North Eastern Railway


Opened: c1890

Closed: c1983

Location code: NE39/16a

Eastgate ground frameJust up the Weardale line from Wolsingham, a survivor from another era existed for many years. Eastgate station was not important enough to warrant the provision of a full signal box, so a ground frame was provided to work the layout. This ground frame was located conveniently on the platform (so that the station staff could operate it when required), and was housed in a shed with garage-type opening doors. This ensured the levers were out of the way of the passengers - both to discourage tinkering and to avoid injury.

As can be seen, the hut was provided with a standard signal box nameboard which fills the width of one of the doors!

The lever frame at Eastgate G FThe lever frame itself is of great interest, for it was the last surviving I'Anson frame, more details of which can be found on the pages covering frames. I'Anson had been one of the main suppliers to the Central Division of the North Eastern Railway, but they supplied few elsewhere.

Operationally, the layout was safely controlled without signals, because the master lever (No 3, seen in the "reversed" position) locked all other levers. This lever could not be moved unless the single-line tablet was placed in the slide of the black cast-iron box seen behind it. This effectively proved that any train to be shunted had arrived and was stationary.

By the time these photographs were taken, most of the layout had gone and just one set of points remained, worked by lever 3.

The board behind the levers would have once borne the description of the functions of each lever, but this appears to have faded beyond recognition. Instructions on the use of the frame are boldly proclaimed on a large board standing on the (empty) instrument shelf.

On the right, two rows of specially made hooks would have once neatly held furled red and green flags. Such attention to detail for a minor location.

All in all, a very interesting little ground frame that is, alas, no more.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated