Blackrod Signalling Overview

Blackrod Junction Signal Box

Until April 2013, Blackrod Junction Signal Box was easily visible to the north of the station, beyond the area once occupied by the coal sidings, at the point where the Horwich Branch joined the main line.

For a detailed look at Blackrod Junction SB, take a look at the history and pictorial pages in this section.

Adjacent signal boxes to Blackrod

When the latter Blackrod Junction signal box opened it worked to Whittles Siding signal box in the Chorley direction and Red Moss Junction signal box in the Bolton direction. There was no signal box at Horwich station at this time.

Whittles Siding signal box, a Saxby and Farmer signal box was opened in 1875, in the White Hills area near Grimeford. It seems likely that "Whittles" was a corruption of that name - possibly the way "White Hills" was spoken locally. In 1927, it was closed making Grindford Bar the adjacent box to Blackrod (1m 610yds away). Grindford Bar box was closed on 15 December 1963 and Adlington Junction (2m 342yds away) became the adjacent box. Adlington Junction box was closed on 05 March 1972 and Chorley No.1 (4m 712yds away) became the adjacent box. Chorley No.1 box was closed on 22 October 1972 as part Stage 1 of the commissioning of Preston power signal box.

Red Moss Junction signal box, a Saxby and Farmer signal box opened in 1874 and controlled the junction with the line from Hindley but the building of Horwich locomotive works saw and intermediate signal box named Horwich Fork Junction opening in 1886. Horwich Fork Junction box, opened in 1886, (1111yds away) was closed on 14 September 1969 which made Lostock Junction box 3m 1495yds away) the adjacent box.

Lostock Junction box was closed on 21 January 1990 when Manchester Piccadilly SCC became the adjacent box. On the Horwich branch, Horwich Loco Works Junction signal box opened in 1886 (880yds away) but was soon renamed Horwich Loco Works Junction and was closed on 24 September 1967 when the Horwich branch was reduced to siding status.

Other signalling around Blackrod Station

At the Bolton end of the station was the 6 lever Blackrod Junction Ground Frame which opened in 1881. By the 1937 sectional appendix it was named Blackrod Up Sidings Ground Frame and at some time it was replaced by a 2 lever open ground frame which was taken out of use on 15 December 1963.

Thanks to David Ingham for this article, and to Chris Littleworth for his excellent book  "Signal Boxes on Lancashire & Yorkshire Lines: North and West of Manchester", which provides the definitive reference source for signalling in the area.