Hartburn Signal Box c1965

This photograph was taken when Hartburn signal box was still in existence and there were 4 tracks. Because it was near the road, the signal box was a favourite spot for trainspotters in the winter because the fire chimney backed onto the road and you could warm yourself on the wall. For those interested in the railway aspect the loco is a WD and is hauling a northbound freight in December 1965. Such a difference now but at least the railway is still there and Ropner Park too.

Photograph and details courtesy of Garth McLean.

13 thoughts on “Hartburn Signal Box c1965

  1. Despite their large number, with over 700 locos in the class none of the Austerity 2-8-0 locomotives were saved for preservation when steam disappeared from British Railways in 1968. Fortunately, this was put right by the Keighly and Worth Valley Preserved Railway. An example of the class originally sent by the UK to the Dutch Railways C1945 and later sold on to the Swedish Railways had survived by being stored as part of the Swedish strategic locomotive reserve from the mid 1950s to the 1970s. The locomotive was bought, repatriated and eventually restored to the appearance of its B R sisters. The last number in the B R class was 90732 and the newcomer therefore became 90733. The ‘Aussies’ usually filthy, often gave the appearance of being unloved and neglected, the clanking of their motion meant they could often be heard when not actually seen, but they were good value for money and did sterling work on heavy coal and steel trains. Thornaby sheds had around 30 of the class allocated in 1961. It is good that an example survives, even if this did come about in a roundabout way.


  2. Does WD stand for War Department, it looks nothing like the big “Austerity” types which were used to haul heavy goods in the “forties”.


    • WD Austerity 2-8-0, they were made from the middle of the war and we saw many of them. My interest was never Engines I was a heavy truck man although living near a main line we did learn to recognise some.
      They were a simplified model with a different boiler and fire box with many modifications to cut cost and the amount of material needed to build them.
      After the war some were exported and some bought by LNER, those exported were to get the European railways running again, our Mustang Pilots had great fun shooting up the Continental trains but it meant we had to give them some of ours to get things going.
      I normally leave Railway posts to the experts on here but being a wartime thing I did know about that model.


      • Hello Frank (Phil). Good to read your input about what we gricers also called ‘dub Ds’ for obvious reasons although others called them ‘yanks’. They were known and recognised by the clanking of their coupling and connecting rods which announced their approach. We missed you at the weekend, sorry you were unable to make the party.



    • Hi Ronald, yes the bridge is still there in everyday use, always a quick way to Ropner Park from Parkfield area were I used to live. By the way did you work in Ashmores in Bowesfield Lane were I served my time as a plater, later working at the new works south site.


    • Yes it does, and Sydenham Road/Marlborough Road at the other end.
      I remember spotting here back in the late 70’s. The bridge parapet was a bit on the high side and the only spot you could get a view down the line towards Stockton was for an arms width at the Marlborough Road end.


  3. Very interested to see this photo as I was a frequent visitor to this signal box and helped the signalman, a Mr Walton I believe. My particular job was to ring the Stockton Station bell to warn the porters of an incoming passenger train.


  4. The WD with it’s train look’s like it has just come the Leeds Northern line from Eaglescliffe and is has been put onto the Down Goods by Hartburn Junction box to keep the junction free from Bowesfield.


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