North Eastern Railway


Opened: 1914

Closed: 1991

Location code: NE16/30

Fencehouses signal boxFencehouses box was erected quite late in North Eastern days, but differed little in design principle to the 1890's box illustrated at Milton. Where it does differ, though, is in the implementation, for a wide all-timber top has been mounted on a narrow brick base. This was necessary as, at one time, four tracks (the Lambton Colliery route plus sidings) passed behind the box and across the level crossing, leaving little room for the signal box.

These sidings were associated with the coking plant that was approx 3/4 mile to the left in this view, and the connection with the collieries that were at the far end of the straight, as you look down the line past the box. The coking plant was knocked down around 1989.

As originally built, the box would have had the usual glazing along the front. The justification for removal of so much of the signalman's view is not known. The box had been grey in colour for many years, receiving this muddier shade only in later times.

Notice the diagonal panelling in parts of the timber structure. This ornamental feature can also be seen in the even more elegant cabin at Haltwhistle.

The level crossing at Fencehouses was automated and the cabin closed on 18th May 1991. Although it was not originally intended to demolish the box, this became necessary following vandalism and occupancy by drug abusers.

There is, apparently, an excellent "N" gauge model of Fencehouses to be seen at exhibitions, which shows how this place used to look in the late 1940's.

Additional notes by Eric Richardson

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated