Hull & Barnsley Railway


Opened: 1907

Closed: 1976

Location code: NE35/07a

Denaby signal boxDenaby signal box outlived those on the main line of the former Hull & Barnsley Railway by many years owing to the presence of a colliery. Originally located on a branch from Wrangbrook Junction that joined the Great Central at Lowfield Junction, it found itself isolated in later years on a short stub of the branch accessible only from the Lowfield direction.

Until 1897, the H&B had used standard Saxby & Farmer frames and signal boxes. They then turned to Evans O'Donnel for frame supply, and introduced their own design of box. These were, as illustrated here, an adaption of S&F's 1884 design.

At Denaby the single line from the Wrangbrook direction became double for the short distance to Lowfield, although it appears these lines were always worked as sidings without any form of block working. After closure as a through route, the single line ran towards Wrangbrook only as far as the Steetley Dolomite Sidings. This was worked on the One Engine In Steam principle with train staff, and trains were propelled to the sidings.

Denaby box contained a 33-lever Evans O'Donnel frame.

Signal at Denaby On either side of the line at Denaby were extensive sidings serving Denaby Colliery. In 1956, the layout was altered so that access could be made directly from one side of the line to the other, and a "King Lever" was provided to release the interlocking so that the box could be closed with the signals left in the "off" position for moves across the main line in both directions. This permitted National Coal Board locomotives to chuff about to their heart's content, and must have allowed the box opening hours to be substantially reduced.

Here, we see signals 30 and 19, reading from Denaby Yard to the Down Main and Empty Sidings respectively. The latter is in the off position.

The signal itself was erected by the LNE some time after 1933 to replace a small H&B bracket signal of the same function.

After closure of the Steetley Dolomite works in 1973, the box ceased to serve much of a purpose. It was last manned in October 1975 and was formally abolished in June 1976.

Fred Parker wrote with some interesting additional information: "I actually worked at this location from 1959 - 1965. From & to Lowfield Junction was by Absolute Block working but around Denaby `A` signal box we were able to run round trains that were required at Steetley Lime Quarry Sdgs. The access to Steetley was by Key Token. There were two signal boxes along the single line to Wrangbrook Junction. First was Sprotborough Halt then Brodsworth & Pickburn. This signal box served Brodsworth Colliery from and to Wath Yard. The frame at Denaby `A` was a Saxby Farmer the King lever released both No 13 & 30 signals."

I am fairly confident from my own observations that the lever frame was to Evans O'Donnel's design, but that company was absorbed by Saxby & Farmer in 1903 so it seems likely the frame was manufactured to E O'D's design by Saxby & Farmer.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated