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 Post subject: Crewe to Weaver Junction
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:32 pm 
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Location: Woking, Surrey
I have always been puzzled by the LNWR's reluctance to widen the line north of Crewe. The Liverpool Tunnel lines at Crewe were opened for goods traffic on 24/09/00. Crewe Coal Yard signal box (74 levers) was opened in March 1902 with four running lines to Crewe North Junction. The line northwards was still two-track - Moreton's Crossing signal box (a new frame of 7 levers in the existing box) was reported as brought in in October 1906, and the next signal box was Minshull Vernon. Moreton's Crossing did not last long as the Coal Yard to Coppenhall Junction widening opened on 09/02/08. But it was not until LMS days that the sections from Coppenhall to Winsford Station and Acton Bridge to Hartford Junction were widened.

Between Weaver Junction and Coppenhall it appears there was only one running loop or refuge - the up and down goods loops from Winsford Junction to Verdins Sidings were brought in on 18/12/98. Before that it there was no way of looping a train between Warringon and Crewe. Or between Ditton Junction and Crewe on the Liverpool line.

That must have made the line very difficult to work. A slow goods train would require a margin of half an hour or more ahead of an express. That in turn enormously limited the line capacity.

Any comments or observations would be welcomed.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:33 am 
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In fact there was an up goods loop from Hartford Junction to Hartford Station. But that does not affect the thrust of my argument.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:16 am 
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This is a very important comment from our President. Excluding Winsford Station to Acton Grange Jct there were Up and Down Fast and Slow Lines from Crewe North Junction to Barton and Broughton by including the original line through Earlstown and the Whelley Loop. Near Hartford Station there is a major cutting and two viaducts cross the Weaver Navigation and land approaching Weaver Jct. A tunnel at Preston Brook would have required further work for additional Lines, but compared with other areas of the L&NWR where improvements were undertaken, Philips' comments are important. I doubt if subsidence around Winsford would be a problem and I am sure the costings for additional running lines must have been considered.

Local trip working and the 'motor train' to Over and Wharton would test regulation in respect of express passenger trains. In L&NWR days, the number of these expresses north of Crewe were comparatively few, and it is possible that regulation was not as difficult as anticipated. Overnight traffic would have been heavy, but the trains may have been of a similar speed at this time, overcoming the need to recess them during their passage. Daytime regulation would have been important. The short 'block sections' will have helped the volume of traffic and there were no severe gradients on the main line. Trains travelling via Runcorn encountered gradients crossing the river Mersey, but the volume of traffic would not have ben a major problem.

An examination of the minute books could be revealing, and in my opinion the work necessary for quadrupling will have been discussed. The Great War may have had an influence, but in my opinion, the short 'block sections' enabled the traffic at the time to be successfully accommodated. An interesting observation on a major section of the L&NWR well known to our President.

Brian.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:26 am 
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I think that the obstacles of the Vale Royal and Dutton viaducts, plus the cutting at Hartford and the tunnel at Preston Brook, must have made the idea of quadrupling simply too expensive. But I still wonder why the widening from Coppenhall to Winsford Station was not carried out until LMS days.

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