Walkden Signal Box aged 100 years in 1988 (picture by Harry Gardner)
As reported here a couple of years ago, Network Rail are currently converting the Walkden line to use modern colour-light signals controlled from Manchester Signalling Centre (at Salford Crescent).
This will mean the closure of the signal boxes at Walkden, Atherton, and Crow Nest: it is not known if the signalmen are being made redundant or being redeployed.
Modernisation will undoubtedly reduce operating costs, but many passengers will surely miss the nostalgic sight of the mechanical signals and lights that have guarded the line since it opened in 1888.
The signal box at Walkden is a historic rarity – a mechanical signal box that has stood and been used since the very first day the line it controls was opened. Over the last century literally thousands of similar signal boxes have been closed, rationalised, replaced or modernised – Walkden is a rare survivor !
For more history and pictures of the signal box, see this special page on the FOWS website.
FOWS would love to see the signal box preserved for posterity but it’s current location is not publicly accessible so re-location to a new home is the best for its survival after next spring.
If anyone is interested in preserving the box, please contact Network Rail to make further enquiries …. and good luck !