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Marston Moor Signal Box, Harrogate

Description: Marston Moor Signal Box

Grade: II
Date Listed: 21 November 2013
Building ID: 1412060

OS Grid Reference: SE5110354562
OS Grid Coordinates: 451103, 454562
Latitude/Longitude: 53.9846, -1.2222

Locality: Harrogate
Local Authority: Harrogate Borough Council
County: North Yorkshire
Postcode: YO26 8JL

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Listing Text


Small ground level signal box of 1910 built by the Southern Division of the North Eastern Railway.

Reason for Listing

Marston Moor Signal Box is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Representative: as a very little altered example of a ground level signal box;
* Lack of alteration: the signal box still retains timber windows, finials and other original features such as part of its lever frame;
* Architecture: although very simple in design, Marston Moor Signal Box is an effective piece of attractive architecture in terms of overall form, massing and simple detailing.


From the 1840s, huts or cabins were provided for men operating railway signals. These were often located on raised platforms containing levers to operate the signals and in the early 1860s, the fully glazed signal box, initially raised high on stilts to give a good view down the line, emerged. The interlocking of signals and points, perhaps the most important single advance in rail safety, patented by John Saxby in 1856, was the final step in the evolution of railway signalling into a form recognisable today. Signal boxes were built to a great variety of different designs and sizes to meet traffic needs by signalling contractors and the railway companies themselves.

Signal box numbers peaked at around 12,000-13,000 for Great Britain just prior to the First World War and successive economies in working led to large reductions in their numbers from the 1920s onwards. British Railways inherited around 10,000 in 1948 and numbers dwindled rapidly to about 4000 by 1970. In 2012, about 750 remained in use; it was anticipated that most would be rendered redundant over the next decade.

Marston Moor station, originally just called Marston Station, was opened in 1848, being on the York to Harrogate line between Poppleton and Hammerton. In the early C20, the North Eastern Railway followed a programme of signalling rationalisation to reduce operating costs, closing many signal boxes across the network. A number of new signal boxes were also constructed to replace and simplify previous provision. Many of these signal boxes, especially at the company's many rural stations, were ground-level boxes: Marston Moor Signal Box being an example dating to 1910. The associated station was closed to passengers in 1958 and in the early 1970s the line was reduced to a single track with the lifting of the track immediately adjacent to the signal box. In 2012 both the station house and northern platform survived (the former as a private house) with the signal box still being operational, controlling the hand operated gates for the Marston Lane level crossing.


Railway signal box, 1910, for and by the Southern Division of the North Eastern Railway.

MATERIALS: timber with horizontal weatherboarding set on a brick sill course; Welsh slate roof.

EXTERIOR: small, single-storey signal box set on the former platform of Marston Moor station. Continuous glazing to front and gable ends, being of timber sashes subdivided into three rows of small panes. The front (south) windows are arranged from the left as: 6 pane (sliding), 6 pane (fixed), 6 pane (fixed), 12 pane (sliding). Entrance to the signal box is from the west gable. The plain slated roof overhangs both the eaves and verges and is finished with plain timber bargeboards rising to timber, spiked-ball finials with ball pendants. Gable ends carry NER pattern name boards.

INTERIOR: the signal box retains six levers of its original 1873 pattern McKenzie & Holland frame (originally of 16 levers).

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.