Hall Royd Junction Box nameboard as preserved at the East Lancashire Raiway, Bury

Hall Royd Junction: Signal boxes and signalling

There have been three generations of signal control equipment at Hall Royd.

In the beginning was the signal cabin which sat at the original level crossing and controlled the exit from the 'East' chord connecting Hall Royd with Stansfield Hall.

This survived the erection of the current Hall Royd Road bridge, but not the 1904 widening.

A new box was provided in 1904, and I am grateful to Chris Littleworth for permission to reproduce his diagram showing the layout in June 1957 for this box below.

Chris Littleworth's Hall Royd Junction signal box diagram.

The photo survey starts with a photo taken on 23 June 1967. This looks like a typical overcast Pennine view, with the clouds rolling cross the skyscape. Details that confirm the date include the removal of the lamp oil hut, which stood between the signal box and road bridge, and the existence of which related the bracket signal (levers 38/34) which controlled entry to the Up loop behind the photographer. This was removed when the Up gallows signal and bracket were replaced by a colour-light signal placed at the eastern end of Millwood Tunnel, and which featured two feathers indicating the routes for Copy Pit or the Up loop. The single slip where the Copy Pit down line crossed the Don Calder Valley would still be in situ at this time, as this related to moves that might be made by the Copy Pit banking engines, and so would not be rendered obsolete until steam banking ended on 3 August 1968.

The new concrete garages below and to the right of the signal box already have broken panes of glass, and the windows in the doors will shortly be covered with plywood. The water tank had been decommissioned for some time (no date for the removal of the bag has been found, although it was certainly in use in 1954). The lower glazing under the two sets of end windows of the signal box are boarded over; this was a two stage process, and this shows the final form before the box was demolished. Also in the recent past the tall signal on the  Up Copy Pit line (towards Leeds) has been replaced. The photo shows a tall BR tubular post signal housed in the alcove in the retaining wall. Its predecessor - a LYR post with Upper Quadrant arm - had been located nearer the junction but this side of the footbridge (109) and had been located on top of the retaining wall. Access had been by a two-stage metal ladder, with the first stage having a set of railings on top of the wall. The second stage was conventionally fitted to the signal post.

Hal Royd Junction looking eastwards from Hallroyd Road bridge on 23 June 1967.

Copyright JK Wallace, all rights reserved

David Ball snapped the following two images in 1972, when the box had less than 12 months in active service. The cable trunking for the Preston Power Signalling programme is clearly visible in front of the box.

Copyright David Ball, all rights reserved

Copyright David Ball, all rights reserved

And 69 years later, the 1904 box was also replaced, this time by a signal box many miles away in Preston. However, despite this remote control, there are still structures which contain critical signalling equipment, namely the two Relay Rooms that sit just north of Hall Royd Road bridge on the Up side.

The modern diagram shows a number of changes in the 1973 installation, with the cross-over formed with points 22 moving westwards, and the single slip formed of points 28 & 30 removed back in 1966.

Very little memorabilia from the Calder Valley turns up in the railwayana auctions, but on 7 October 2017 a pair of L&YR block instruments turned up in the Great Northern Railwayana Auction. I am grateful to GNRA to reproduce the images below.

Hall Royd Junction signal box block instrument for the loops towards Todmorden East as it appeared in the Great Northern Railway Auction 7 October 2017.

Image courtesy Great Northern Railwayana Auctions

Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway block instrument from Hall Royd Junction signal box for the loops towards Todmorden East as it appeared in the Great Northern Railway Auction 7 October 2017. It sold for £460.

A second L&Y instrument was also in the auction, although the box has not been identified. Great Northern Railwayana Auctions noted “L&YR 611” stamped on the top. Also stamped with a star emblem with the letter ‘T’. In very good, original, ex-box condition. They were both put into the auction by the same seller. Does anyone know where L&YR 611 was allocated?

Lancashire & Yorkshire block instrument 611 as auctioned by Great Northern Railwayana Auctions on 7 October 2017.

Image courtesy Great Northern Railwayana Auctions


Section from Preston Power Signal Box showing Hall Royd Junction, and 'Engineer's Siding points both clipped out of use 2013

Copyright: Simon Foster c. 2014, all rights reserved

Thanks to Simon Foster, here is a shot of Hall Royd Junction as seen by the signaller in Preston PSB before the Todmorden curve was commissioned. The 'Engineer's Siding' aka the down L&YR loop is now shown firmly clamped out of use. The points at the right hand end now terminate in the base of the GSM-R base station mast, so probably just as well they can no-longer be accessed, but also point to the fact that this material was to be reclaimed.  Also note that the 'Engine Spur' off the East Lancs line to Copy Pit and Burnley - the stub of the old curve - is also clamped out-of-use, so a reminder that there has been no banking from Todmorden for a long time. It was the intention to re-use this point for the new curve, but it has now been re-aligned and replaced to give a better transition onto the new curve. 

Preston Panel now showing the new Todmorden curve 2014

 Copyright: Simon Foster c. 2014, all rights reserved

The second photo shows the Todmorden West curve now inserted - perhaps another reason for keeping it single track. The whole East Lancs line has been moved down, with two additional rows of tiles inserted. The old 'Engineering siding', which had been formed from the remnants of the old Down L&Y Loop has been removed from the panel.

It works! The test train displayed on the Preston PSB  panel as it traverses the Todmorden curve.

Copyright: Simon Foster c. 2014, all rights reserved

It works! A Google search found the following reference to the train as previously seen on the Realtime Trains Website: "5F77 12.13 Manchester Victoria to Manchester Victoria. Northern service departing on 17 March 2014. This service was cancelled throughout due to a delay ..."

Click here for more on the prototype Hall Royd Junction.