Mersey Boxes


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Mersey Boxes

Our 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.

Seven 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 for error.
 

 

The seven featured boxes are:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 automotive terminals.

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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.

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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.

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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 action!

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. 


Programme Fact File

Introduction: David Maxey
First Published: 2018
Route Featured: Weaver junction - Liverpool Lime St
Class Featured: 66, 86.
Availability: Now.

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