Former rural, wayside railway station built for the London and North Eastern Railway in 1932.
Reasons for Designation
The former Otterington Railway Station, including the station building, signal box, weighbridge office and associated features, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as a little altered, well-preserved example of a rural wayside railway station;
* for its architectural design, a streamlined aesthetic (very up to date for 1932) moderated by neo-Georgian detailing and massing.
* the station building, signal box and weighbridge office forms a well preserved suite of structures displaying complementary architectural design.
The railway line between York and Darlington was opened in 1841 by the Great North of England Railway, with Otterington Station open by 1843. The station buildings (with the exception of the station master’s house) were demolished and replaced in 1932-1933 by the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) as part of a widening scheme which saw the line increased to four tracks. This allowed express trains, using the central two tracks, to be unimpeded by slower local services using the outer two tracks. The new buildings were designed by Robert Alexander Darling (1885-1959) of the Architects’ Section of the LNER’s North Eastern Area Engineering Office at York. The station building was designed with a 1930s streamlined aesthetic, moderated with neo-Georgian detailing and massing. Unusually, the signal box was designed to complement the station building, the weighbridge office also being similarly detailed.
Otterington Station closed to passengers in 1958 and to goods traffic in 1964, but unlike other wayside stations also closed along the line, it was not demolished, but was retained as a storage depot, although the platform edge was cut back and the western platform, with its small waiting shelter, was completely removed. Around the time when the line was electrified between 1989 and 1991, the doorways in the station building that faced the line were bricked up. The surviving 1930s station buildings were then included as outbuildings in the sale of the station master’s house, the site becoming a private domestic property. The buildings were renovated by the new owner, including the re-installation of an appropriate lever-frame and other equipment in the signal box.
Signal boxes, cabins from which railway signals and points were operated, developed from the 1840s, as fully enclosed buildings from the 1860s. Their numbers peaked at around 12,000-13,000 for Great Britain just prior to the First World War and successive economies 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. The design of the signal box at Otterington is thought to have been bespoke for the site, however it is similar to two other signal boxes built elsewhere in the region and has been categorised as an LNER Type 12 signal box.
Former railway station, 1932 by RA Darling for the LNER.
MATERIALS: red brick, mainly laid in Flemish Bond, with artificial stone dressings. Windows are steel-framed. Roofs are tiled with plain red tiles, with bonnet tiles finishing the hips.
PLAN: the building is single depth and of five bays, the central three bays forming a single room for the booking office (on the south side) and waiting room (on the north side) accessed via opposed entrances to the central bay. The northernmost bay is divided into toilets, the ladies accessed from the waiting room, the gents externally from the gable end. The southernmost bay forms a store room accessed from a large doorway in the gable end.
EXTERIOR: the building features artificial stone imitating finely dressed sandstone ashlar banding and pilasters which are set to be nearly flush with the wall faces. These ashlar dressings consist of broad bands to the plinth and eaves, narrower cill bands, with pilasters forming the corners and bay divisions. The roof is hipped, being swept to deeply overhanging eaves, the hips having small gablets, and the ridge being pierced by two brick chimneys. The steel-framed windows are a mix of casements and fixed lights, all being small paned with very slim glazing bars.
The entrance front (east) is symmetrical. The central entrance is set in a large, projecting, ashlar doorcase that is pedimented, the double doors being part glazed. The flanking bays (which are slightly wider than the central entrance bay) each have a large central window, flanked by half-width windows. The end bays (which are slightly wider still) each have a run of four evenly spaced, high-set square windows above a large brick panel formerly used for advertisements.
The platform front (west) is similar to the east elevation except that the pediment above the entrance includes a mounting for a clock flanked by fasces (classical decorative ornament in the form of a bound bundle of straight rods) and the bay to the south has a single window and doorway in place of the tripartite arrangement of windows. Both doorways are neatly blocked with late-C20 brickwork.
The south gable end has a pair of sliding doors, the lower parts of the door jambs retaining protective metal plating. The north gable end has high-set louvered openings above a single doorway.
INTERIOR: the central room retains cast iron fireplaces to both north and south ends, complete with hearth surrounds stamped L&NER.
PLAN: single cell with operating room on the first floor accessed via an external stair to the north, above the ground floor locking room accessed from the south.
EXTERIOR: the signal box is continuously glazed to the west and the western two thirds of the north and south gables, the windows extending up to the eaves with tall lower panes and short top panes divided by thin glazing bars. The west side has four lights divided by mullions, the central two lights each being three panes wide, the flanking lights being two panes wide. The lights to the gables are all two panes wide, with three lights to the south gable, the north gable having a part glazed door in place of the eastern light. The windows have a continuous cill of artificial stone, with a thicker band forming a plinth at the level of the former platform. The roof is hipped, being swept to deeply overhanging eaves. The platform elevation includes the name board OTTERINGTON.
INTERIOR: the signal box contains a reinstalled LNER lever frame of 20 levers, the levers being appropriately badged for the display board set above. This display board has a copy of the original track and signalling layout for Otterington taken from the original plans held at the National Railway Museum.
PLAN: single cell.
EXTERIOR: this has broad plinth and eaves bands of artificial stone. Windows are steel-framed casements and fixed lights, each light divided into eight small panes with thin glazing bars, the window cills being formed from tiles. The north-west elevation has a single, large, four-light window; the south-west gable has a pair of two-light windows; the north-east gable has a centrally placed boarded door; the south-east has a chimney. The roof is hipped and swept to the eaves, but with only a slight overhang.
INTERIOR: retains its cast iron fireplace.
The station building is set on a raised platform which has been cut back on the western (track) side, but is otherwise complete. This includes a flight of steps up to the main entrance and a vehicle loading dock which projects east from between the station building and the signal box. On this platform there are two Windsor-style lamps set on concrete posts, one at the head of the steps, one to the side of the loading dock.