North Eastern Railway


North Eastern Railway

Click or tap the thumbnail for a description and photograph of each listed signal box. These are, in some cases, supplemented by other related pictures of the same box, denoted by the following icons:

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Interlocked signalling appeared on the North Eastern Railway from 1867 onwards, with a large number of signal boxes being erected in the early 1870s. Many of these survive today at smaller locations. Initially contractors carried out the work, although most boxes were built to designs specified by the NER. Interestingly throughout the life of the company, completely different policies on signal box architecture existed on the separate divisions. By 1900, signalling was being installed on such a lavish scale that many renewals with large-sized boxes was taking place. Indeed, the largest ever mechanical lever frame (of 295 levers) was installed at York in 1909.

Soon after the turn of the century, McKenzie & Holland frames were standardised upon, a policy that stretched through LNER ownership into British Railways days.

Norton South

The earliest known boxes of the Darlington Section (known as Central Division after 1876) were erected in 1870. These had gabled roofs which faced the track. The boxes were constructed entirely in brick, apart from the glazed area and the front gable.

Cargo Fleet Road

During the 1870’s, the Central Division perpetuated the use of all-brick construction but relieved the appearance by a panelled arrangement. Those built with gabled roofs had an unusual decorative feature in the bargeboards that made the boxes instantly recognisable.


All-brick signal boxes of a neat, gabled design appeared on the Southern Division’s lines from 1873 onwards. These featured strong brick pillars at the corners and also smaller separators between each window section. Many early examples were built very near to ground level, making access to the locking room very limited.


1873-pattern Southern Division boxes also existed in more conventional proportions; particularly at more important locations and in later examples. Boxes of this type continued to be built through to 1903.


A one-off curiosity on the Southern Division was built onto the end of a terrace of houses c1873.


This 1873-pattern Southern Division box was one of a few built with the gable parallel to the track.


Northern Division boxes built from the 1870’s were generally of brick construction. Just one small locking room window was normally provided, those on this example are non-standard and are a result of a substantial enlargement being made to the box. This plain design was used for new boxes until the early 1890’s.

Haydon Bridge

This example of the Northern Division’s 1870’s architecture was built from stone. The small bay window was a later addition to allow a better view of traffic on the level crossing.

Haugh Head

Boxes erected on the Alnwick to Coldstream line when it opened in 1887 were of a non-standard gabled design. All were constructed in stone up to window level.


This small hut houses signal levers, and is typical of the rudimentary signalling provided on branch lines of the Southern Division.

Eastgate Ground Frame

The structure enclosing this ground frame dating from around 1890 is a basic shed. Its reason for inclusion here is to illustrate the rare I’Anson lever frame.


By 1893, the plain appearance of the standard Northern Division boxes had been enhanced by the provision of three locking-room windows.

Tile Shed

A strange example of the 1893 model of the Northern Division, built parallel to the road rather than the railway.


Another neat example of the Northern Division’s 1893 design.


A one-off curiosity on the Southern Division was built onto the end of a terrace of houses c1873.


A non-standard box of 1899 built onto the adjoining retaining wall, with a lean-to roof. It is provided with a single ventilator of the type fitted to the 1899 pattern boxes. The Central Division was merged into the two other divisions in 1899, although some 1899 pattern boxes continued to be built through to 1905.

Leeming Bar

The Southern Division built boxes with complete glazed areas from 1903 onwards. Most boxes of the 1903 to 1905 period existed with three-pane high windows as illustrated here, but some were provided with extensive glazing reaching virtually from floor to roof.


A 1905 rebuild of the type of box illustrated above at Cargo Fleet Road.


Around 1908, the Northern Division introduced gabled boxes, although the remainder of the architecture changed little.

Brampton Fell

Some of the c1908 Northern Division boxes featured arched locking-room windows. These were provided evenly spaced in a quantity to suit the size of the box, rather than the previous grouping of three.


Despite the introduction of gabled boxes around 1908, the Northern Division continued to build some with hipped roofs. This example, dating from 1914, has a narrow base owing to clearance problems between the lines on both sides of the box.


A particularly ornate example of the Northern division’s boxes was erected here c1915, featuring diagonal timbering and decorative panelling.

The North Eastern Railway became part of the London & North Eastern Railway in 1923.


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