Oldham, Ashton & Guide Bridge Railway


Opened: c1871

Closed: 1970

Location code: LM121/10

Crowthorn Junction box
Photograph 1956 by Dr J W F Scrimgeour

Crowthorn Junction was and extremely tall and old box situated towards the south end of the Oldham, Ashton & Guide Bridge Railway near Guide Bridge.

The OA&GB was a joint concern (see Park Bridge for historical information) but all signalling was carried out by contractors and not by the parent companies.

This box was constructed by Saxby & Farmer and the architecture is of a style (similar to Gunnersbury) used between 1868 and 1876 and therefore pre-dates the provision of block signalling on the line.

This view looks towards Oldham, with the L&NWR branch from Ashton Moss Junction merging from the left in the foreground.

The box was built to such an exceptional height to allow the signalman to see trains approaching from the Guide Bridge direction, as the view would otherwise be obstructed by the two bridges.

This section of line was electrified in the 1950s as part of the Manchester-Sheffield electrification.

Interior of Crowthorn Junction box
Photograph 1956 by Dr J W F Scrimgeour

Inside the box we find a Saxby & Farmer Rocker frame which would have been original to the construction of the box. However, modernisation to the interlocking has seen removal of the rocker mechanisms.

The original cast lever badges have been replaced with L&NER-type ivorine plates, probably at the time of electrification.

Only some of the signalling instruments are visible in this view - on the left is a trio of GC equipment for signalling trains to Stockport Junction at Guide Bridge.

Interestingly, the next instrument is a Midland Railway pegging instrument, which along with the LNWR "coffin" bell and the non-pegger partly out of view, control trains on the L&NW branch to Ashton Moss Junction. Another set of GC instruments would have been provided at the right-hand end of the shelf for the section to Ashton Moss South Junction.

To the left of the L&NW bell is a closing switch.

Note the water can behind the frame - in older days few boxes had water or electricity and water for drinking, washing and cleaning would be either delivered by train or collected from a nearby supply. One wonders, if it came by train, how much was spilt during the long trudge up the staircase!

The box closed on 24th May 1970, and the junction became motor-operated from Ashton Moss South Junction.


All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated