Archive for the ‘Signal Box’ Category

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Walkden line re-signalling update

July 13, 2013
One of the soon-to-be removed signals at Walkden in December 2010

One of the soon-to-be removed signals at Walkden in December 2010

Conversion of the Walkden line to full electronic signalling is nearing completion, with the system due to go live at the end of this month.

As previously noted on this blog, this will entail the closure of the historic signal box and removal of the picturesque mechanical signals, but will deliver a more reliable and efficient railway, and permit more frequent services along the line than are currently possible.

To facilitate final installation works the line will be closed on Sunday 28th July and a bus replacement timetable will operate: the timetable can be downloaded from Northern Rail here.

 

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Signal box closure confirmed for March next year

November 11, 2012

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 !

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Walkden Signal Box slated for closure

October 16, 2010

Network Rail have revealed plans to close the signal box at Walkden, as well as those at Atherton and Crow Nest Junction near Hindley.

We are waiting to hear more details from Network Rail about their plans for the line and the schedule for closure. We presume the boxes’ closure means the line will be converted to modern colour-light signalling in place of the mechanical “semaphore” signals currently used.

The closure proposal can be read on Network Rail’s website.

Colour light signals will probably mean reduced operating costs for the line (reducing the number of signalling staff required), and is a positive sign of Network Rail’s commitment to the line’s future as a “heavy-rail” (i.e. not tram) route.

Walkden signal box is an historic building dating from the year of the line’s opening in 1888. Although it was clad in modern exterior materials in 2002 we believe that the original building is largely intact beneath and have initiated enquiries about safeguarding its long-term future.