Back to Barrow

Travelling by train to Millom on the Cumbrian Coast for the visit to Foxfield featured in my previous post gave me an excuse to spend a couple of hours on Tuesday, 4 May 2021 reacquainting myself with the fine collection of semaphores at Barrow-in-Furness. 

While new rolling stock in the shape of the CAF Class 195 units have appeared on services towards Lancaster and Manchester, the signalling infrastructure at Barrow remains happily unchanged and stuck in a delightful time warp. 

For those who have never ventured to this home of submarine manufacturing, its well-managed three-platform station is a 1950s replacement for one destroyed by a German bomb in 1941 that thankfully spared its 1907 Furness Railway signal at the western end of platforms 2 & 3.

156444 departs Barrow at 12.06 on 4 May 2021 with 2C53 to Carlisle

That box and its 67-lever frame controls a total of nine semaphore arms, plus four shunting arms, that signal movements out of the station in both directions, arriving services from the Cumbrian Coast and access to the large depot, currently home to a number of out-of-use Class 195 units.

195130 moves to Barrow depot at 12.13 after arrival with a service from Manchester Airport

Looking east from the station there are up starter signals at the ends of platforms 1 & 2 with a tall up section signal visible some distance beyond the road over-bridge. On the western side of the station a pair of brackets for the down home signals on platforms 1 & 2 have shunting arms beneath for access to the depot.  

156472 arrives at 13.34 with 2C50 from Carlisle (11.07)

Alongside these through platforms, platform 3 is a terminating platform for Cumbrian Coast services to Carlisle, which pass behind the signal box before entering a loop, with a down section signal controlling exit from that loop onto a single track section of route to Park South Junction. 

195130 stands in platform 1 with the 13.52 to Manchester Airport (1U97)

In the up direction, trains from the Cumbrian Coast line will pass a junction signal that has two main arms and more shunting arms below. 

195130 passes Barrow’s up section signal with 1U97 for Manchester Airport

By far the best vantage point of the station layout, signals and stabling point is one from a road over-bridge carrying Devonshire Road that is a ten-minute walk along Holker Street towards the football ground, before turning right onto the bridge. 

Apart from seeing that the Holker Street pitch is currently being re-laid, what was interesting to note here were two new sidings at the rear of the depot, where a number of the new Class 195 units appear stored out of use, as seen in the photo above.

Waiting on this busy road bridge for a train from Carlisle to arrive I had the unusual experience of being required to stop the traffic when this group of geese and their offspring decided to leave the verge on my side of the road to wander across and back to a lake on the opposite side of the road!