DERBY AREA SIGNALLING
and surrounding area
This article is one of a series of studies of the signalling at locations within the Derby area. The objective of the work is to concentrate on the equipment, the men and the work done in the box, whilst giving an idea of the context of the surrounding railway. This particular article centres on Chellaston Junction and its surrounding boxes.
The early history of Chellaston Junction, like most facets of mid-19th Century railway operation, is somewhat patchy. As we are reliant on documentary evidence in lieu of the photographs which tell us so much of later times, where the facts simply weren't documented we are left with speculation and extrapolation.
One such source of documentary evidence is the Board of Trade inspection of the line between Derby and Melbourne, dated 10th August 1868, preparatory to its opening on 1st September 1868. This contains a reference to alteration of signals at Chellaston Junction. More detail is contained in the report of Capt. Tyler of the Railway Inspectorate to the Board of Trade on his inspection of the Sawley & Weston railway dated 2nd September 1869;
“..... At the Chellaston Junction between the Derby and Melbourne and the Sawley and Weston-on-Trent railways, I have recommended that the lever working the points of a crossover road should be interlocked with the levers of the home signals.... ”
The reply dated 22nd November 1869 from Thos. Crossley of the MR Engineers Office points out;
“.... the safety of the line is quite perfected by locking up the crossover road at the Junction by interlocking the junction signals by the middle of this week....”
A Further report by Capt. Tyler dated 30th November 1869 confirms;
“.... At Chellaston Junction the cross-over-road is now worked by a lever interlocking with the home signals, but I have recommended some slight improvement in the apparatus.”
The Sawley and Weston line finally opened to traffic on 6th December 1869 and on 3rd November 1873 Chellaston West Junction came into being with the opening of the Stenson and Weston line.
The first list of signal boxes on the Midland Railway, dated 1st November 1875, only contained the posts that were not open continuously. From it we know that by then there were signal boxes at Chellaston Station, Chellaston West Junction, Chellaston East Junction, and Weston on Trent Station. From a more comprehensive list two years later, we know that those boxes were "closed each night and on Sundays".
The appendix dated 3rd November 1879 lists a signal box at Chellaston Ballast Pit Sidings which is thought to have been located around 127m 24c, toward Weston. That box is not, however, listed in the next major documentary source. That is the Midland Railway's response, dated 20th November 1880, to a Circular Letter from the Board of Trade. This required every railway company to list their signal boxes and whether or not the signals and points were interlocked with one-another, although it is known that many of the companies were "economical with the truth" in their replies! Both Chellaston East Junction and Chellaston West Junction were listed as having interlocking, but Weston on Trent and Chellaston stations were shown as having points connected to the main line which were not interlocked with the signals at that date.
Throughout this period the Board of Trade had been pressing the railway companies to introduce many of the safety features now long since taken for granted. As well as interlocked signals and points, the major demand was for the wholesale adoption of the Block Telegraph. In an inspection report of Chellaston East Junction dated 30th November 1881, Major Sir Francis Marindin R.E. of the Railway Inspectorate states;
“The Signal box contains 12 levers of which 1 is spare. Requirements: Set of points now worked by wire to be worked by rod. Diagram in signal box. Block instruments are about to be added for working the line from Derby to Trent, and will I trust soon be added for working the branch to Melbourne."
Block Telegraph working had been in use from opening between Stenson Junction and Chellaston West Junction but it wasn't until 27th June 1882 that it was introduced between Chellaston East Junction and Sheet Stores Junction. New signal boxes were opened at Weston on Trent, Castle Donington and Lock Lane, although as no mention is made of closing of an old box at Castle Donington suggests that prior to then the signals were worked from the platform.
