Hall Royd Junction Signal Box Nameboard
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Eastwards to Halifax and York

In the beginning there was the Manchester and Leeds Railway engineered by one George Stephenson which approached Todmorden from the South West via Summit Tunnel, passed through Todmorden in a easterly direction before reaching Hall Royd Junction and Millwood Tunnel. Approaching Todmorden from the North East was the line that created Hall Royd Junction: the line to Copy Pit and Burnley.

We start our journey eastwards at Lobb Mill viaduct on Saturday 30 July 1966, with 90481 heading a westbound mixed freight.

Lobb Mill viaduct, Todmorden, on Saturday 30 July 1966, with 90481 heading a westbound mixed freight.

Photographer Eric Bentley, copyright JK Wallace

An WD Austerity 2-8-0 heads out of Horsfall Tunnel and onto Lobb Mill Viaduct, Todmorden with a westbound mineral trains c. 1963

Copyright JK Wallace

An WD Austerity 2-8-0 heads out of Horsfall Tunnel and onto Lobb Mill Viaduct, Todmorden with a westbound mineral trains c. 1963

 

Class 40 40118 at Horsfall Tunnel with east-bound tanks

Copyright: J K Wallace, all rights reserved 2013

Class 40 40118 at Horsfall Tunnel with east-bound tanks.

Class 40 40195 heads westwards at Horsfall Tunnel Todmorden on 28 September 1983

Copyright: J K Wallace, all rights reserved 2013

Class 40 40195 heads westwards at Horsfall Tunnel Todmorden on 28 September 1983

3-car Class 110 DMU in BR blue-and-grey livery  at Horsfall Tunnel with an eastbound service on 28 September 1983

Copyright: J K Wallace, all rights reserved 2013

3-car Class 110 DMU in BR blue-and-grey livery at Horsfall Tunnel with an eastbound service on 28 September 1983

42942 1X50 LCGB Tour Liverpool – Ex - Goole 42942  1X50 LCGB tour Liverpool Ex – Goole 10.42 Sat 8/10/1966 leaving Hall Royd Jc after detaching pilot

Eric Bentley caught Hughes/Fowler 2-6-0 Crab 42942 heading 1X50, the LCGB Tour Liverpool Exchange - Goole at 10.42 on Saturday 8 October 1966 east of Hall Royd Junction after the Black 5 pilot was detached at Stansfield Hall Junction. Eric chased the train, photographing it twice at Manchester Victoria and also as Helmshore (so cutting across country to catch the train here). The date gives a clue as to when the various signalling modifications were carried out at Hall Royd in late 1966. These included the removal of the LNWR-style gantry signal at the western mouth of Millwood Tunnel; along with the bracket guarding the entry to the Up loop beyond Hall Royd  road bridge. These were replaced by a colour light signal with two feathers at the eastern entrance to Millwood Tunnel. In the original semaphore era, this in turn was proceeded by a LYR bracket sporting the splitting distants. The colour light signal to the left of the train is therefore of significance, as it may have been newly erected in connection with these works at Hall Royd. Note the newly laid concrete troughing. At the same time, the single slip at the junction was also removed. I am grateful to 225 Studios for permission to use a screen grab extracted from their DVD 'York - Leeds - Manchester' cab ride showing the same location as it appears today.

Image reproduced by kind permission of www.225studios.com; all rights reserved

Signal PN309, located on the approaches to Horsefall Tunnel. The image is taken from the 'York - Leeds - Manchester' cab ride DVD produced by 225 Studios.

A WD Austerity 2-8-0 drifts pass Eastwood signal box with an eastbound empty mineral train in the early 60s

Copyright JK Wallace

A WD Austerity 2-8-0 drifts pass Eastwood signal box with an eastbound empty mineral train in the early 60s.According to the Weekly Operating Notices (WON), the platforms that formed Eastwood station were finally removed on 28 July 1974.These were offset, and the one that would have been located in the foreground appears to have already been removed. The Down platform was behind the train, on the other side of the level crossing.

A WD Austerity 2-8-0 drifts past Dover Bridge signal box in the Calder Valley light engine in the early 60s

Copyright JK Wallace

A WD Austerity 2-8-0 drifts past Dover Bridge signal box in the Calder Valley with a guards van in the early 60s. There were two loops on the Up, westbound side between Dover Bridge signal box and Eastwood. The signal controlling access to these loops is in the foreground. It is unusual in that it is a LYR post that has been upgraded with LMS upper quadrant arms but still retains its LYR finial. Most upgraded signals were fitted with a LNWR-style cap.

Dover Bridge signal box on the LYR Calder Valley in the early 1960s

Copyright JK Wallace

Dover Bridge signal box on the LYR Calder Valley in the early 1960s. The box still have its original LYR nameboard secured to the front of the box, although the staircase has been replaced with a modern metal one.

LMS Jubilee 45565 'Victoria' approaches Dover Bridge signal box with an eastbound passenger train in the early 1960s.

Copyright JK Wallace

LMS Jubilee 45565 'Victoria' approaches Dover Bridge signal box with an eastbound passenger train in the early 1960s.

LYR 0-6-0s 12326 and 12352 pass Milner Royd Junction sometime in the late 1930s

Photographer Arthur R Wilson, J. K. Wallace collection

LYR 0-6-0s 12326 (pilot) and 12352 pass Milner Royd Junction sometime in the late 1930s. The signals appear to have 1912 pattern arms, but the nearer signal has already lost its finial. The lead locomotive carries a train number, suggesting this is a summer excursion heading for the Lancashire coast.

