Midland Railway


Opened: 1905

Closed: 1988

Location code: LM58/09

Upper Portland Sidings boxUpper Portland Sidings represents the next design development from St. Albans South and Bolsover, incorporating the three-pane-deep window arrangement in the end walls as well as along the front. Opened in 1905 to replace an earlier, smaller cabin, it contained a 20-lever Midland Railway tumbler locking frame.

The sidings controlled from the box were to the left of the camera and served a small colliery. The box also contained a wheel to mechanically operate the unusually long twin gates of the level crossing. Operation of these was quite difficult in strong winds, apparently.

Upper Portland was situated between Pinxton and Kirkby-in-Ashfield on the predominantly freight line between Pye Bridge, Mansfield and Worksop. The steep gradients on this line (clearly visible in this view) necessitated bank engines on upward trains, which were attached to the front of downward trains to provide additional braking power. This procedure continued well into diesel days, the additional power being normally provided by pairs of English Electric Type 1 (class 20) locomotives.

Although some mechanical signalling survives on this line, the closure of the sidings rendered this box little more than a block post, and automation of the level crossing allowed the box to be abolished in February 1988.

The box was dismantled and the top portion of it, together with a shortened frame, were stored for some years at the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley, but have now moved to the North Norfolk Railway and the box is now operational at Holt.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated

Additional notes kindly provided by Barry Denton