Great Northern & Great Eastern Joint Railway


Opened: 1885

Closed: 1988

Location code: E60/28

Sykes Junction signal box
Photograph © Michael Marshall, August 1986
This box was erected when a new line was forged from here (just north of Lincoln) through to Clarborough Junction, near Retford, on the Great Central Railway.

Whilst most of the boxes along this line opened in the 1870's, long before the Great Northern & Great Eastern Joint concern was conceived, this box was erected during joint ownership. A casual glance would deceive the observer into assuming the box to be built to a Great Eastern design, similar to that illustrated at Great Chesterford.

This isn't actually so, and the box represents the Great Northern's first attempts at returning to a standard design after the hotch-potch of ideas since 1871. It is perfectly conceivable that the design is based upon the Great Eastern's type, many of which existed further south on the Joint Line. This new design featured large-paned windows (some had a three-pane-high arrangement to the same dimensions) and a large overhang of the roof front and rear. The ornate barge boards seen in so many permutations since the 1870's was abandoned for simplicity and economy. The other notable change was the abandonment of brick construction.

This type of cabin did not entirely supersede the earlier practices, and brick boxes continued to be built through to 1899. The type of box used may have depended on the way the contract was let.

Boxes of this type were constructed from 1883 through to 1891, although few now survive. Apologies are offered for the graininess of these views which were taken in poor light conditions from some distance.

General view of Sykes JunctionLooking from the north, we see the Down Home signal protecting the junction. Long after the Clarborough line closed as a through route, the branch was retained as a single goods line serving Torksey Depot.

Further round the curve, to the far left, the Up Starter can just be made out, with the Saxilby Distant below.

Interior photographs taken in 1959 by the late Dr Ian Scrimgeour reveal an intriguing plate affixed to the block bell communicating with Saxilby. It reads:


Sykes Junction controlled the simple layout from an 18-lever McKenzie & Holland frame, which saw 103 years of service prior to the closure of the box on 18th September 1988.

All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated