Right until closure in 1984, South Pelaw Junction itself was signalled using semaphore signals although colour light signals were in use on the approach from Ouston Junction.
The subject of signalling is far too complex to go in to on this site but, suffice to say, the North Eastern Region railway company who originally built the line liked complex signals as the photo of the gantry at Stella Gill further down this page shows.
Below is the Signalling Diagram for the junction from 1963 when the South Pelaw Colliery sidings (to the top of the diagram) and all of the Stella Gill Sidings were still in use. The line from the Ouston Junction and the East Coast Mail Line comes in from the bottom left with the climb up to Consett starting bottom right.
Reproduced with permission from John Hinson
The distant signal, situated at the top of Pelton Bank, for the down line to South Pelaw Junction from Consett. (1985) Photo copyright Mark Goadby
With the abandoned site of Stella Gill sidings in the foreground, a bracket signal which used to control access to the junction for trains approaching from Consett. (June 1984) Photo copyright Mark Goadby
Photographs of the front of the South Pelaw signal box are relatively rare. Taken in 1982 by which time some of the junction trackwork had already been lifted. Photo copyright Mark Goadby
With the bridge carrying Pelton Lane in the background, a bracket signal stands unused on the approach to the junction (June 1984). Photo copyright Mark Goadby
Stella Gill Flatts Signal Box and the signal gantry that controlled the 30+ sidings in Stella Gill Yard. Behind the signal box is the NCB sheds which still stands today and the left of that is part of Stella Gill coke works. Photo copyright Keith Hoult