Worcester Area Switches NR Route

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LNW-GW Joint

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"Trackwatch" in the June Modern Railways tells us that the Worcester Area of NR's Western Route (Wales & Western Region) has transferred to the Central Route (North West & Central Region).
In other words, in BR-speak, the WR has lost another chunk of territory to the LMR.
The lines concerned are Pershore-Worcester-Droitwich-Cutnall Green, the Worcester loop connections off the Birmingham-Bristol line, and Worcester-Shelwick Jn on the N&W line near Hereford.
The "Western" therefore now stops at Evesham and Ashchurch, and the "Midland" has the whole route from Birmingham to Hereford, bar the last mile or so which is within "Wales".
It puts the distinctive lower-quadrant signalling at Worcester, Droitwich, Malvern, Ledbury and elsewhere on these lines under "Midland" control.

The change was presaged by the planned extent of the control areas of NR signalling centres in Saltley (WMSCC), Didcot (Thames Valley SCC), and Cardiff (SWSCC).
West Midlands control was extended south from Blackwell (top of the Lickey) to Ashchurch a couple of years ago, prompted by resignalling and electrification extension to Bromsgrove.
Didcot will eventually control the North Cotswold line to Evesham, and south of Ashchurch, with Cardiff controlling the N&W line Newport-Hereford-Shrewsbury-Wrexham/Nantwich.

Lines in this broad area have a complex history of separate and joint lines between the GWR and Midland companies, with the LNWR joining the mix at Hereford.
Both Worcester Shrub Hill (GW/Mid) and Hereford (GW/LNW) stations were jointly owned and managed before nationalisation.
Under BR, in the 1950s, the WR gained control of the Midland route from Bristol to Blackwell (and also most of the Ashchurch-Evesham-Redditch route, now closed).
The recent changes reverse that control for the northern half of the route.
On the other side of the Cotswolds, in 1963 the LM gained control of GW routes from Birmingham to Heyford, south of Banbury, an operational boundary that still exists.

Of note is that the ELR (Engineer's Line Reference) for Oxford-Worcester-Stourbridge Jn is OWW - the initials of the original Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway (the Old Worse and Worse ;)), and a perennial thorn in the side of the GWR.
 
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a good off

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It went live on Friday 26th March, 8 weeks ago today. The boundaries are at Eckington and Pershore, not Ashchurch and Evesham.
 

Wilts Wanderer

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And both levels of Worcestershire Parkway are now within the NW&C route. Until now the high level was Western and the low level was Midland. Was that a unique arrangement while it lasted?
 

RichA

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This situation existed more recently as well. From April 1992 the area was under Regional Railways Central (excluding the Birmingham/Gloucs line) then became Railtrack Midlands Zone from April 1994. Railtrack Great Western assumed responsibility from the boundary changes of June 1995, it remained so in NR control until the recent changes as detailed LNW-GW Joint.
 

Pokelet

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Question is how long will Semaphore last in the Worcester area? Droitwich to Ledbury, Shrub Hill to Norton, 7(?) Boxes with a small smattering of colour light.
 

The Planner

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Question is how long will Semaphore last in the Worcester area? Droitwich to Ledbury, Shrub Hill to Norton, 7(?) Boxes with a small smattering of colour light.
Arguably, after New St is done at the end of next year, it is the only real large re-signalling the central route has left. It is being looked at now, but Id expect it to have a decade at least to go.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Question is how long will Semaphore last in the Worcester area? Droitwich to Ledbury, Shrub Hill to Norton, 7(?) Boxes with a small smattering of colour light.
It's the reverse of the situation at Shrewsbury, with NR Wales/West (Cardiff) being the custodians of a number of upper-quadrant semaphores (some quite recent).
The signalling history there is a complex story of alternating LNW and GW control, the irony being that the two main signal boxes were built by the LNWR!
Meanwhile, Cardiff's area of control today reaches the very gates of Crewe, at Willaston.
The bulk of the N&W line (Shrewsbury-Hereford-Abergavenny) is still largely semaphore, and the remaining boxes between Shrewsbury and Hereford are mostly the original 1870s joint line structures.
 

edwin_m

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Question is how long will Semaphore last in the Worcester area? Droitwich to Ledbury, Shrub Hill to Norton, 7(?) Boxes with a small smattering of colour light.
There's certainly a Worcester re-signalling scheme in the pipeline somewhere. I assume the new boundaries mark its intended limits.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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There's certainly a Worcester re-signalling scheme in the pipeline somewhere. I assume the new boundaries mark its intended limits.
When I first saw something on this, when the control areas of the various ROCs were being described, I think there was reference to Campden tunnel being the boundary between Midland and Didcot ROCs (ie at the boundary between today's Evesham and Moreton-in-March boxes).
Compared to that, the new change retains the Evesham box area (and Honeybourne-Long Marston) under Didcot control.
 

swt_passenger

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There was a lot of discussion about exact boundaries in a thread just before the change happened:
 

Class172

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Arguably, after New St is done at the end of next year, it is the only real large re-signalling the central route has left. It is being looked at now, but Id expect it to have a decade at least to go.
Is it likely that the resignalling would be used to provide infrastructure improvements in the area, for example the aspiration to redesign the layout around the Worcester triangle (to allow access to both platforms at Foregate St from the east)?
 

HST274

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I hope it does not happen too soon. I am a big fan of the semaphore signals. The real question is when Worcester will be electrified.
 

Class172

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I hope it does not happen too soon. I am a big fan of the semaphore signals. The real question is when Worcester will be electrified.
Presumably not until the resignalling is completed at the earliest. I would imagine that Worcester area electrification is dependent upon the Snow Hill lines, which in turn may be dependent upon Marylebone-Birmingham.
 

The Planner

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Is it likely that the resignalling would be used to provide infrastructure improvements in the area, for example the aspiration to redesign the layout around the Worcester triangle (to allow access to both platforms at Foregate St from the east)?
Depends on what the future proposed service is expected to be and what is required to deliver that at Worcester. I would be surprised if it doesn't get tinkered with.
 

a good off

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The signalling at Worcester does a good job at keeping a reasonably busy train service going. We very rarely get any problems with it.
 
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