It is probable that when the block working was introduced, also in 1882, between Melbourne Junction at Derby and Chellaston West Junction, the latter signal box was renewed although as no record of this has been found, this can only be speculation. The next record that does confirm that improvements had taken place is dated August 1882. This was an inspection of new connections with the main line at Chellaston. Major Marindin wrote:
“At Chellaston the siding connections and crossover roads have been altered and are satisfactorily placed and the interlocking of the 12 levers working the points and signals is correct." (MT6/316/6)
This was accompanied by a scale diagram drawn by the MR EngineersOffice and dated 7th August 1882. This intriguingly shows the new 10 foot square "Signal Box" alongside its smaller (c.7½’ x 5’) predecessor which is labelled "Levers". This structure is shown as having a set of steps facing the traffic and is closer to the end of the station platform.
Chellaston East Junction signal box was renewed later with the new box being opened on 19th September 1887. The last section of line in the area to adopt Block working is announced thus in the Midland Railway Weekly Notice for week ending 4th October 1890:
“On Monday next, 29th September... Block Telegraph Working will be put into operation between Chellaston East Junction and Melbourne. A starting signal for the line to Melbourne, alongside that line, will be brought into use.”
The signal engineers were busy at Weston on Trent on Monday 27th March 1893 - The distant and home signals for the up main line were disconnected from the Signal Box for alterations to the fittings. The starting signal for the up main line as well as the distant, home and starting signals for the down main line were superseded by a new signals. In accordance with a programme of work, again instigated by pressure from the Board of Trade, all the signals were altered to show a red light to drivers when at Danger, the back light being white, and a green light to Drivers when off, the back light being obscured. Prior to this time, a white light denoted "clear".
Similar work took place at Chellaston Station on 1st April 1893; The distant signal for the up main line was disconnected from the Signal Box for alterations to the fittings, the home and starting signals for the up main line, and the home, starting, and advanced starting signals for the down main line, were superseded by new signals. The distant signal fixed near Chellaston Station and worked from Chellaston West Junction, was superseded by a lower arm on the post of the Chellaston Station up main line starting signal.
A few days later, on 10th April 1893 the work was at Chellaston West Junction and Chellaston East Junction. This is what the Weekly Notice of the period tells us of the work, starting at Chellaston East Junction (The "Up" direction is toward Trent):
“The home signals for the up main line will be superseded by a two-armed bracket home signal. The starting signal for the line to Trent will be superseded by a new starting signal. The home signals for the down lines to Trent and Melbourne will be superseded by new signals, each signal being placed alongside the line to which it applies. The arm signal regulating the running of trains and engines from the siding on to the down line from Trent will be superseded by a ground disc signal. The distant signal fixed near Chellaston East Junction and worked from Chellaston West Junction, will be superseded by lower arms on the posts of the Chellaston East Junction home signals applicable to trains and engines approaching from Trent and from Melbourne."
Meanwhile, at Chellaston West Junction:
“The distant signal for the line from Stenson Junction will be disconnected from the Signal Box for alterations to the fittings. The home signals for the lines from Stenson Junction and Chellaston Station will be superseded by a two-armed bracket signal. The home signals for the down main line will be superseded by a two-arm bracket signal. The starting signals for the lines to Chellaston Station and Stenson Junction will be superseded by new signals. The distant signal fixed near Chellaston West Junction and worked from Chellaston Station, will be superseded by a lower arm on the bracket post of the Chellaston West Junction down main line home signal applicable to trains and engines going towards Chellaston Station".
The next major work was on 2nd October 1898 with the renewal of Weston on Trent signal box. The new box was sited at 126m 12c on the Down side of the line a short distance to the east of the station (7 chains from the middle of the platforms). The signal box was of the type now characterised as Type 2b and worked to Castle Donington 2miles 1,622 yards away, and Chellaston East Junction at 1 mile 352 yards distant. The following week, on 10th October 1898, we are told that the ground disc signals outside the up siding, regulating the running of trains and engines from that siding on to the up and down main line, were removed and placed between the siding and the up main line.
Into the Twentieth Century
On Sunday 6th January1901 Chellaston West Junction signal box was renewed with a Type 2b structure constructed from a single flake 15 feet long by 10 feet wide. The new box was on the Up side at 127m 71c, a few yards to the west of the junction it controlled. Its neighbouring boxes were Chellaston East Junction (946yd), Chellaston Station (1232yd) and Stenson Junction 4miles 462 yards away. This was the last year that the Midland Railway constructed signal boxes of Type 2b, although Chellaston West Junction wasn't the last — not even in the Derby area. Near neighbour at Castle Donington was renewed on 28th April the same year and it was a Type 3a, the difference being fairly minor in that the end windows were three panes deep, whereas they were only two panes deep on Type 2 boxes.
Chellaston Station box took its turn for renewal on 19th September 1910. This was a Type 4a, again formed of a single 15' x 10' flake. It was on the Up side of the line at the south end of the station. This box departed from usual Midland Railway signal box practice as its door was in the back of the box, rather than at one end. Although not unique — its sometime neighbour at Melbourne Junction, 2miles 998 yards away possessed a similar feature — it was somewhat unusual and the reason is not apparent. Another feature which marks Chellaston Station out as being unusual, as far as the Midland Railway were concerned, is that its frame was at the back of the box. Although still subject of research by others, it is believed that this was related to the introduction of tappet interlocking frames whereas hitherto the company had been using frames with tumbler locking. It is apparent that the practice of placing frames in the rear of the box was limited to the period 1910 – 1913
Chellaston Station possessed a small yard on the Up side, south of the box with a trailing connection to each road. The connection to the Down line was a single slip with a trailing crossover in front of box. This highly functional arrangement precluded the need for any facing point locks and was employed at most rural stations with yard facilities.
In 1913 the hours of duty at Chellaston Station signal box were 7.50 a.m. to 8.15 p.m. (or 9.15 p.m. in summer) from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays the box was only open for two brief periods; 7.35 a.m. to 8.0 a.m. and 4.55 p.m. to 6.15 p.m. The hours at Chellaston West Junction were more straightforward being open from 5.30 a.m. on Monday until 7.0 a.m. the following Sunday. Chellaston East Junction was very similar; 5.30 a.m. Monday until 8.30 a.m. on Sunday. The East Junction also reopened between 5.0 p.m. and 630 p.m. on Sunday, for a service to/from Melbourne. Meanwhile, at Weston on Trent Station, the signal box was open from 7.45 a.m. until 7.55 p.m. (9.15 p.m. in summer) every day.
At some time prior to 1918 the signal box at Chellaston Ballast Pit Sidings was abolished. Little is known about this box which was probably little more than a ground frame (or "Stage" in Midland Railway parlance).
The Inter-War Years
The depressed economy of the inter-war years led to the railway companies seeking to cut costs wherever possible. Thus the London Midland and Scottish Railway company, into which the Midland Railway had been grouped in 1923, turned their attention to the Chellaston area. On 22nd September 1930 the passenger service between Derby and Trent via Chellaston, Weston on Trent and Castle Donington ceased, and with it the latter two stations closed to passengers. The service had been somewhat tenuous as the timetable for the previous year shows a mere four trains each way Monday to Saturday, and two on Sundays. The Sunday evening train was curious as it ran between Worthington (5.45 p.m.) and Melbourne (6.1 p.m.) to Chellaston (arriving 6.7 p.m.) where it reversed (departing 6.14 p.m.) and terminated at Trent (6.40 p.m.) having spent four minutes each at Weston and Castle Donington.
During the early years of the 20th Century electricity had begun to play a part in railway signalling, allowing points and signals to be controlled from greater distances and the presence of trains to be detected without the need for the signalman to be able to actually see them. Therefore next economy was directed at the signalling. On 24th May1932 Chellaston East Junction signal box was abolished with control of its junction being taken over remotely by Chellaston West Junction box. To reflect its new status, the latter box was renamed simply Chellaston Junction and gained the then standard LMS pattern of nameboard with neat rounded end, which it retained until the end.
