midland (Massingham) or Great Northern (Langor Bridge) practice. Construction is from concrete blocks, although the front panels are faced with brick. The frame originally contained 29 levers which originally controlled just the station area, but this was enlarged in 1954 to 35.

Around 1972, the line to the triangle at Runton was converted to be worked as two single lines, one for Norwich traffic and the other for the Sheringham line, the final short stub of the M&GN to survive.

Tyers Tablet instrument at Cromer YardThe single line section to North Walsham was worked by Tyers' No6 Electric Tablet. These wonderful vintage instruments were often called chocolate machines, owing the the way tablets were delivered from a vertical pile viewed through a glass window into a slide operated by the handle on the left.

One Engine In Steam staff at Cromer YardMeanwhile, the Sheringham line was worked under One Engine In Steam regulations, whereby every train had to return before the next could depart. This method really only suited dead-end branches but was perfect for operation of the short run to Sheringham and back.

The staff shows signs of frequently having been dropped - the engraved brass plates identifying the section concerned are held on with electrical tape! Here, the signalman prepares to hand it to the driver of a departing Diesel Unit.

Do you believe everything I wrote here implicitly? Do you think I would stand right on the platform end, with a departing train coming up behind me, and the driver leaning out to try and grab the staff? No?

All right, I confess. This picture was posed.

The entire line from Whitlingham Junction to Cromer was resignalled on 25th June 2000, resulting in the abolition of this, the very last operational Midland & Great Northern Railway box.

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Additional notes by Ken Lowe

All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated