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Chester Northgate Station (Layout of a Lifetime)maybe


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Well while the home for this layout is currently under construction (see New Home needs a new shed) my thoughts and dreams are turning to the practical logistics of building a layout where I can recreate my childhood memories. I grow up in the Chester area and my parents house backed onto a plot of allotments, beyond which was Chester West Jnc signal box where the ex Great Centre line from Wrexham and the Wirral formed a junction to Chester Northgate and the line on to Northwich and Manchester Central. At the junction the dis-used Liverpool Road station (Closed in the early 1950's) stood before the Liverpool Rd and Victoria Rd bridges where the two lines went their separate ways. My earliest memories are of the sound of wagons being shunted in the coal sidings into Alan Morris's Yard where a huge stock of house coal was built up over the summer months in readiness for the coming winter. Other shunting movements would be going on around the junction area and wagons would be moved off towards Chester Northgate station. 

I can remember regular train journeys to Shrewsbury and Rhyl where family members lived and a school trip to London by train but all for these would involved a departure from Chester General Station where the former LNWR and GWR lines served the city. It was a chance train journey to Wrexham on one of the 'New DMU's ' that first gave me the first experience of Chester Northgate . I can remember a large barn like station which although there was a train shed not a great deal of shelter were be given from a biting cold winter's day. As school days beckoned I was able to take the long way home and was able see over the sleeper build fence by standing on the top of an old telegraph stump and could watch the trains coming and going into the Northgate station area.

 

It has really been in later life that my interest in this outpost of the former Great Central / LNER and formerly Cheshire Lines Committee. As searches for new subjects to model were being sort a chance purchase of a book by Paul Bolger 'Merseyside Railway Stations & District' had a section about Chester Liverpool Rd and Chester Northgate is included and the memories came flooding back. Further research has revealed what an interesting place it was with many ex LNER locomotive classes operating far from their home areas.   

 

post-5136-0-77627300-1432072561.jpg

 

The above map shows the extent of the station area and approaches, as to exactly how much I get get into model form will have to be thought about very carefully. The area of the new shed is 8 metres by 4 metres but I'm hoping to also house a small 0 gauge shunting layout for exhibition layout so some compromises will have to taken into the mix. 

 

If anyone reading this thread has any information regarding this station I would very interested to learn more for this ongoing project. 

 

post-5136-0-07595100-1432073523.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I can't provide you with information, but I can register my interest, as my Dad used to hold me up to look over the wall at one end of Victoria Road, so I could watch the trains in the early to mid 60's. Don't ask me what they were, I was too young, what I do remember is the noise and smell!!!

 

Jinty ;)

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It's something you never forget is'nt Jinty I have many happy memories of watching trains from Victoria Road as well as Brook Lane where the line to Birkenhead went under the CLC line from Manchester. The great advantage with the area around the back of the Northgate site was a large area of overgrown land between the back of the loco shed area and the triangle on the west end of Chester General where you could watch trains from all sides. Like you I was totally unaware of what I was looking at but just loved it all, hence the long lasting effect it has on my life.  :locomotive:

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When I was down there last year i noticed that the council have made a type of park area behind where the South Junction signal box used to be and it's been called 'Northgate Ponds'  Its certainly a nice area and the 'pits' as there were are a lot cleaner then they used to be. 

A few more pics from my collection to bring back those memories. 

 

Front from Victoria Road at the bus depot end 

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Front from city end

post-5136-0-79384200-1432159916.jpg

post-5136-0-32407200-1432159969.jpg

 

These were taken in July 1968 by which time the eastern train shed had been removed as well as the supporting wall and a bus shelter type shed was the only protection from the weather on platform 2. From memory the Wrexham trains were routed onto this platform and the Manchester trains used Platform 1. 

 

As it used to be :

post-5136-0-22777200-1432160376.jpg

 

I will dig out some more over the next couple of weeks hopefully

 

 

 

 

 

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Articles in the Jan and Feb 1972 Railway Magazine on 'Great Central on the Welsh Border', Jan issue has two photos of Northgate, in 1968 and 1969.

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Thanks for those last two posts very welcome I will check them out . I know more recently Tony Wright wrote some articles in British Railways Illustrated under the title ' A Chestrain's Urchin Tales' and I have recently spoken to him directly. Did'nt know that he was a Chester lad !! certainly had some interesting information. There was also an excellent article in Steam Days Oct 2009 with some very informative info and pics. 

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Here is a sketch of the Chester South Jcn signal box diagram.

The original diagram had a date of 4/9/1961 but this may be the date the draughtsman drew it; it may have gone into the box at a later time.

 

The diagram has a ground signal numbered 25a (by the signal box), this was an additional lever inserted into the frame between levers 25 and 26 at some date.

 

post-6748-0-87167500-1432289886_thumb.jpg

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Here is a sketch of the Chester South Jcn signal box diagram.

The original diagram had a date of 4/9/1961 but this may be the date the draughtsman drew it; it may have gone into the box at a later time.

 

The diagram has a ground signal numbered 25a (by the signal box), this was an additional lever inserted into the frame between levers 25 and 26 at some date.

 

attachicon.gifChester South Jcn 001 (1200 x 574).jpg

 

That's quite a strange arrangement of tracks. Prototype for everything department.

 

Presumably the result of some "rationalisation" hence the need for a new drawing???

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Here is a sketch of the Chester South Jcn signal box diagram.

The original diagram had a date of 4/9/1961 but this may be the date the draughtsman drew it; it may have gone into the box at a later time.

 

The diagram has a ground signal numbered 25a (by the signal box), this was an additional lever inserted into the frame between levers 25 and 26 at some date.

