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About our Crow Nest Junction Simulation.

With a 92-lever frame, six Absolute Block Sections, and three permissive Block Sections, Crow Nest Junction Signal box will provide some interesting challenges!  Beyond this however, this simulation gives an insight into a world which long ago ceased to exist.  To people who have only known Britain's railways of the last three decades, the notion that constant streams of goods trains to and from a bewildering range of locations (many of them assisted by locomotives just waiting to provide that service) running alongside a busy passenger service - including extras and excursions seemingly organised at the drop of a hat - will seem amazing.

About The Prototype

Crow Nest Junction lies approximately 3 miles east of the Lancashire town of Wigan in a somewhat remote area formerly dominated by numerous small collieries which exploited the resources of the Lancashire coal field for many years.The junction lies on the four-track Manchester to Liverpool and Southport Main Line of the former Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. At the date of the simulation the junction comprised two double junctions, one routing trains to or from the Bolton direction, the other routing towards Blackrod on the Bolton - Preston Main line. Additionally, the layout enabled trains to cross to and from the Fast and Slow lines.

To the West lies Wigan, a town built around mining, engineering and cotton manufacture, where the junction between the Liverpool and Southport lines was located, and Hindley, where the spur diverged to the ex LNWR West Coast Main Line at De Trafford Junction. At Hindley No 3 box, there was also a junction to a line variously known as the Pemberton Loop or the Westwood Park cut-off which allowed through traffic to the Liverpool direction to by-pass Wigan. To the East, on the Fast and Slow Lines lies Manchester, 12 miles distant, and on the Main line, Bolton is 6 miles away - both of these routes carrying traffic routing to Manchester, Rochdale and beyond into Yorkshire and the North East.  The Branch line enables access to Horwich, with its locomotive works and Eastwards towards Chorley and Preston, with Blackpool beyond that.

This part of Lancashire was heavily industrialised and railways formed a vital part of the the economic prosperity of the district with the consequence that a vast and complex network of lines owned by several companies had grown up over the years and as a result, a wide variety of trains traversing many varied routes were likely to pass through Crow Nest Junction.


Lancashire_map         Local_map

Traffic and Operations

Given the heavily industrialised nature of the region, it is inevitable that freight traffic would be the largest source of revenues for the Railway outweighing passenger receipts by a factor of 2:3 in the early years of the 20th century. Cotton - both raw materials imported via Liverpool and Salford docks and finished good for export, along with minerals, metals etc. forming the bulk of both long-distance and local traffic.  Coal also formed an important part of  traffic - both in terms of long distance trains from the Yorkshire coal fields to Liverpool docks and also traffic from the many local collieries in the Lancashire coal field which largely supplied the needs of the cotton mills and local households.  Passenger traffic how ever was not insignificant. Lying between the population centres around Manchester and the dormitory towns and seaside resorts of Southport and Blackpool meant that significant passenger traffic was generated through Crow Nest Junction. The L&Y catered for the two extremes of wealthy Businessmen commuting between their Manchester place of work and their homes in rather healthier coastal towns on the one hand, and also working-class holiday makers and day-trippers on the other. As working-class prosperity started to rise, everyone was keen on making the most of excursions whenever the opportunity for time off work presented itself and the railways - never missing a trick - were quick to capitalise on the increasing popularity of sporting fixtures - with several prominent football teams in the locality and, of course Aintree Races.  Whilst these days, Aintree is largely known as a National Hunt course, at the time of the simulation it was also a nationally important motor-racing circuit - the British Grand Prix being held there on five occasions between 1955 and 1962.

Degree of difficulty – 9 out of 10


Timetable Editor

A Timetable Editor will shortly be available for Crow Nest Junction