Crewe South signal box

Crewe South Junction signal box with its Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co. Ltd. Style 'L' Power Lever Frame opened and commissioned on 29th September 1940 by the London Midland and Scottish Railway, as part of the resignalling scheme for Crewe Station. It was built to a Non Standard ARP design and was fitted with a 227 lever Westinghouse 'L' frame, It worked in conjunction with Crewe North Junction with its 214 levers to control the Crewe area. The box was reduced to a non block post on 2nd June 1985 during the major renewals at Crewe station. The signalbox remained in use for 48 years until its operation was take over Crewe Signalling Centre on the 6th June 1985.

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.

A 48 lever section of this lever frame is now preserved in Ely Dock Junction on a private railway in Hertforshire.

crewe south junction exterior

Picture by kind permission of © David A Ingham, this was taken after closure on the 26/12/1986, before deterioration set in.

The official WB&SCo. picture of the Style 'L' Power Frame at Crewe South Junction. The frame was formed of 19 x 12 way section which made a total of 227 levers, {19x12}-1 = 227 levers, as the last “lever” space is unavailable. 72 of these levers worked the points, 127 signal levers operated the aspect coloured light signals, there were 8 special levers installed and 7 spare levers and 13 spaces when the frame was supplied and installed. This made the working lever total of 207. As can be seen two track diagram's were provided.

crewe south junction interal frame

The interior of Crewe South Junction signalbox taken around the time the signal box was commissioned in & around 1940. It includes rotary train describers, and it maintained traditional block working with normal block instruments to adjacent signalboxes. at least 18 block instruments are visible in the picture.

crewe south junction

A good general view of the interior of the signal box with its two track diagrams taken from the London end of the frame i.e. the high end numbered levers. 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. Picture by kind permission of© Graham Floyd

A general view of the interior of the signalbox with its 227 lever frame looking from near the low end lever numbers. Picture by kind permission of© Graham Floyd

Working the centre of the lever frame. Picture by kind permission of© Graham Floyd

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. The "F" light became lit when the points were free to move, with a White = Points Out of Correspondence indication light.

The drum style rotating electrical contacts seen here in some detail, each row represented one lever set of electrical contacts or switches. At the top we see the bevel gears which covert the forward and aft movement of the lever to a rotational movement of the barrel. Further down are the insulated drums with their individual brass rings and fixed contact arms. The number of fixed rings, contact arms is determined by numbers of interlocking circuits required to work the various points and signal circuits. To see the rear of the rotating electrical contacts and the wiring loom, see Crewe North Junction web page.

Detailed view of the track diagram with emphasis on the station platform area. Picture by kind permission of© Graham Floyd

A detailed view of the station end of the track diagram, unfortunately the quality is not good, but none the less the track layout can still be clearly ascertained. Picture by kind permission of© Graham Floyd

Another closeup of the track diagram, Picture by kind permission of© Graham Floyd, taken around 1985, which clearly shows the station throat, the Up and down movements at the station throat are controlled by a gantry that spans the running lines just a few yards away from the signalbox. For clarity the gantry signals are shown on the diagram below the station throat tracks, by super imposing it over the tracks on the diagram would result in confusion.

Diagrams

Attached is a Trackplan for Crewe South 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)
Basford Wood, 1367yds away, was the adjacent box. Basford Wood was reduced to a non block post on 31/07/1960 and Basford Hall Junction box (1m 851yds away) became the adjacent box. This situation remained until Crewe South Junction box was closed.

On the West Coast Main line (north)
Crewe North Junction, 907yds away, was the adjacent box on the Down lines, except on the No.1 Down lines Crewe Station "A" box (447yds away) was the adjacent box, and Crewe Station "B" box (480yds away) was the adjacent box on the No.2 Down lines.
Crewe No.3, 570yds 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 North Junction box became the adjacent box.

When Crewe South Junction box closed as a block post the adjacent box was Crewe North Junction box on all lines except Crewe Station "A" box on the No.1 Down lines.

On the North Stafford line
North Stafford Sidings, 550yds away, was the adjacent box. North Stafford Sidings box was closed on 21/10/1973 and Radway Green (4m 520yds away) became the adjacent box. This situation remained until Crewe South Junction box was closed (although Radway Green box actually closed on 03/06/1985, Crewe South Junction ceased to be a block post the previous day).

On the Shrewsbury line
Gresty Lane No.1, 675yds away, was the adjacent box. This situation remained until Crewe South Junction box was closed.