In order to control its newly enlarged area Chellaston West Junction had a new lever frame installed in the 1901 box. This was of the Standard REC pattern and contained 25 levers at 4½in centres, of which all but two were used.
A copy diagram of Weston on Trent dated 1934 indicates it contained a frame with 16 levers (a very common size frame for Midland Railway boxes) of which four were spare. The track layout was identical to that as described at Chellaston, except that the box was located on the down side. Whether the date of 1934 relates to when the copy was taken or the date of the source diagram is not known, although there is no apparent reason why the diagram would require redrawing at this date.
The Second World War
The declaration of the Second World War was to radically change the railways of the Chellaston area. A large military camp occupied the land between Kings Newton and Weston on Trent and with it came a huge quantities of men and materials.
With effect from 19th November 1939 the line between Chellaston East Junction and Ashby was requisitioned by the Government for military training. From that date day-to-day operation of the line passed from the LMS to the Royal Engineers. However, under the agreement with the LMS to take over the line, the military had to accommodate LMS freight trains working to the quarries at Worthington and Cloud Hill.
Changes came quickly and on 17th December 1939 a new Block Post opened at Chellaston Quarry. This controlled a yard on either side of the branch. The military set up their HQ for the line at Chellaston Quarry together with a Control Office. Whilst the military operated the line under the Block Telegraph regulations with LMS instruments, the trains were controlled by "flag boards" rather than semaphore signals — with the exception of the Up starter. The flag boards were actually metal plates painted green on one side and red on the reverse. It may be assumed that they resembled the "stop/go" boards in use at minor road works to this day? These devices lead a national newspaper of the day to report that "a railway in the Midlands" had been equipped with French style signalling.
Ths "signal box" at Chellaston Quarry during the early years is described in "The Melbourne Military Railway" by Cooper, Leggott & Sprenger:
“In the yard, sidings were usually allocated to destinations, trains being marshalled as circumstances required. Controlling the yard was a five-lever ground frame with LMS block instruments working to Chellaston Junction and King's Newton. All shunting had to be carried out on the up main except for short rakes which could be accommodated by the spur. The limit of shunt was the Quarry up starter, the only signal worked from the box. A scissors crossover was situated at the throat of the yard, and military flag-boards were employed as signals on the down line. LMS trains working in were backed straight into the yard. Although, strictly speaking, no shunting was allowed with LMS locomotives, trains were usually broken up by them, as required."
The scale and speed at which the Melbourne Military Railway grew is astonishing. On 8th July 1940 a new “combined ground frame and block post” was opened at Kings Newton. This was to control access to what was to become a huge stores depot. When it opened this depot was formed of just 12 sidings but less than a year later it comprised three separate sub-depot, each with between 20 and 30 sidings — some reportedly as much as a mile long. Clearly this work was all preparatory to, and reached crescendo on, D-Day.
As at Chellaston Quarry, trains at Kings Newton were controlled by flag boards. There was no distant signal on the Up, but Down trains from Melbourne were checked by a fixed distant. The LMS block instruments locked the starters at Chellaston Quarry and Melbourne.
Away from the military railway, the LMS network was under heavy strain with the traffic the war generated. Consequently there was little in the way of change or development. Even at Chellaston, life must have been much more hectic than before the war, although as an LMS notice of 11th July 1944 shows, there was no need for the Chellaston station signal box to contribute to the war effort round the clock! From that date the box hours became 6.0 a.m. to 7.0 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and closed all day Sunday.
By the latter part of 1944 the military operation at Chellaston Quarry and Kings Newton was being scaled down and the LMS started to become more involved in the running of the Ashby Branch. On 22nd December 1944 a new LMS standard box opened at Chellaston Quarry SB renewed. This box was eight yards on the Chellaston Junction side of the old box. It is recorded that from the previous week (17th December 1944 to be specific) Kings Newton signal box became staffed by the LMS. It is therefore probable that this too was a new signal box.
