04.18 hrs on WEDNESDAY 10th FEBRUARY 2021
This project affected the lines between Stockton and Sunderland South Junction, also between Norton South and Ferryhill South Junction, including Norton West to Norton East, Billingham to Seal Sands Storage, Seaton-on-Tees Branch, and Ryhope Grange to Hendon.
Nine signal boxes were closed when lineside signalling was replaced between Norton South Junction and Greatham, and signalling between Greatham and Ryhope Grange (also between Norton on Tees East Jnc and Ferryhill Jnc) was re-controlled to a new Hartlepool Workstation at York ROC.
The Hartlepool Workstation fringes to Tyneside IECC at Ryhope Grange and Ferryhill Jnc; the fringe between Norton South Junction and Stockton is to the Bowesfield Workstation at York ROC.
Apart from Hall Dene where CCTV was retained, most other level crossings were converted to MCB-OD operation controlled from York ROC (Hartlepool workstation).
The closed signal boxes were as follows:-
Ryhope Grange SB was built to the NER N3 design, and opened in 1905 when it had a 70 lever McKenzie & Holland frame. That frame was replaced in 1951 by a No.17 pattern frame, also of 70 levers, but later reduced to 40 levers.
In November 2010 a Workstation was installed to control the line through to Greatham, when the frame was further reduced by removal of levers 1 &2.
The signal box was closed at 01.45 hrs on 06 February 2021.
Belasis Lane SB was built by the LNER to the NER S4 design, replacing an earlier level crossing box in 1929 when it was fitted with a 25 lever McKenzie & Holland frame. That frame was retained until closure at 00.45 hrs on 24 January 2021.
As part of the resignalling project, Stop Boards were installed at Belasis Lane and No Signaller Token (Remote) working introduced to Phillips Siding Ground Frame; the remaining running line beyond Phillips Siding Ground Frame was re-designated as North Tees Siding. Haverton Hill East Grid Sidings were recovered.
Norton-on-Tees SB was rebuilt, probably from an earlier structure, to the NER C2 design, and opened in 1897. It was fitted with a replacement 26 lever McKenzie &Holland No.16 pattern frame in 1957 which remained in use until the box closed at 01.35 hrs on 6 February 2021.
Norton East SB was built to an NER non-standard design, and opened in 1870, so it was one of the oldest operational boxes on Network Rail when it closed at 01.39 hrs on 6 February 2021. It was extended in 1899 and fitted with a Stevens frame, and finally fitted with a replacement 25 lever McKenzie &Holland No.17 pattern reconditioned frame in 1959.
Norton South SB was built to an NER non-standard design and, like Norton East, opened in 1870. It was fitted with a new lever frame in 1895, which was in turn replaced by a 20 lever McKenzie &Holland No.17 pattern reconditioned frame in 1955. It closed at 01.38 hrs on 6 February 2021
Norton West SB was built to the NER S4 design, and opened in 1921, replacing an earlier SB at the Junction and a gate box at the level crossing. The 41 lever McKenzie &Holland No.16 pattern frame dated from the box opening in 1921.
Equipment was decommissioned at 11.39 hrs and the box officially closed at 13.36 hrs on Saturday 30 January 2021.
Ferryhill SB was built by BR to the LNER No.13 design, and opened in 1954 as Ferryhill No.2 SB, replacing an earlier NER signal box. The 45-lever mechanical frame was replaced by an IFS panel in 1971, when the other SBs at Ferryhill also closed.
In May 1992, control of the ECML from Tyneside IECC was extended to just north of Northallerton; Ferryhill SB ceased to signal the Main Line but was retained as a temporary measure to control the Stillington lines to and from Norton West which were worked by Absolute Block. It closed at 13.40 hrs on 30 January 2021.
FARSAP is the "Film Archive of Railway Signalling and People".
With support from Network Rail, the FARSAP Project is recording signalling which is being transferred to the ROCs.
Films of all 4 Norton boxes can be seen on the FARSAP web-site here
Deputy Director, FARSAP Project
Friends of the National Railway Museum
29 April 2021