Crewe North signal box

Crewe North Junction signal box with its Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co. Ltd. Style 'L' Power Lever Frame was opened and commissioned on 29th March 1940 by the London Midland and Scottish Railway as part of the resignalling scheme for Crewe Station. It worked in conjunction with Crewe South Junction with its 227 levers to control the Crewe area. The signalbox remained in use for 48 years until its operation was take over Crewe Signalling Centre on the 19th July 1985.

The signalbox was built to a Non Standard ARP design and was fitted with a 214 lever Westinghouse 'L' frame. The standard London, Midland & Scottish Railway ARP design, the Type 13, were generally built with 14" thick brick walls, a reinforced concrete roof around 12" thick, concrete floors, the two ARP signal boxes built to control the approaches to Crewe station were built with 15" thick reinforced concrete walls and reinforced concrete roofs that were 18" thick. Enough difference to classify them as Non Standard designs.

crewe orth junction exterior

Picture by kind permission of © David A Ingham, this photograph was taken after closure on the 5th November 1990.

The frame was formed of 18 x 12 way section which made a total of 214 levers, The frame was two frames back - to - back 107 levers in each, {9x12}-1 = 107 levers, as the last “lever” space is unavailable. 65 of these levers worked the points, 120 signal levers operated the aspect coloured light signals, there were 7 special levers installed and 12 spare levers and 10 spaces when the frame was supplied and installed. This made the working lever total of 196. Picture by kind permission of © Graham Floyd

crewe north junction interior 1

A good general view of the interior of the signal box with its two frames back - to - back 107 levers in each frame, as far as we know this was the only 'L' style frame built this way. The above picture is taken from lever No.1 and that side of the frame looked out onto the Manchester lines. Picture by kind permission of © Graham Floyd.

crewe north junction interior 2

A general view of the interior of the signalbox with its with its 2nd of the two lever frames, this time Lever No. 108 through to No.214, this side looks out over the Holyhead lines. Picture by kind permission of © Graham Floyd

crewe north junctioon frame detail

Closeup detail of the centre of the 2nd lever frame No.108 through No.214. Behind the signalling levers one can see the glass roundels showed the signal aspect, being Red = Signal on and White = signal off. and for Distant signals Yellow = Distant Signal On / Off = Distant Signal Off. The flat indicators showed an 'N' and 'R' indication for points to show the points as having been detected in their Normal or Reverse position. The "F" light became lit when the points were free to move, with a White = Points Out of Correspondence. The odd grouped extrusions above groups of signal indications were route indications which lit on the frame when a route was set to confirm to the signalman that the correct route was set before he cleared the signal because the same signal lever cleared the signal for all routes. Picture by kind permission of © Graham Floyd

crewe north junction diagram 1 crewe junction north diagram 2

Detailed view of the track diagram on lever frame 2 - Lever No.108 through 214, with emphasis on the station platform area on the right hand side of the track diagram. The top of 3 of the block instrument can clearly be seen. The box being in the V of the junction meant that the frames were parallel to the track rather than facing the station. Picture by kind permission of © Graham Floyd

crewe north junction inside the lever frame

A closeup of the internal lever frame wiring loom, a real spaghetti junction of wiring! One can just make out on the extreme left and right of the picture the 2BA terminal bolts providing the electrical connections to the fixed brass contact strip that make contact with the rotating electrical contacts. To see the front of the drum style rotating electrical contacts, see Crewe South Junction web page. Picture by kind permission of © Graham Floyd

crewe north junction meseum display

Now that the signalbox is a museum in the Crewe Heritage centre, there is now a 'how it works' demonstration board, that allows the electronic interlocking to be explained, with demonstration relays on the shelf. Picture by kind permission of © Graham Floyd

crewe north junction relay room

Closeup of the relays in the relay room which is on the Ground floor, because the signalbox its now a museum and the public are admitted, the area has to be caged off, as the electric terminals carrying the 110v AC are live, and the public need to be protected. Picture by kind permission of © Graham Floyd

Diagrams

Attached is a Trackplan for Crewe North this can be downloaded in PDF format. This diagram is taken from the BR Layout Plans of the 1950s Volume 1: ex-LNWR main line, Euston to Crewe.. These images are copyright of the Signalling Record Society, and reproduced by permission.

Adjacent boxes

When opened it worked to the following boxes (note there was no change in distances between the 1937 sectional appendix and the December 1940 supplement which means the replacement box was at the same mileage as the old box),

On the West Coast Main line (south)
Crewe South Junction, 907yds away, was the adjacent box on the Down lines, except on the No.1 Down lines Crewe Station "A" box (463yds away) was the adjacent box, and Crewe Station "B" box (430yds away) was the adjacent box on the No.2 Down lines.
Crewe No.3, 340yds away, was the adjacent box on the Up lines.

Crewe No.3 box (also known as Scissors Crossing) was closed in 11/1958 and Crewe Station "B" box was closed on 10/04/1960, in both cases Crewe South Junction box became the adjacent box. Crewe Station "A" box was closed and Crewe South Junction box ceased to be a block post on 02/06/1985 when the adjacent box became Crewe Signalling Centre.

On the West Coast Main line (north)>
Crewe Coal Yard, 986yds away, was the adjacent box. This situation remained until Crewe North Junction box was closed.

On the Manchester line
Sydney Bridge, 1168yds away, was the adjacent box. Sydney Bridge box was closed in 05-8/06/1959 and Sandbach PSB (4m 839yds away) became the adjacent box. This situation remained until Crewe North Junction box was closed.

On the Chester line
Crewe Steel Works, 1m 421yds away, was the adjacent box. This situation remained until Crewe North Junction box was closed.

On the Chester Independent line
Salop Goods Junction, 760yds away, was the adjacent box. This situation remained until Crewe North Junction box was closed.