The 8D Association

LNWR / LUR Signal Boxes.

Prescot to Garswood.

There have been 16 boxes along this stretch of line at 11 locations with only one now surviving.


The first box to open at this location was a Saxby and Farmer built box and frame and was open by 1880. The frame was replaced by an LNWR 18 lever tumbler frame in 1897. The box survived until 25th July 1954 when it was abolished in conjunction with the opening of an LNWR type 5 box. The upper wooden portion of the box was second hand and of unknown origin built on a new brick base it was equipped with a BR LMR 25 lever frame. The box was abolished on 22nd September 2012 and subsequently demolished on 26th.

Prescot Signal Box in June 1989 sporting its BR MIdland colours but later on went into 'MerseyRail' yellow / black  trim livery prior to closure. Copyright: Doug Birmingham.

The signal lever frame inside Prescot Signal Box as in June 1989. By this time, it was just operating as a block post between Huyton and St Helens, hence the numerous out of use (white) levers which previously would of operated signals and points for the former BICC sidings. Copyright: Doug Birmingham   

Thatto Heath.

The only details for the original box here was that is had opened by 1871 and was closed by March 1892. In March 1892 a new LNWR type 4 box was opened equipped with a LNWR 15 lever tumbler frame. This box was abolished on 12th September 1954 with St Helens No3 and Prescot taking over regulation of the trains.

St Helens South.

A Saxby and Farmer box was opened here in 1871 it was a type 6 brick built box complete with a frame manufactured by the builders. The box was abolished in May 1896 in conjunction with the opening of a new box slightly further towards St Helens.

St Helens No3.

Opened in May 1896 this LNWR type 4 box with a wooden top on a brick base took over from St Helens South and controlled the approaches to St Helens station on the Huyton line and from Sutton Oak on the original line standing in the vee of the junction. It was equipped with an LNWR 54 lever tumbler frame. The box was abolished on 11th June 1972  and was subsequently demolished.

The LNWR box located within the vee of the Huyton and Widnes lines viewed looking across the Huyton line. 20th August 1971. Photo by J A Sommerfield.

St Helens No2 (St Helens Station).

St. Helens No2 signal box was a London and North Western Railway type 4 design opened in 1891 fitted with a 24 lever London and North Western Railway Tumbler frame, replacing an earlier signal box located just north of the overbridge which carried what the 1892 Ordnance Survey 1:500 map calls Sharp Street. The signal box was renamed St. Helens Station signal box in connection with Stage C of the commissioning of Warrington signal box which was carried out between on 30th September and 2nd October 1972. A National Railway Supplies individual function switch console with 12 switches was commissioned on 3rd December 1995 controlling a Down Goods Loop and an associated  connection with Pilkington's Oil Sidings between St Helens and Thatto Heath stations. SH108 signal was converted to an automatic signal in connection with the closing of Prescot signal box with the switch on the individual function switch console being decommissioned on 24th September 2013. The signal box was fitted with uPVC cladding and windows in the mid 2000s. The box remains open.

St Helens Station box located between the main line and the once extensive yard. 22nd April 1979. Photo by N D Mundy.

St Helens No 2 Signal Box as taken in August 1971. The sidings to the rear of the box were still in use at this time with a rake of box vans in the background. Photo by J.A.Sommerfield. 

The box viewed from the opposite side. The original name board seems to have been replaced with what looks like a station sign. 28th February 1988. Photo by David Ingham.

The box diagram showing the SH & RGR branching off to the left and labelled as the Up and Down goods and the branch to Gerrads bridge which originally went to Rainford can be seen to the top right. 28th February 1988. Photo by David Ingham. (The above two photographs have been supplied by David from his extensive Flickr photostream. To view more of his excellent pictures please click here )

Pocket Nook No1 / St Helens No1.

A box of unknown origin opened here during 1883 it was equipped with a 29 lever frame initially being reduced to 18 working levers on 10th November 1896. The box was abolished on 15th November 1931. The box was located to the west of Standish Street and was butted up directly to the bridge. It controlled the entrance and exit to the goods facilities at Shaw Street station.

Pocket Nook Junction.

An LNWR type 4 wooden top on a brick base box was opened here by 1880 initially equipped with an LNWR 37 lever tumbler frame which would latterly be extended to 39 levers, 1 to 37 and A & B. The box would be abolished on 1st October 1972 in connection with stage C of the commissioning of Warrington signal box. As well as controlling the junction with the St Helens avoiding line of the former LUR railway and the main line through to St Helens Shaw Street it also controlled the access lines to the Union Plate Glass Works, latterly the Atlas works and the sidings for Pocket Nook Colliery and the Globs Chemical Works.

Pocket Nook Junction box viewed from a passing train. Unknown date and photographer. (From the Robert Humm collection).

Gerards Bridge Junction.

The first box to open here did so in 1875 and would be abolished during November 1896. The second box opened during November 1896 and was an LNWR type 4 all wooden construction equipped with an LNWR 20 lever tumbler frame. The box would be abolished on 16th February 1969 with the closure of the St Helens Shaw Street avoiding line.

With Stanier Black 5, No 45156 'Ayrshire Yeomanry' rounding the curve working the 'Lancastrian 2' railtour the box at Gerrards Bridge Junction can be seen basking in the sunshine. 20th April 1968. Photo by Les Fifoot.

Carr Mill Junction.

The first box here had opened by 1880 and would be replaced by a second box in 1892. An LNWR type 4 wooden top on a tall brick base box equipped with a 50 lever LNWR tumbler frame which would later be extended to 52 levers, 1 to 50 and A & B. The box would be abolished on 24th September 1967.

The large 52 lever LNWR box at Carr Mill. 1960's. Photographer unknown. (From the Tony Graham collection).

Billinge Colliery Siding.

Very little is known about this box apart from it opened during 1916 and had 45 levers and closed during 1937.

Garswood Station.

The first box to open here was open by 1869 and was abolished in 1892 being replaced by an LNWR type 4 wooden top on a large brick base box. Equipped with an LNWR 40 lever tumbler frame which would be later extended to 48 levers. The box was abolished on 1st October 1972 in connection with stage C the commissioning of Warrington signal box with St Helens Station box taking control.

The large box at Garswood seen here with Stanier 8F No 48675 drifting past light engine presumably from Wigan Springs Branch. Date and photographer unknown. (From the Tony Graham collection).

Dedicated to promoting the history of the railways of South Lancashire and North Cheshire.
Community Web Kit provided free by BT