The 8D Association



A study of the signal boxes along the route from Liverpool Central to Padgate.

There have been a total of 50 boxes along the route over the years ranging from the original CLC manufactured to Air Raid Precaution and BR era boxes.

Liverpool Central.

In the 98 year life of Liverpool Central High Level station there was only 2 boxes controlling movements in and out of this cramped terminal. The first box opened with the station on 25th February 1874 and would have been a CLC type box and was located by the up lines. It was equipped with a 63 lever frame but was only to be operational for 15 years when it was replaced by the CLC box seen in the picture. The new box opened on 23rd June 1889 and was equipped with an 88 lever frame and was located on the Down lines. The frame was reduced in size to 52 levers and at closure the box had only 6 working levers.


The box at Liverpool Central which by this point was looking neglected. Most of the track had been removed and this large box was controlling a short section of track which was used by the Gatecare DMU servvice.
1971.
Photo by Les Fifoot.


St James.

The box at St James opened on 25th February 1874 in the deep sandstone cutting which the railway ran through en route to Liverpool Central High Level. The box opened with the opening of the extension from Brunswick to Liverpool Central on 25th February 1874. The box contained a 17 lever frame and although small regulated a large amount of services in an out of Central. The box closed in September 1934 being replaced by an Intermediate Block Section. There was a serious accident here on 15th October 1913 when due to a signalling error at Central the 14:30 Liverpool to Manchester express was run into by the 14:35 Central to Derby service. This was due to irregular working in the box at Central.

We have no picture of the box at St James if you have and would like to share it please send it to The8DAssociation@sky.com. It will be shown here and fully credited.

Brunswick North.

The first box to open at Brunswick North opened in 1878 and was located on the down line. Due to increased traffic it was abolished on 7th August 1904 when a CLC 2a box was opened which was equipped with a 44 lever frame. This box was refurbished with an extra row of lower windows added for better sighting and the first ever NX Panel installation on 28th February 1937. This reduced the frame size to 34 levers. The box remained open until 12th December 1973 when it was abolished and subsequently demolished. 
Brunswick North box was located between the running lines and at this point had the extra row of lower windows added. Stanier Black 5 44777 is seen passing the box light engine, the loco was built at Crewe works in June 1947 and would be withdrawn in June 1968 and cut up by Cohens of Kettering in January 1969. At this point the loco was allocated to 8A ( Edge Hill ).
1960's.
Photo by Graham Earle.


Brunswick South.

The box at Brunswick South also opened in 1878 and was a Saxby and Farmer type 9 box it was positioned on the Down side and was equipped with a 22 lever frame. The box was abolished on 20th September 1936 to allow track remodelling and the resignalling of the area.

We do not have a picture of Brunswick South if you do and would like to share it please send it to The8DAssociation@sky.com. It will be shown here and fully credited.

Brunswick Junction.

This box had a very short life opening on 25th February 1874 and closing in 1878 probably with the opening of the north and south boxes at Brunswick. The box was a Saxby and Farmer type which was equipped with a 48 lever frame and was located on the Down side.

Park Street.

Another box which had a short life in signal box terms. The box opened as a block post on 1st June 1864 and closed on 25th February 1874.

St Michaels.

The box here opened on 1st June 1864 and was a CLC type 2 box which was located on the Up side. The box was replaced by an Intermediate Block Section and was abolished on 28th October 1934.

Otterspool.

The first box to open here was on 1st June 1864 and was located on the Up side the box was abolished on 4th September 1912 when the new CLC type 2 box opened. The new box at Otterspool had 36 levers and controlled a new loop to Mersey Road. The box lasted until 12th December 1973 when it was abolished.


A charming picture of the box at Otterspool, It looks to be in a rural location.
17th August 1970.
Photo by Graham Earle.

Mersey Road.

The box here opened on 1st June 1864 and was positioned on the Down side. A loop was added in 1912 for the box to control and with this the lever frame was replaced and became 29 levers. The box was abolished on 24th May 1933 and was demolished.

Cressington Junction.

With the opening of the line to Glazebrook on 1st March 1873 a new box was opened to control the junction with the main line. This would be Cressington box opened on 5th March 1873 and was positioned on the Down side. The original box only lasted 18 years and was abolished on 1st March 1891. On the same day the new box was opened which was a CLC CL1a type box the box was originally raised on a base but had this removed later. This new box was located in the 'v' of the junction with the Glazebrook branch. The box survived until 4th September 1977 when it was abolished.




Cressington Junction box after the base was removed to reduce its height.
1968.
Photo by Graham Earle.

Garston Gates.

A Crossing existed at Garston and opened on 1st June 1864 controlled by 5 ground levers and probably with a crossing keepers hut or small cottage. The frame was located on the Up side and was only used as required after 1907. The crossing was abolished after 1967.

Garston Station.

The box at Garston station opened in April 1874 and was a Non Standard CLC box and was located at the end of the Up platform. It was of wooden construction with a hipped roof. The box had a new 20 lever frame installed on 15th March 1903. The box was abolished on 23rd July 1967 and was subsequently demolished. 

Garston station box with a train standing in the platform.
1960's.
Photo by Graham Earle.

Hunts Cross West Junction.

West Junction box opened as a result of the widening of the line to four tracks from Allerton to Halewood. The box was an LM 15 BR type box which was a brick base with a wooden operating floor on top. It was equipped with a London Midland region standard 65 lever frame and was located in the 'v' of the junction it controlled. The box lasted until the resignalling of the area and was abolished on 5th December 1982.

                   
Two views of Hunts Cross West Junction taken from the cab of a DMU.
1972.
Photos by James MacKenzie.

To view more of the James Mackenzie collection click here

Hunts Cross Junction and West.

This box opened on 27th June 1873 as Hunts Cross Junction and was renamed Hunts Cross West in December 1879. The box was abolished in connection with the quadrupling of the line from Allerton to Halewood on 12th April 1883 and was replaced by a CLC standard box which opened on the same date. The new box was abolished on 2nd December 1956 with the opening of Hunts Cross West Junction box.

Hunts Cross.

Located at the east end of the Up platform at Hunts Cross station is the modern signalling centre. Which contains an NX panel for the regulation of trains in the area. Certainly efficient but sadly lacking in character.

 
The modern signalling centre at the east end of Hunts cross station can be seen standing on the redundant trackbed to the left of the train. A Class 31/4 crosses from the down to the up to deposit passengers connecting with Merseyrail services before making its way to Liverpool.
1987.
Photo by Terry Callaghan.



The interior of the box at Hunts Cross station showing the NX Panel.
Date unknown.
Photo by James Mackenzie.
To view more of the James Mackenzie collection click here

Halewood West Sidings.

There were a number of boxes to control the junctions and sidings complex around Halewood. Halewood West Sidings was located on the goods lines and was open by August 1881. It was essentially a small hut with only 4 levers located in the middle of the running lines. It was relocated on 23rd December 1900 on the Up lines until 2nd April 1932 when it was reduced to a Ground Frame it was abolished on 14th May 1967.

Halewood West Junction.

Controlling the goods line signals only and located on the Down side this box opened on 23rd August 1881 with a 30 lever frame. It controlled access for eastbound trains onto the CLC North Liverpool Extension for access to the docks and Southport. The box was equipped with a new CLC 40 lever frame on 1st August 1915 the box was abolished due to rationalisation of the sidings in the area on 21st October 1962.

Wood Road Siding.

This box opened on 13th December 1876 and was located on the Down side the box was renamed Halewood West on 1st December 1879. Due to the rapid expansion of the sidings complex it would close after a short life on 23rd August 1881 with the opening of Halewood West Junction.

Halewood East Junction.

The first box to open here did so on 1st December 1879 but was short lived with the building of the North Liverpool line it was soon replaced by a CLC type CL1a box around 1879/80. This box was positioned on the Down side and was equipped with a CLC 32 lever frame. This new box lasted until 21st October 1962 when it was abolished and replaced with a BR LM15 type box equipped with a London Midland standard frame containing 60 levers. With the closure of the remaining section of the North Liverpool line the lever frame was reduced to 20 levers on 18th March 1979. The box suffered a serious fire on 26th October 1981 and was switched out it was finally abolished on 24th January 1982 and demolished.


The box at Halewood East seen from the cab of a passing DMU.
1972.
Photo by James Mackenzie.
To view more of the James MacKenzie collection click here

Halewood Station.

A box existed here for a very short period from April 1874 to December 1879 the box was replaced with the opening of Halewood East Junction.

Bridge 63.

Due to what must have been major engineering works at bridge 63 a temporary box was opened on 8th March 1925 and was abolished by August 1926.

Springfield.

Opening on 27th February 1898 and located on the Up side this box was abolished on 29th September 1929. It was replaced by Intermediate Block Signals which were inspected on 13th November 1930.

Hough Green Junction.

The original Hough Green Junction box opened on 15th May 1879 and controlled the junction with the GC & MR loop line which opened for traffic 1st July 1879. The box contained a 24 lever frame and was located on the Up side. The box had its lever frame replaced with a CLC 28 lever frame. The box was abolished and replaced with a BR LM15 type box which opened in 1961. It was equipped with a London Midland standard 30 lever frame. It was abolished on 18th December 1988 and was the victim of an arson attack on 6th September 1989 and subsequently demolished. 



Hough Green box after it had received some protection against vandalism with the bricking up of the lower windows and metal grilles over the windows.
Date unknown.
Photo by Graham Earle.



Two shots of the repainted box at Hough Green the metal grilles over the front windows had been removed.
12th February 1988.
Photos by David Ingham.


The box diagram inside Hough Green box.
12th February 1988.
Photo by David Ingham.
To view more of Davids 's excellent images on his extensive Flickr site click here

Hough Green Station.

A box was opened here in April 1874 but with the building of the loop line through the centre of Widnes a new box was needed. The box was abolished on 15th May 1879 with the opening of Hough Green Junction.

Farnworth Station.

Opened on 27th June 1873 and located on the Down side the box lasted until 20th November 1904 when a new box opened on the same side although west of the original. The new box was a CLC type CL2a box equipped with a CLC frame of 28 levers. It was renamed Widnes North along with the station on 2th January 1959. The box would last another 8 years being abolished on 8th October 1967.


Widnes North box as it was now known, the box stood between the main line and the sidings which used to serve the station. Seen here from a passing train with the station visible in the background.
1960's.
Photo by Graham Earle.

Farnworth East.

Opened on 9th January 1898 this box was located on the Down side and had a relatively short life. The box was a tall cabin adjacent to an overbridge and controlled movements from the main line to the new line to Tanhouse. The box would be abolished with the opening of the loop line as a through route as eastbound trains would gain access to the line from the junction at Hough Green. The box was renamed Widnes West on 17th April 1878 and was out of use by 1880.

Widnes East Junction.

The first box to open at this location did so on 17th April 1878 although the new branch to Tanhouse had been ready since 20th March 1878. The original box was only open until 1st November 1891 when it was replaced by a CLC type CL1a box which was located 164 yards further towards Farnwoth. The newer box was equipped with a CLC 24 lever frame was of all wooden construction with large sash windows. This box was eventually replaced on 8th April 1956 by a BR LM15 type box with a 30 lever frame. Following the closure of the loop line via Widnes Central the box had its lever frame reduced to 20 levers. A serious fire at the box on 5th April 1987 was to prove terminal and the box was abolished on 13th December 1987 and subsequently demolished.



The 1891 box shortly before being abolished. It was an all wood construction due to being located on an embankment.
1956.
Photo by Gordon Howarth.


The BR LM15 box which replaced the 1891 box above.
Photo by Graham Earle.



The box seen from a train on the loop line about to join the main line.
1950's.
Photo by Neville Conroy.


The BR LM15 Type box shortly after the fire which resulted in its closure.
1987.
Photo by Terry Callaghan.

Sankey Station.

The first box to open here did so in April 1874 and was located on the Up side. It was replaced by a CLC CL2c type box on 14th July 1918. This box was an all brick construction equipped with a CLC 24 lever frame and was also located on the Up side. The box was abolished on 16th December 1973.




Two views of the box at Sankey Station the box would be abolished within 5 months of these shots being taken.

The Sankey Station box diagram.
All taken 17th July 1973.
All photos by David Lennon.
To view more of David's interesting and extensive Flickr Photostream click here
     
Burtonwood.

A box was open here to control entry to the United States Air Force base. Which had large volumes of traffic especially during World War 2. The box was closed on 24th October 1965 and replaced by a ground frame of 3 levers released by Widnes East until its closure on 20th December 1987. The ground frame was out of use by 9th May 1993 and the base closed on 2nd June 1993.

Sankey Junction.

A box was built here to control the junction between the direct Manchester line and the loop which ran through Warrington Central. The first box had opened by 1st January 1883 for the use of contractors in conjunction with construction of the direct line, which opened on 13th August 1883. The box which was located on the Up side was short lived and was abolished on 9th December 1894 with the opening of a new box located on the Down side. This second box too was abolished on 21st November 1943 and was replaced with a LM & SR type LM13 Air Raid Precautions box. This box was also located on the Down side but 293 yards further west of the second. It was of all brick construction with a concrete slab roof to protect against bomb damage. It was equipped with a 45 lever frame and would remain operational until 3rd March 1969 when it was abolished in conjunction with the closure of the direct line.


A shot of the type 13 ARP box at Sankey Junction the signal arms have been removed from the left hand post showing that the Warrington avoiding line has closed.
Date unknown.
Photo by David Lennon.
To view more of David's interesting and extensive photostream click here


Whitecross Junction.

The first box located here was opened on 5th June 1875 and was located on the Up side. It had 9 working levers upon opening and would be abolished on 10th August 1902 and replaced by another box which was located immediately west of the former. This second box was abolished on 5th July 1930 in connection with a new box opening a short distance away.

Bewsey.

The box here opened on 5th July 1930 and was a CLC CL2a type box of all wooden construction located on the Down side and was 110 yards further west than Whitecross box which it replaced. The box was equipped with a CLC 33 lever frame and would remain open until 11th November 1973 when it was abolished.




