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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Goodbye to Familiar Landmarks

As already noted on this blog - the overhead electrification work along the railway line linking Preston with Blackpool is well underway. In fact there are just under two weeks left before the entire line is shut down to regular passenger trains to allow completion of the overhead installation and new electronic signalling - as well as realignment of the platforms at Blackpool North (and all approach tracks into the terminal station). The latter work is also quite advanced with contractors working on the extreme north and south platform segments leaving just the central platforms to serve remaining scheduled (no electric) trains running into and out of Blackpool North.

A notable change that will see the demolition or removal of signal cabins along the railway from Preston to Blackpool - is also imminent, and with it the still functioning semaphore signal gantrys controlled from individual signal boxes of traditional design that are the remaining visible remnant of a former steam train era. A special photographic survey was undertaken this weekend to record three of the remaining traditional signal boxes and semaphore signals soon to be removed once the line is closed in November. It will reopen in March or April 2018.

All Photos Copyright : Stephen Meyer-Rassow taken October 28, 2017

Above : The busiest level crossing west of Preston - Carleton Crossing and its splendid Signal Cabin which remains much the same as when it was erected. The level crossing will remain - but the cabin and its signalmen will go.

Layton Station Buildings in bright sunlight - now disused and long under the 'For Sale' hammer but so far no takers. Electrification will see trackside gantrys and of course overhead power cables. At one time behind the station buildings was a siding that allowed coal wagons to unload onto local merchant yards supplying households in the north Blackpool and Thornton Cleveleys district. The station was originally called 'Bispham' until the early 1930s when it was renamed 'Layton'. Up until that period there was a level crossing on the western end of the station platforms - for road traffic on Bispham Road. The construction of a new road bridge immediately to the east of the station allowed removal of the level crossing and a signal box not unlike the one at Carleton Crossing which controlled the gates and signals between Blackpool North approach tracks just a half mile due west and the Poulton Junction three miles east.

Blackpool North Signal control tower hidden behind (in this case) an adjacent parking lot. It also is due to go.

Poulton Le Fylde Signal box which at one time controlled the important junction with trains heading to Blackpool in the foreground and those for Fleetwood and Wyre Dock (and Thornton and Burn Naze seen behind with a solitary gantry). Below : A semaphore demonstrating the all clear line ahead for this departing train from Poulton Station heading east to Preston. Soon this will be a feature found only on heritage lines.

All Images Copyright : Stephen Meyer-Rassow, Oxford

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