The new Chellaston Quarry box was an LMS Type 11c with a single 15 foot by 10 foot flake, with the Cockscomb ridge tiles that typified that design. The steps were facing traffic and name-boards were fitted over windows at ends, in common with LMS practice. A railed walkway was provided round the front and ends. There was a three pane wide by two pane high square locking room window on front. The locking room door was under the steps, flush with front. That the box at Kings Newton is an exact copy of this structure lends weight to the belief that it too was a new structure in 1944.
The Post War Years
On 1st January 1945 the military handed the whole of the Chellaston East Junction - Ashby line back to the LMS. Later that year, the signal boxes in the area were open as follows; Chellaston Junction, ‘Open Continuously’. Chellaston Station, ‘As Required’. Weston on Trent 8.30 a.m. &ndash 4.30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and closed all day on Sunday. Chellaston Quarry, 5.15 a.m. – 10.40 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, 5.15 a.m. – 11.50 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, 1.40 p.m. & ndash; 2.40 p.m. and 11.20 p.m. –11.45 p.m. on Sunday. Finally, Kings Newton, 6.0 a.m. – 10.0 p.m. Monday to Saturday, Closed Sunday.
Also from 1945, the "Point to point timings for Freight Trains" dated 1st October 1945 gives an insight into the running of freight trains between the boxes in the area:
(slight variations of a minute or so in opposite direction due to gradients).
The new box at Chellaston Quarry controlled a ground frame on the down side which was released by an Annetts Key. Supplement No. 5 to the Sectional Appendix, which was dated January 1949 tells us that engines which possessed the Annetts Key may return from the ground frame on the Down line to the signal box.
In the post-war years a great deal of remedial and new-works were undertaken. One such project was the conversion of the Chellaston Junction to Stenson Junction section from ex-Midland Railway "Drop Handle Interlocking Block" to permissive working. This work must have been long overdue as the 4 mile 462 yard long section must have been a real headache during the war. However, to secure permission to make a main line permissive, required special application to the Ministry of Transport. Thus, on 19th January 1949 the newly created British Railways (London Midland Region) submitted a request for "an exemption from the Block Working Order, in respect of trains other than passenger trains over the lines between Chellaston Junction and Stenson Junction". (BR(LMR) S&T Engineers Office, Derby. Plan No. A/63/49/5. Public Record Office Ref: MT114/93).
The work involved the installation of ex-LNWR "Nine position tell-tale" permissive block instruments, several new track circuits and section signals at each end with subsidiary "Warning Acceptance" and "Calling On" arms, the main arms being “locked by the block”
The following extract from the Sectional Appendix dated 1st October 1960 (the first full Appendix to be issued since 1937) details the procedure to be followed when a passenger train required to work through the section:
BETWEEN CHELLASTON JUNCTION AND STENSON JUNCTION
WORKING OVER DOWN LINE BETWEEN CHELLASTON JUNCTION AND STENSON JUNCTION.
The first passenger train to pass over the down line after Permissive Block Working has been in operation will be brought under control at the down home signal for Chellaston Junction box.
Authority for the train to proceed will be given by taking off the subsidiary signal and the exhibition of a green hand-signal which the Driver must acknowledge by a short whistle and must understand he must proceed with caution throughout the section to the box ahead.
A Guard's telephone is provided on the approach side of Stenson Junction down inner home signal from Trent. Guards of trains brought to a stand at this signal must immediately advise the Signalman when the train has arrived, complete with tail lamp, inside the down outer home signal.
WORKING OVER UP LINE BETWEEN STENSON JUNCTION AND CHELLASTON JUNCTION.
The first passenger train requiring to pass over the up line after Permissive Block Working has been in operation will be brought under control at the up home 2 signal for Stenson Junction box.
