Paying a brief return to Humberside’s fine semaphore signals (see my earlier post “Humberside’s semaphore swansong”) it is heartening – and not surprising – to hear that the timescale for completion of the resignalling project has slipped several months from the planned date of spring 2018.
Not surprising perhaps when a visit this week to Welton, one of the boxes I missed last time, reveals a group of high-vis suited workers sitting in a van bearing the name “Dynamic Track Solutions” and being anything but dynamic – doing precisely nothing in fact!
So there is still time to savour a stretch of main line controlled by mechanical signalling and for me a chance to get to the two easternmost boxes at Welton and Melton Lane, to visit the fine gate box at Oxmardyke and to discover an excellent location to see a variety of traction on the two routes which diverge at Gilberdyke Junction.
Heading this time in a westerly direction, the easternmost semaphores are the Melton Lane up home signals, seen above as Hull trains 180111 approaches on the up main line on 27 September with the 10.30 Hull-London Kings Cross service.
The only remaining part of the once quadruple track layout is the up relief line, extending from Ferriby station to the western end of the former Melton station.
The two former platforms of Melton Halt (closed July 1989) remain intact with the down home and distant signals and warning signs standing in what was the down slow line. Here 158904 has just passed signal ML9 and is about to reach the end of the relief line and rejoin the main up line.
Little more than a mile west of Melton Lane stands Welton, a small box controlling a quiet crossing where vehicle users have to request the signaller to open the crossing gates. It has just four signal levers, with home signals that are normally left in the off position unless a vehicle is on the crossing and two motor-worked distant signals.
Here 158859 approaches the crossing with the 10.11 Bridlington-Sheffield service.
Moving to the other end of the mechanically signalled section of line, less than a mile east of Gilberdyke Junction stands this highly impressive gate box at Oxmardyke, shown below, probably the most architecturally interesting of the surviving boxes and a North Eastern Railway design dating from 1901.
So finally back to Gilberdyke where my vantage point this time is Bellasize Lane Level Crossing, which stands west of the box and Junction and is actually two level crossings on a quiet lane with a number of houses in between. Here 142071 passes the box with the 12.04 Hull-York service.
It is the perfect place to view the constant stream of trains on the diverging routes towards Selby and Goole, as reflected in the following images taken on 27 September.
Hull Trains 180109 (pictured above) approaches Gilberdyke Junction, with the heavily-delayed 09.48 London Kings Cross-Hull service. A few minutes later, Trans-Pennine Express 185139 (pictured below) passes Gilberdyke Junction Signal Box with the 10.41 Manchester Piccadilly-Hull service.
My local informant tells me that Michael Portillo was spotted on the platform at Gilberdyke station last week – so could it be that even he has now woken up to the charm and fascination of semaphore signals?