Great Northern Railway


Opened: 1869

Closed: 1981

Location code: E5/04

A crucial crossing point between the Great Northern and Midland RailwaysJust north of Newark lies a crucial crossing between the Great Northern Railway's main line from Kings Cross to Doncaster and the Midland Railway's Nottingham to Lincoln line.

In the pioneering days of railways, the provision of signalling was avoided as far as possible but at this crucial location it was recognised that some sort of control of the traffic was essential, and as early as 1869 Newark Crossing signal box came to be.

Newark Crossing signal boxAnd here it is. Not a grand-looking structure by any means (the signalman was located around passenger's eye level) but suitable enough for the job to have survived for 120 years. The box is one of the Great Northern's first design of cabin, which were all built with the gables at right-angles to the track. Very few boxes of this type, which were built between 1866 and 1870, survived the turn of the century.

Inside Newark Crossing boxThe internal arrangement of the box was unconventional. A Midland Railway frame of just twelve levers was provided, although the one seen here is a modern replacement probably installed in 1965.

By the date of these photographs (1977), the East Coast Main Line was controlled by colour light signals and Track Circuit Block and you can see where the "Line Clear One Pull" white stripe on the signal levers had been painted over. The former Midland line, however, retained some conventional signalling and the instrument shelf (not over the levers) contains a Midland Railway block instrument and an array of bells to the adjacent boxes.

As recently as 1965, the original basic layout of two lines crossing two lines was enhanced by the provision of a spur so that trains of both lines could connect at Newark Northgate station. Two of the levers controlling these points can be seen here painted blue above black - being motor-operated no separate facing point lock lever was necessary.

The onward advance of modern signalling saw the closure of the box on 17th May 1981. The flat crossing survives and is probably the last in the country. It is certainly the only one used by 100 mph plus trains.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated