6 thoughts on “Malleable Railway Branch

  1. There were two tracks over the bridge, to the left of the picture you can actually see where the track went and room for the track bed. In north shore there were the dummy levers that worked the points and signals, they were all in the thirty numbers. I have another photo of the section of line over the bridge towards north shore signal box which I will submit later.

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  2. Hills factory on the right of the picture brought back memories of starting work from school at sixteen. I had started at Browns Sheet Metal works in Prince Regent Street as an apprentice, young and raw I became acquainted with “Sal Volatile” which was the cure all of the time 1945. It was a strange summer in that I met quite a few factory nurses and ambulance people for various reasons usually down to being impetuous and a bit of of a dare devil. What was wrong with walking across a pipe 40 feet up in the air? apart from it being rotten and I went through, that is another story. A short time before VE Day Arthur Brown asked me to have an early tea and go fit some guards to a crane running gear with Steve Small who was one of the best craftsmen in the works. We were dropped off at Hills a woodworking factory on Norton Road. Steve had measured and made the guards so did not expect to be there long. The crane was the highest one in the plant, in the roof of the building pictured and some of the working parts were too close for comfort to the woman crane driver hence the guards. We checked and the crane was switched off with a tag saying men working so Steve went up the ladder and dropped a rope for me to tie the guards on and him to haul up. Once they were up I went up the ladder and putting one of the long guards on my shoulder started off along the gantry following Steve, He turned to see if I was OK and there was a blinding flash, the guard Steve was carrying flew through the air and landed beside a man cutting veneer on a machine below. I learned later he promptly fainted which made the men down there think the guard had hit him. On the gantry Steve was flat on his back with his legs dangling off the gantry so I dived on him to hold him. He was shivering and moaning and I was hanging on to the very low guard rail and holding Steve at the same time. Eventually some men came racing up the gantry and they had to lower Steve to the ground on a stretcher. He came round in the small first aid room with burns on his hand and feet after copious wafting of the Sal volatile bottle under his nose. Rough and ready was the order of the day and he was bandaged by a man with hands like shovels but a gentle touch. I got wafted with the odious smelling salts too just in case. The crane driver coming back from her tea had thought no one would be working up there so late took the notice off the switch and switched the power on. When Steve turned to see if I was ok the end of the guard touched the live wires. The crane driver too was in the crowded first aid room sniffing the famous bottle, we were sitting round like a gang of drug addicts all wondering what had hit us poor Steve knew, he was lucky to be alive. The guards got fitted at the weekend with all the fuses removed and in our tool bag. Health and safety had not been invented though we had a healthy respect for unguarded machines and I was taught when walking steel to have one hand for myself and one for the job. Steve recovered and we became very firm friends working on many jobs together including a job on the first council houses built after the war on Durham Road. I never forgot Hills.

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  3. Absolutely brilliant and in colour too! There are apparently very few pictures of this section of the North Shore/Malleable branch (Note, the North Shore branch was built in the 1830s as a branch line from the Clarence Railway, at Norton Junction, down to the North Shore of the Tees. The main line connection with Stockton Station came in the 1850s.) However, Mike”s picture suggests that there might have been been two tracks over Norton Road at one time. This seems to be indicated in the 1893 Ordnance Survey map. Is this the case?

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  4. Slightly misleading I realise Mike but, as a signalman at North Shore, we always referred to this line as the Malleable branch. You are right, the bridge is over Norton Road at Tilery.

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  5. This is the line that eventually ends at the Malleable Works but this is the bridge over Norton Road with Hills factory in the right of the picture. This bridge is of steel construction and single track whereas the bridge closest to the Mall was concrete with three tracks crossing Portrack Lane. I worked in the Mall and for six months was in the Diesel shed and regularly took a loco on a test run up to the Portrack bridge and back.

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