THE SIGNAL BOX

PHOTO GALLERY

North Eastern Railway

MILTON

Opened: 1893

Closed: ——

Location code: NE20/29a


Milton signal boxMilton signal box was built some fifteen years later than Haydon Bridge, but the similarity is noticeable. The most significant difference (apart form the use of brick construction), is, as mentioned on that page, the arrangement of the locking room windows. From the 1890's, Northern Division boxes had the locking room windows in groups of three as shown here, with smaller windows either side of the main one.

Notice also the original pattern ventilator at the apex of the hipped roof. This would have been necessary in early railway days to allow the fumes from the oil lighting to escape.

The right-angled arrangement of the staircase is very typical of North Eastern practice (and played a significant part in the initial detective work on identifying Mrs. Holah) and the distinctive NER milepost is noteworthy.

Some later boxes were built to a similar design but with a hipped roof - see Goswick for an example.

Milton was a small cabin, its function being to control the adjoining level crossing between Brampton Fell and Low Row. It is possible that it never acted as a block post, but may have always acted just as a crossing-keepers cabin.


Inside Milton signal boxThis view of the interior of the box shows the original Stevens & Sons lever frame. This type of frame was fitted to the majority of Northern Division boxes but few have survived into recent years. Other contractors did some work in the Northern Division, see Haugh Head for an example.

Just ten levers were provided here, and only the basic signalling requirements are provided. The red and yellow levers control a home and distant signal in each direction, whilst the blue and brown lever (in the "reversed" position interlocks with the lifting barrier equipment which replaced the original gates worked by wheel.

On the instrument shelf is a range of miscellaneous equipment, the smaller items indicating the position of signals out of view and whether their lamp is alight. Notice there are just two block instruments and one bell. This is because the bell signals and indications exchanged between to two signal boxes either side are repeated here to allow the crossing keeper to establish the location of trains so that the signals can be cleared in good time.

Surprisingly, the box is still active, having (so far) escaped the onward march of level crossing modernisation.



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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated