Norton West Signal Box

North East railway upgrade continues with signalling revamp

Rail passengers in the North East are set to benefit from a better, more reliable rail service as a major project to modernise signalling continues.

The vast upgrade is part of a multi-million-pound project on the Durham Coastline in the Billingham/Stockton area where the old signal-box based signalling system for controlling trains is being relocated to a high-tech centre in York.

For this modernisation work to take place safely, there will be some changes to rail services:

  • Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 January – Buses will replace trains between Hartlepool and Middlesbrough/Nunthorpe.
  • Saturday 6 and Tuesday 9 February – Buses will replace trains between Hartlepool and Stockton and between Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

To allow these vital improvements to take place and to make space for the new equipment, teams will also remove Norton West signal box on Blakeston Lane and Billingham signal box on Station Road.

Billingam signal box interior

While the signal boxes have become a well-recognised and much-loved part of the community over the decades, the cost of upkeep for these tired buildings standing without a working purpose is significant, and unfortunately only those with listed status will be able to be preserved.

Chris Gee, Operations Director for Network Rail, said: “These improvements between Stockton-on-Tees and Billingham are vital to modernise the railway and bring more reliable services for passengers.

“We want to thank passengers for continuing to follow the latest government guidelines. Some of this work can only take place safely when there are no trains on the line. If you have to travel, please check your journey and allow plenty of time.”

Images: Network Rail 

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