Chester No 6
The most distinctive signal box at Chester was Chester No 6, mounted on a gantry above the Shrewsbury lines at the western exit from the station. Built by the LNWR in 1903, the box controlled the connections between the Shrewsbury and Holyhead lines, and also one end of the curve (the 'fork') to Chester No 5 on the Birkenhead line. It was closed during the Chester resignalling.
25th June 1976 and the 09:04 from Holyhead to Euston approaches Chester, passing Chester No 6 signal box. The signal box stood over what were originally the 'slow' lines to North Wales, but which at this time only available for traffic to and from Shrewsbury. To the right lines curve off towards Chester Wagon Works. On this hazy morning, the signal box windows are wide open - this was the start of the glorious summer of 1976.
The low evening sun highlights the signal box as 4D15, the 20:24 DMU parcels from Wrexham General to Chester approaches its destination. Formed of 3 2-car DMUs, this train was authorised to carry tail traffic, which it is doing in the form of 3 parcels vans. The DMUs are from Wrexham Central-Birkenhead North diagrams, working ECS into Wrexham General at 19:11 (from Neston) and 19:19 and 19:51 (from Wrexham Central). From the 3rd October to the 9th December, this working was due to be covered by a locomotive, and the DMUs ran empty direct to Chester Depot.
Meanwhile, on the fork lines were 2 class 24s. Firstly, 24091 was waiting light engine, and is seen here moving off towards Mold Jcn. Behind it was 24063 on the 19:10 Croes Newydd Yard to Mold Jcn freight, which it had taken round the curve to Chester No 5 to run round and reverse. The wagons for this train are visible, but not the loco. Finally, together with some class 25s, 24023 is on the depot fuelling point in the background - and 3 class 24's was one quarter of the entire fleet in 1977.
Use of a 300mm lens allows the sight of 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley and support coach backing into Chester station from the depot. The reversed 'S' of the fork lines is exaggerated by the telephoto lens.