After the signal has been taken off the Signalman will exhibit a green hand-signal which the Driver must acknowledge by a short whistle and must understand he must proceed with caution through the section to the box ahead. Permission for the train to proceed into the forward section will be given by the subsidiary signal being taken off.
A Guard's telephone is provided on the approach side of Chellaston Junction up inner home signal from Burton. Guards of trains brought to a stand at this signal must immediately advise the Signalman when the train has arrived, complete with tail lamp, inside the up outer home signal.
Run-down and Decline
By the 1950s the slow-down in the railways' fortunes were just beginning to have an effect. As a consequence of the economics of the day it was decided that repairs required to Ashby Tunnel in 1955 were not viable, resulting in the Melbourne line being severed beyond Worthington, becoming no more than a long branch line.
The Hours of Opening booklet from 1959 shows that Chellaston Junction had lost its Sunday turns and was thus open from 6.0 a.m. Monday to 5.50 a.m. Sunday. At Chellaston Quarry, where a wagon repair depot had been established, the box was open on the afternoon turn only from 1.0 p.m. to 8.50 p.m. Monday to Friday. Kings Newton box was only open 'As Required on Week Days ' which is not surprising given that the depot there closed to rail traffic on 7th September 1959. Weston on Trent station also closed to goods traffic on the same date.
Meanwhile Chellaston Station box was only open 'As Required on Week Days'. Signalling duties were carried out by a porter/signalman. For several years this role was carried out by Mrs. Twigge whose husband, Reg Twigge, was the station master. Mr. Twigge finished his railway career as a senior officer on the Southern Region.
Weston on Trent Signal Box received a short new lease of life during 1959 in connection with Engineering Operations in Milford Tunnel. It gained a night turn and was open from 6.0 a.m. Monday until 2.0 p.m. on Saturday. This lasted until December of that year when both the night and afternoon shifts were dispensed with, leaving the box switched out except between 8.10 a.m. to 3.20 p.m., Monday to Saturday.
By the time the 1960s dawned, the end was in sight for mechanical signalling in the Chellaston area. The Sheets Stores Junction – Stenson Junction line continued to carry a significant volume of traffic, particularly coal from the Nottinghamshire coal field to power stations in the upper Trent valley. The line even saw Class One Express passenger trains for a period as Euston – North West England expresses were diverted via the North Staffordshire line during the electrification of the West Coast line.
Chellaston West Junction, though quite close to Derby geographically, was in a quite lonely location well away from any roads or houses, tucked away in a slight cutting. The box presented a very picturesque sight, surrounded by greenery, even though its maroon and white paint began to get somewhat shabby. The character of the box was of the box was typified by its wonderful LMS rounded corner nameboard and a lucky horseshoe over door!
The first casualty of the Sixties was Kings Newton box. The end came on 2nd September 1962, although as the sidings it had served were already closed and the block section was not particularly long for the low volume of traffic, closure had been inevitable for some time. Meanwhile at Weston on Trent the run down was more gradual, but never-the-less inexorable. The Saturday shift had been cut by two hours by 1962, switching out at 1.20 p.m. The box lost its sidings with effect from 27th October 1963 but, remarkably, it wasn't until 24th April 1966 when the box was abolished. The block section became Chellaston Junction – Castle Donington.
The closure of Weston was part of widespread rationalisation in the spring of 1966. Chellaston Quarry box closed on 13th March 1966 and on 10th July 1966 Chellaston Station box was abolished. To allow the closure of Melbourne Station box on 26th February 1967, the single line was extended to Chellaston East Junction.
At the Chellaston end of the branch the changes were carried out in something of a piecemeal fashion. Until 8th September 1968 Electric Train Token Working remained in force between Chellaston Junction and Worthington on the branch. On that date the latter box was abolished and the branch was worked on the "One Engine in Steam" principle. Those 18 months were the only period that Chellaston Junction was a Token Station, the token exchanges for the branch will no doubt have kept the signalmen occupied during that time.
