third programme on traditional railway signalling covers the
eighteen miles of the busy Mersey main line from Halton Junction to
the terminus at Liverpool Lime Street.
boxes and panels - each of them vastly different - cover this
fascinating route. As well as five different passenger train
operators, the route has six freight terminals dotted along it, and
this programme features many of the signalling movements that are
required for trains to access the various sites. At Edge Hill and
Lime Street, such is the intensity of the passing passenger services
that the Signaller had to provide a live running commentary as he
signalled the trains! As you will see, there is absolutely no margin
seven featured boxes are:
HALTON JUNCTION - the smallest of the seven boxes has a full
size lever frame. It handles London Midland and Virgin passenger
services and a variety of freight?traffic. The box also controls
access to the Halton Curve.
RUNCORN - built to air raid precaution specification, this Grade
2 listed building also has a full size lever frame. Situated by
Runcorn station, it also handles passenger and freight traffic
as well as controlling access to the Folly Lane freight branch.
DITTON JUNCTION - has a large Entrance-Exit (NX) panel. Freight
trains serving two nearby terminals require complex shunting
manoeuvres and this programme features both of them.
SPEKE JUNCTION - the largest full size lever frame on this
section of route, the Speke frame has 86 of them. The box also
controls access to and from the Garston Freightliner and
ALLERTON JUNCTION - situated by Liverpool South Parkway station,
this manual box houses a delightful 70 lever frame and controls
access to Allerton depot. The volume of passenger trains steps
up a gear as the main line is joined by the Cheshire Lines from
Widnes and Warrington Central.
EDGE HILL - houses a large and complex NX panel. The volume of
passenger trains steps up yet another level here with the
addition of the Chat Moss route from Huyton and Manchester. The
Signaller explains how Edge Hill undertakes the regulation of
trains in and out of Lime Street.
LIVERPOOL LIME STREET - has a magnificent Westinghouse 'L' type
power frame with 95 miniature levers. Passenger services at the
terminus are so intensive that the Lime Street Signallers handle
around approximately one train movement every two minutes during
the day. The Signaller here provides a live commentary while an
axle counter failure at Huyton adds some drama to the relentless
Produced with the full co-operation of Network Rail, this programme
was filmed during the summer of 2017 while all seven boxes were
still fully operational and before Lime Street station was
remodelled. All the scenes in this programme will eventually be
history - Halton Junction, Runcorn and Lime Street have already
closed and the others will follow in due course.