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Halifax Railway Station Signal Box

A Grade II Listed Building in Halifax, Calderdale

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.7215 / 53°43'17"N

Longitude: -1.8533 / 1°51'11"W

OS Eastings: 409780

OS Northings: 425016

OS Grid: SE097250

Mapcode National: GBR HTHD.KP

Mapcode Global: WHC9M.HQQF

Entry Name: Halifax Railway Station Signal Box

Listing Date: 7 September 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1454364

Location: Calderdale, HX1

County: Calderdale

Electoral Ward/Division: Town

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Halifax

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Summary

Railway signal box, 1884, by the Railway Signal Company for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, sited on a platform of the Grade II-listed railway station.

Description

Signal box, 1884 by the Railway Signal Company for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.

MATERIALS: brick laid in English Garden Wall bond to the lower portion, horizontal weatherboarding to the operational room. Welsh slate roof.

EXTERIOR: two-storey signal box with a brick ground floor (the locking room) and a horizontally boarded upper floor forming the operation room: from the station platform the signal box appears to be single storey, raised on a brick plinth, the locking room being under the station platform. The first-floor operating room has continuous glazing around all sides, mainly arranged in sashes of four-panes with horizontal and vertical glazing bars, a number of the sashes being horizontally sliding. The southern gable end has two wider fixed sashes of six panes each, with a four-pane window set high in the gable above. The northern gable has a central door flanked by two pairs of four-pane sashes, with a further four-pane window above. The sides have 17 four-pane sashes, the western side having an additional row of 32 fixed panes below. Below these, lighting the locking floor, are five further windows, the northernmost having been enlarged, the rest having segmentally arched heads. The roof oversails the gables and is finished with decorative bargeboards with spear-point finials.

INTERIOR: this is believed to have been extensively refitted in 1969.

History

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 practices 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 4,000 by 1970. In 2012, about 750 remained in use; it was anticipated that most would be rendered redundant over the next decade.

Halifax railway station signal box (originally known as Halifax East) was built in 1884 by the Railway Signal Company. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway used a number of specialist signalling contractors until it started building its own signal boxes in the later 1880s, these were based on those built by the Railway Signal Company. Halifax East was built as part of the redevelopment and enlargement of Halifax railway station in the 1880s to accommodate a connection northwards to a new line built by the Great Northern railway from Queensbury. It also replaced a signal box built in the late 1870s. The route to Queensbury Junction was closed in 1955. In 1969, as part of further rationalisation of lines and signalling, Halifax East was renamed Halifax and its frame of 70 levers was replaced with an Individual Function Switch Panel.

Reasons for Listing

Halifax Signal Box, of 1884 for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* as a relatively early, little altered, well-preserved example of a signal box sited on a station platform, designed by the Railway Signal Company.

Group value:
* enhances the interest of the immediately adjacent and Grade II-listed station buildings.

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