 

attachicon.gifChester South Jcn 001 (1200 x 574).jpg

Wow that's excellent information . So that means that the East Junction Box by Brook Lane controlled the areas into the good yards and loco depot. I have read that drivers had to sound two sharp whistles to notify the signalman of any movements and this information ties in with that fact as the East box was some way around the east curve on the main line. Chester West Box which was at the back of my parents home controlled the west junction and movements into Alan Morris coal yard. I can remember quite a lot of shunting taking place at that end but am not sure whether is was just for the coal yard as often wagons were left on the lines between the old platforms of Liverpool Rd station into Northgate.  

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That's quite a strange arrangement of tracks. Prototype for everything department.

 

Presumably the result of some "rationalisation" hence the need for a new drawing???

When first built Chester Northgate was just for trains from Manchester as purely a Cheshire Lines Committee enterprise. The Great Central built the line to Wrexham and the Wirral areas and thus added the triangle in the process. The South and East Box's where of Cheshire Lines design but the West Box was I believe McKenzie & Holland design built under contract.

The practise was for trains from both directions could access both platforms though Manchester trains normally used platform one and Wrexham / Wirral trains used platform 2.

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Just last week bought Middleton Press Country Railway Routes 'Wrexham to New Brighton including Connah's Quay and Chester northgate'.  Price £17.95. Would be very useful to you I am sure. Seven photos of the actual Northgate train shed plus others of the approaches and a scale track plan.

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Just last week bought Middleton Press Country Railway Routes 'Wrexham to New Brighton including Connah's Quay and Chester northgate'.  Price £17.95. Would be very useful to you I am sure. Seven photos of the actual Northgate train shed plus others of the approaches and a scale track plan.

Snapped this book up when there were first published last year excellent value for money that series .  There's also one on the Manchester line too

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The practise was for trains from both directions could access both platforms though Manchester trains normally used platform one and Wrexham / Wirral trains used platform 2.

 

But not as shown on that diagram. Trains from Manchester can access both platforms but Wrexham/Wirral trains only one of them. So it looks to me as though some pointwork has been removed.

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Here is a sketch of the Chester South Jcn signal box diagram.

The original diagram had a date of 4/9/1961 but this may be the date the draughtsman drew it; it may have gone into the box at a later time.

 

The diagram has a ground signal numbered 25a (by the signal box), this was an additional lever inserted into the frame between levers 25 and 26 at some date.

 

attachicon.gifChester South Jcn 001 (1200 x 574).jpg

 

I am not quite sure how one would insert an extra lever into a frame. And yet it would need to be interlocked with the crossover. We need input from one of our resident experts.

 

I also wonder why they bothered. At that location, it would normally be considered OK for the loco shunt to be authorised by way of thbe signalman flagging from the box.

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This is very interesting information that has been uncovered by that signal box diagram because on several occasions during my research it has been mentioned that trains from both directions could access both platforms. The diagram checks out with the John Swift Collection British Railways Layout Plans of the 1950's. and it is interesting to note that the sidings opposite the signal box are marked as re-fueling siding's. which also tie in with the 1958 OS map. when the DMU's had started operation so the layout prehaps was changed for this new operation ..... I will have to go to Chester Library and check out the earlier OS maps.Being the Cheshire Lines / Great Centre the movement probably involved a double slip at the junction if the Liverpool Road sidings is anything to go by.  I know that changes have been made over the years as the older O/S which was  pre-war, shows the Locomotive deport before the blackout shed was constructed over the ash pits and there had been some sort of structure along the  water tower  which covered the track nearest to the signal box. 

The other change that I noted about these older maps was the fact that in the early years both platforms used to have watering columns but all the pictures and later maps show no trace of such structures. It would appear that engines went to the shed for this operation and would be turned on the turntable rather than using the triangle. Also the sidings to the east of the main goods shed served a Banana depot which would have been added to the original layout

The other movement that I'm interested to find out about is how good trains that approached from the Dee Marsh end where shunted into the goods sidings alongside the station. I know a lot of shunting went on at the Liverpool road station area but would the shunt include the use of the main line along the triangle to access the goods yard ???? 

Anyone have any ideas please :scratchhead:  :scratchhead:

 

I will find some copies of the two other box layouts at East and West Junctions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am not quite sure how one would insert an extra lever into a frame. And yet it would need to be interlocked with the crossover. We need input from one of our resident experts.

 

I also wonder why they bothered. At that location, it would normally be considered OK for the loco shunt to be authorised by way of thbe signalman flagging from the box.

 

The BR diagram notes that the South box was a 32 level frame so I presume that the spare levels were used ??? 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Gismorail, I've just been having a look through and you have some good info coming in, I'm looking forward to seeing this develop.

 

I was at Bala a couple of weeks ago and popped into Carog Station, and also Corwen, although not much to see there yet.

 

Good luck with this project.

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Hi Andy 

Next time your in the area let me know as I'm only about a mile from Carrog station Hopefully on your next visit the shed will be finished and some railway could well be up 

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Thanks for your interest Dave hope you find it useful as the thread / layout develops. Like you it's the urban/semi-urban terminus location and the fact that it was on my door step when I was a lad. As a terminus station it does lend itself to being quite a compact layout, as to how much I have to reduce the actual size compared to the prototype will very much depend on how the two junctions can be accommodated within the area of my new shed once it's completed. I have in fact part built a 15ft long layout just based on the engine shed area which at present is stored in my lounge and once the shed is finished I can put this up and evaluate the true scale of the project. I will post some pictures of this to give some idea of the favour of what I hope to achieve.

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