Some quite extensive changes in the layout at Chellaston Junction took place on 10th November 1968. This resulted in the facing points for the Worthington Branch being replaced with a facing crossover much closer to the box. Thus trains running onto the branch travelled "Bang Road" along the Down Main until reaching the former East Junction.
The text from the Engineering Notice of the time explains in more detail:
The trailing crossover between the up and down lines will be secured out of use pending removal. The facing connection from the up line to the trap points in the Worthington Branch line, will be secured out of use pending removal, the remainder of the single line will be slued to connect with the existing trailing connection in the down line, via the existing trap points in the down branch line. The up starting signals to Trent and to Worthington will be taken away. The straight post home signal from the Worthington Branch with adjacent telephone will be repositioned 1,065 yards from the box, the arm of the signal will be 22 feet 6 inches above rail level. A new facing crossover will be provided 107 yard on the Trent side of the box; all movements from the up line to the Worthington line will be made through this crossover. A new right-hand bracket signal will be provided 100 yards from the box, carrying the starting signal for the Trent direction and the starting signal for Worthington; these signals will be 25 and 23 yards (sic!) respectively above rail level. A new set of trap points will be laid in the up line from Melbourne Junction, 35 yards from the box and secured out of use.
It is interesting that the "new right-hand bracket signal" provided for the up starters was second-hand from Egginton Junction. An eagle eyed Nick Allsop has identified it as being the former Down main home signal from that location with its dolls reversed. It was made redundant on 6th May1968 with the abolition of the former GNR lines at Egginton.
The Power Box era
Of course the end for Chellaston Junction was Derby Power Box. Preparatory work for the rationalised layout associated with the Power Box took place on 8th June 1969:
“The down line between Chellaston Junction and Melbourne Junction will be taken out of use together with all the associated signals. The splitting distant signal arms beneath the down main line home1 signal will be taken away.”
The former Up line between Melbourne Junction and Chellaston Junction was retained and renamed a "Through Siding". It was intended as a diversionary route from Derby should the Spondon line become blocked. Implementing this would have been problematical as not only was the connection at Chellaston Junction clipped and spiked but a Trainmen Operated Level Crossing had been installed at Wilmore Road, Derby. These gates still exist today, in a highly decrepit state!
Stage II of Derby Power Box was commissioned on 29th June 1969 resulting in all the mechanical signal boxes west of London Road Junction, Derby — including Chellaston Junction — being abolished. Castle Donington became a temporary fringe box until it too succumbed to power signalling with the commissioning of Trent Power Box on 29th September 1969.
To round-off the history of the area, the Worthington Branch was officially abolished on 21st May 1980 but lay in situ for many years, slowly being reclaimed by nature. In the early-1990s the track was lifted and the route converted to a cycle track. Today it is still possible to see the post of the Chellaston Quarry Down starter. Its survival into the power signalling age being due to it carrying Chellaston Junction's fixed distant which was required until the demise of the branch.
The controlled signals for Chellaston Junction by which Derby Power Box protected the Worthington Branch (DY341 on the Up and DY342 on the Down) have only recently been made "Autos", thus really ending the last vestige of non-automatic signalling at Chellaston.
Many thanks to the following people whose information has been used in the course of this article; Nick Allsop, Roger Newman, Tony Overton and Godfrey Yeomans. More details on the Melbourne branch and its use by the military can be found in "The Melbourne Military Railway — a history of the Railway Training Centre at Melbourne and Kings Newton: 1939 – 1945" by Alan Cooper, Peter Leggott and Cyril Sprenger published by the Oakwood Press, Oxford, 1990 - ISBN 0 85361 411 3
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Dave Harris, Willington, Derby, UK.
Page last updated: Sunday, 23 August 2015