Whilst Class 40s were much sought after as 'classic traction', the day-to-day menu were the Class 110 3-car Calder Valley units. They provided the backbone of the service from their introduction in mid-1964 through to the mid-1980s. The Class 110s were the dominant DMU - there is the odd shot showing a Metro-Cammell Class 101 added to meet a upturn in demand. It was only later - from the 1980s really - that Classes 108 and 101 started to work the Calder Valley on their own. Here is a Class 110 on a regular working for the class, as it leaves Halifax forming the 10.45 Blackpool-Leeds service on a wet 2 January 1987.

Class 110 3-car Calder Valley unit leaves Halifax whilst working the 10.45 Blackpool-Leeds service on a wet 2 January 1987.

Copyright: J K Wallace, all rights reserved 2013

Sowerby Bridge was a major station which would have been a key location had the Rishworth branch matured into the alternative L&Y main line. This atmospheric shot by Eric Bentley shows 4MT tank 42410 running round the Leeds portion of Leeds + Bradford – Blackpool excursion on Saturday 2 October 1965. Eric's notes suggest he later caught this train approaching Copy Pit later in the day. Note the area in the immediate foreground which was immediately in front of the imposing station buildings, but never developed.

108-5 Sowerby Bridge 42410 running round Leeds portion of Leeds + Bradford – Blackpool excursion Sat 2/10/65

Photographer Eric F Bentley, Copyright: J K Wallace

Stanier Jubilee 4-6-0 45694 'Bellerophon' is seen departing from Brighouse with the 08.05 Summer Saturdays only Castleford Central – Blackpool North at around 08.48 on Saturday 9 July 1966.

Stanier Jubilee 4-6-0 45694 'Bellerophon' is seen departing from Brighouse with the 08.05 Summer Saturdays only Castleford Central – Blackpool North at around 08.48 on Saturday 9 July 1966

Photographer Eric Bentley, copyright JK Wallace

Stanier Jubilee 4-6-0 45694 'Bellerophon' is seen approaching Brighouse with the 08.05 Summer Saturdays only Castleford Central – Blackpool North at around 08.48 on Saturday 9 July 1966. The train is approaching on the slow lines, and has still to pass the exchange sidings before arriving at Brighouse Station. The train will have first passed Bradley Wood Junction and then Anchor Pit Junction to arrive here. 

Stanier Jubilee 4-6-0 45694 'Bellerophon' is seen approaching Brighouse with the 08.05 Summer Saturdays only Castleford Central – Blackpool North at around 08.48 on Saturday 9 July 1966. The train is approaching on the slow lines, and has still to pass the exchange sidings before arriving at Brighouse Station. The train will have first passed Bradley Wood Junction and then Anchor Pit Junction to arrive here

Photographer Eric Bentley, copyright JK Wallace

The L&YR main line technically ended at Goose Hill Junction, where it joined the Midland Railway to gain access to Leeds.

45695 BR (LMS) Stanier Jubilee 45695 'Minator' passes Goose Hill Junction, Normanton, on 11 December 1960

BR (LMS) Stanier Jubilee 45695 'Minator' passes Goose Hill Junction, Normanton, on 11 December 1960. The view is taken from Boundary Lane bridge and is approximately a quarter of a mile north of the actual junction, which is beyond the end of the train. This is most likely a Midland route train, although traveling on the tracks that Lanky trains off the Calder Valley would have used to access Normanton (behind the camera) and tracks onto York. Today the original Midland has closed but the tracks still occupy the same alignment, and there are still a couple of sidings to the right.

A glance at a map will show that this was not really the best way to Leeds, but it did allow easy and direct access to York via the Great Northern Railway. The Liverpool-Manchester-York trains were one of the longest runs that the old L&YR could provide, so it seemed entirely appropriate that the last of the Hughes 4-6-0 Dreadnaughts. The final version of these locomotives looked a neat and purposeful design - and there is so obviously an echo of the Black 5s that were to follow.

The LMS's first take on the design was that it looked as if it had potential as a front-line express loco, as it was close to a GWR 'Castle' in both wheel arrangement and number of cylinders. More were built in the early LMS period with some of the class being put through their paces on the West Coast Main Line over Shap. There are a number of theories as to where the short-comings lay: valves and grate area being two often noted. Certainly the grate was small for the boiler and the work required, and they had to be worked hard on their daily schedules leading to higher maintenance and coal bills.

So the Dreadnaughts were passed over, and the Scots filled the gap at the top of the LMS rosters, with Derby knocking out Patriots to meet the need for a smaller express loco. This latter class acquitted themselves well through Hall Royd, with 45517 of Bank Hall being a regular daily performer, and one of the last in service before the Calder Valley DMUs took over in the mid-60s.

So this review ends with two shots of Hughes Dreadnaught 50455's final working on 1 July 1951, when it hauled an enthusiast's special from Blackpool Central to York, and return. The outward journey encountered engineering works on the Down Main in the Hall Royd area, which involved a time consuming reversal onto the Up main and wrong-line running through the area.

50455 is standing at York, with the special it has brought in from Blackpool Central, as photographed by H. K. Boulter

50455 photographed at York, having arrived from Blackpool Central, and having travelled via Todmorden and the Calder Valley, and here is photographed by Ken Boulter as the passengers start to cluster around the loco but before she is unhooked. Copyright H K Boulter.
Photographed just a few minutes later by Ken Boulter, 50455 has now moved clear of the train, and will shortly move off to York Motive Power Depot for turning. Although not apparent in the photos, 50455 was struggling mechanically, and on her return run the boiler would become splattered with oil as the value gear gently gave up the ghost; although she did not fail on the road, and did get back to Blackpool without need for assistance. Copyright H K Boulter, All rights reserved.
50455 eases forward after being uncoupled at York on her last working before being sent to Horwich for scrap. Photographed by H K Boulter