Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday 9 September - Crewe Heritage Centre

The sun was at the right angle to show off the architecture of the Shrewsbury station
I took the train to Crewe this morning. The train was fully occupied when it arrived at Shrewsbury and was uncomfortably full when we left.  I couldn't even get into the passenger compartment but managed to score a pull down seat in the entrance way.  It is insane and pretty dangerous how Arriva Trains Wales get away with such overcrowding.

The Heritage Centre is close to the railway but it is a walk of almost a mile to get to it.  The Centre has the feel of a scrap yard which wasn't enhanced by the heavy rain.  There were some interesting items however.  The panel from Crewe North signal box was well worth a visit.  It is an electro frame which is interlocked by relays as they found the mechanical interlocking to be unreliable.  The man in charge seemed to be happy to find someone to show around.  He took me through the whole sequence of moving a train out of the station.

Crewe North

Crewe North. This is ne of the two banks of levers
Crewe A Station box where the interlocking is achieved mechanically
Exeter West box was moved here and is a normal mechanical interlocking. I was delighted to see the duster because signalmen took great care of their equipment and nobody was allowed to move a leaver with bare hands because sweat would corrode the metal.  One box, at Johnston, I went into the signalman wanted to bring the book for me to sign so that I would not dirty his floor.  I was the boss and rejected his offer at which he produced two dusters and made me slide my way across the floor to get to the desk.

Exeter West with the duster
Exeter West, diagram with a couple of block instruments and bells with tappers.
Exeter West Interlocking Room
Exeter West detail of interlocking
I wasn't encouraged to linger in Crewe. I passed three pubs on the way back to the station, none of which I felt like entering - the smell was enough to put me off.  I spent some time watching the procession of Virgin Pendolinos running between London, Liverpool, Manchester and Scotland and the pitiful Arriva Trains Wales trains between Shrewsbury and Manchester.  I took a one car puddle jumper back to Shrewsbury. It started at Crewe so I could at least get a seat.
Pendolino at Crewe

The one car puddle jumper which took me back to Shrewsbury

We had a drink at the Coach and Horses before supper this evening. We learned that Liverpool lost to Manchester City 0-5 (much beating of chests) but that Shrewsbury Town won today and were top of their league. Pubs are great clearing houses for the exchange of information.

This evening we watched the Last Night of the Proms on TV.  The last part is always the nostalgic same and brought back childhood memories.
Sea Chanties by Henry Wood
Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (Land of Hope and Glory)
Rule Britannia sung by a Swedish soprano carrying a spear and a shield and formidably dressed as Britannia.

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