A look back at Shrewsbury's railway infrastructure and train services as they were between 1987 and 1994 from a 2014 perspective, focussing particularly on the six mechanical signalboxes then operating in the town and the predominant semaphore signalling they controlled - including the UK's (and now also the world's) largest: Severn Bridge Junction with its 180-lever frame.
In these last few years of nationalisation on the UK's railways, before fragmentation and tighter cost controls brought on by privatisation took effect, first generation diesel motive power is seen giving way to newer types of traction, while locomotive-hauled passenger trains are falling out of favour and being replaced by more economical railcar services. Also shown are the much-lamented regular Intercity trains to London, lost freight and postal traffic, and the summer Saturday holiday trains that used to pass through the town on their way to the Cambrian coast.
Written by a British heritage railway signalman and former resident of Shrewsbury, this book focusses on just a small part of the UK's ever-evolving rail network but witnesses the effect of the changing times on its operations, and the outcome of both modernisation and rationalisation as mechanical signalling technology is adapted for or superseded by the needs of the late 20th Century railway and beyond.
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Also available as an eBook for the iPad (iBooks format) - store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/482526
My life-long interest in railways, and in particular in British railway signalling, was spawned as a child following many happy hours spent at my home station watching the trains and local mechanical signalboxes at work from the platform ends. After many years as an 'armchair enthusiast', I took the plunge and trained as a heritage railway signalman in 2011, and now regularly volunteer to work two of the signalboxes on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.