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LMS Route: Trent Valley Line

LMS Route: Nuneaton to Leamington

Nuneaton Station: lnwrns3794

Looking beneath Leicester Road bridge towards Nuneaton station's Platforms One and Two in 1933

Looking beneath Leicester Road bridge towards Nuneaton station's Platforms One and Two in 1933. This was one of two photographs taken by EHC Shorto, who was a railwaymen based at Saltley at the time, the other can be seen in image 'lnwrns3793'.

Peter Lee writes on 'Nuneaton Steam Club' Facebook page, 'One day on a day off he travelled over to Nuneaton to have a wander around and take some pictures of unusual operational items and I think the reason he took these was to record something of particular interest to him, the engine release roads which butted up to the Leicester Road bridge which allowed engines released from trains to park up and hook on the back of an incoming train to save running round of engines hauling the Coventry and Leicester line trains into the station. There was a similar arrangement of engine release roads the other side of the station for Leicester line trains out of platform 5. It was an arrangement that worked as it obviated the need to run round and allowed a quicker turn around of trains. Running around would obviously cause an adjacent platform to be blocked and it restricted the very busy station with this going on all day. Mr Shorto left the railway and retired to Budleigh Salterton, I think we last corresponded in the 1980s'.

As you can see an ex-LNWR 2-4-2T 5'6" tank is parked ready to nip on the back of an incoming passenger train and make a quick get away. All these intricate movements in the station were controlled by Nuneaton Nr. 2 box. It is hard to imagine today how labour intensive mechanical signalling was on the railway with no less than 5 signal boxes controlling the complex layout through Nuneaton TV station. Nr. 1 box on the up side at the south end, Nr. 2 box controlled movements in the station, Nr. 3 at the north end just before the rocker bridge, and the up and down sidings boxes releasing access to the down goods and up marshalling yards. All this was scrapped when modernisation and dieselisation started and the old Coventry line steamers were replaced with bright new diesel units. (A retrograde step in my view because 5 coach trains were replaced by 2 or 3 car DMU's, with the subsequent overcrowding on morning and evening commuting trains not factored in, so factory workers in Coventry stopped using the railway and went by road as they were fed up with the scrum on the new fangled diesel trains). With these engine release roads no longer needed, Nr. 2 box's days were over and this lovely double bayed but otherwise LNWR bog standard Type 5 pattern box was demolished. Someone told me that this was a unique box on the LNWR, there was only one in this configuration on the entire system, but I cannot vouch for the certainty of that information.