North Eastern Railway


Opened: 1875

Closed: 1988

Location code: NE27/02

Tile Shed signal box
Photograph by John Hinson, 1988

Not only did the signal box have an intriguing name, it also had a fascinating history.

When first opened in 1875, it was only a small box, with just fifteen levers controlling a level crossing, crossover and siding on the Tyne Dock branch which separated from the Sunderland to Newcastle main line a few hundred yards away at Cleadon Junction. The signalman also acted as gatekeeper for the level crossing on the main line with the same road.

Architecturally, it was a standard North Eastern Railway (Northern Division) box, similar to Milton.

Drastic alterations took place in 1912, when Cleadon Junction box was closed. Tile Shed was extended backwards, parallel to the road. Instead of measuring 14' x 10', it became 30' x 14', to accommodate a new 55-lever frame of Stevens' pattern. In this view (after closure of the Tyne Dock line) you are looking at the face of the original box - if you visualise everything to the right of the telegraph pole as not being there you will have a fair picture of the box as it originally was.

Tile Shed box
Photograph by John Hinson, 1988

A closer view of the box shows the increase in length, causing it to be parallel to the road in which it controlled two level crossings. The new "front" of the box (the far side) looked towards Cleadon Junction.

Interior of Tile Shed box, 1957
Photograph by Dr J W F Scrimgeour, 12/3/57

An interior view of the box taken in 1957 shows the frame installed in 1912. This was basically to the Stevens' design used extensively by the Northern Division of the NER, but was probably actually built by McKenzie & Holland. Further expansion of the layout took place in the late 1920's when the LNER abolished Boldon Lane Junction box and transferred that junction onto this box, with the points motor-operated.

The frame was renewed again in the 1960's with a 52-lever McKenzie & Holland No17 type being installed. By 1979, however, the layout had been so greatly rationalised that this was shortened to just 20 levers.

The track layout can just be discerned on the diagram above the instrument shelf, with Cleadon Junction to the right and Boldon Lane Junction lower left.

Tile Shed from the south
Photograph by John Hinson, 1988

A view from the south side of the railway shows the motor-operated boom gates across the Sunderland - Newcastle main line. Originally, both level crossings would have had traditional wheel-worked gates.

Most of the layout had been dispensed with by the time of these views, which were taken shortly before closure as road-widening appears to be in progress. The signalbox was abolished on 11th December 1988.

Additional notes by John Talbot

About the photographs

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson

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