Bewsey box photographed shortly before it was closed.
early 1970's.
Both photos by David Lennon.
To view more of David's interesting and extensive Flickr photstream click here


Dallam Forge and Bewsey Jct.

The box here had opened on 19th September 1874 but the branch it controlled had opened in June 1873. It is possible that a Ground Frame or primitive box existed at the location beforehand. The box was equipped with a 13 lever frame initially but this was extended to a 24 lever frame later. The box would be abolished with the opening of the new Bewsey box on 5th July 1930.

Warrington Central.


The first box to open at Warrington Central was a CLC CL1a type box and it opened on 26th August 1894. It was of all wooden construction and located on the Down side. It was equipped with a CLC 46 lever frame. It had a long life finally being abolished on 11th November 1973 with the building of a new box. The second box here was opened on 11th November 1973 and is a BR LM15 box of all wooden construction located on the Down side. It is equipped with a London Midland standard 55 lever frame and is still in use today. It is interesting to note that the new box at Warrington Central is the ex Platt Bridge Junction box which was moved here.


The original CLC box for Warrington Central can be seen here some 5 months before being abolished.
15th June 1973.
Photo by David Lennon.
To view more of David's interesting and extensive Flickr photosteam click here



Warrington Central box seen in the mid 90's looking in very good shape, for a second hand box.
May 1994.
Photo by Terry Tracey.
To view more of Terry's signal box pictures click here


Warrington Station.

A box existed for the regulation of trains through the station opening on 29th June 1873 but it was abolished with the opening of the first Warrington Central box on 26th August 1894.

Warrington Sidings.

The vast CLC warehouse which stand by the line directly east of Warrington Central generated large quantities of traffic, there was also the CLC signalling works producing boxes and frames for the CLC. With the expansion came a new box opening on 18th January 1914. A CLC CL2b box of all wooden construction located on the Up side. It was equipped with  CLC 28 lever frame and also was a release point for the Ground Frames at Warrington Sidings No1 ( 3 levers) and Warrington Sidings No2 ( 3 levers ).
With the rationalisation in the area the box was abolished on 11th November 1973.


The all wooden box at Warrington Sidings. A Class 108 DMU can be seen in the sidings probably the Liverpool to Warrington Central service.
Date unknown.
Photo by David Lennon.
To view more of David's interesting and extensive Flickr photostream click here


Warrington Workshops.

Home to the CLC workshops Warrington Workshops box was opened on 23rd August 1881 and was located on the Up side. The box was a CLC CL1 type box of all wooden construction. It was initially equipped with a 12 lever frame but had a new 26 lever CLC frame installed in 1899. Again with the rationalisation in the area it was to be abolished on 11th November 1973.


The rails into the sidings complex suggest they are seeing frequent use. The box is starting to lean towards the running line and this is more prominent in the following picture.
early 1970's.
Photo by David Lennon.
To view more of David's interesting and extensive Flick photostream click here



A view of Warrington Workshops box looking towards Warrington. The sidings branched off to the workshops complex.
Date unknown.
Photo by James MacKenzie.
Reproduced with permission from John Tilly's website.
To view more signal box pictures from John's site click here


Another view of the box this time looking towards Padgate. Although still in use the sidings look as though they are not seeing much traffic.
Date unknown.
Photo by James MacKenzie.
Reproduced with permission from John Tilly's website.
To view more signal box pictures from John's site click here


Padgate Junction.

The box here had opened by 1st January 1883 in conjunction with the construction of the direct route avoiding Warrington Central. The box was a CLC CL1 type box of all wooden construction and was located on the Up side. It was equipped with an 18 lever frame and remained open until 12th March 1969. It was abolished in conjunction with the closure of the direct route.

We do not have a picture of Padgate Junction box, if you do and would like to share it please send it to terry0209@sky.com. It will be shown here and fully credited.

Padgate Station.

The first box located here was opened on 1st September 1873 and was located on the Up side. It was equipped with a 25 lever frame it was abolished on 11th March 1906 with the building of a new box. The new box opened on 11th March 1906 and was a CLC CL1a type box of all wooden construction which was also located on the Up side. It was equipped with a CLC 30 lever frame and was operational until 26th February 1967 when it was abolished.


The CLC box at Padgate with LMS Stanier Black 5 45455 with a train bound for Manchester. 45455 was new to traffic in September 1938 and was withdrawn in August 1967 from its home depot at Carlisle Kingmoor.
Date unknown.
Photographer unknown.
Supplied by Ray from his woody iow ebay shop.

Padgate box in a state of partial demolition which was considered to be a danger to passing trains. A temporary speed restriction was imposed on all traffic passing the box until B.R. engineers had inspected the building and declared it not to be a danger to passing traffic.
28th July 1967.
Photo by Ray Walkington.






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