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Table of Contents

Chester
Official Files
Introduction
Start-Up Options
Scenarios
Eras
Other Options
Features
TORR
Absolute Block
Electrification
Panel Notes
Chester
Beeston
Ellesmere Port
Frodsham
Helsby
Hooton
Mickle Trafford
Norton
Timetable Notes
Chester 2015-04-08 SX
Chester 2019-01-09 SX
Level Crossings
Multiplayer & Chaining
Hot Keys
Acknowledgements
Reference Section
Signal Number Plan
Signal Box Prefix Codes
Platform, Loop & Siding Lengths
Timetabling Details
Splash Screens
Additional Information
External Resources
Version History

Chester

Official Files

Title Version Released
Simulation (Payware) 1.0 29/06/2020
08/04/2015 WTT (Midnight, 0400 & 1400 starts included) 1.0 29/06/2020
09/01/2019 WTT (Midnight, 0400 & 1400 starts included) 1.0 29/06/2020

Additional user-written timetables are available to download here .

Introduction

This simulation covers the area controlled by Chester PSB (Including the former Hooton PSB area), Beeston Castle Signal box, Ellesmere Port Signal box, Helsby Signal box, Mickle Trafford Signal box, Frodsham Signal box, and Norton Signal box.

The area sees a mixture of local stopping services, semi-fast services and long distance express services. Chester itself sees trains which terminate, trains which stop and continue onward, and trains which stop and reverse before continuing onward. As well as passenger traffic, there are a number of freight services to various destinations.

Not much changed at Chester PSB between the opening in 1984 and the eras simulated, with the only thing of note being the abolition of the boxes between Mold Junction and Rockcliffe Hall. Various changes occurred in the surrounding boxes, though it should be possible with reasonable compromise to write an earlier era timetable.

Start-Up Options

Scenarios

No scenarios are currently provided

Eras

2006 - 2018

This era is set after the abolition of Mouldsworth Signal box. The line between Wrexham and Saltney Junction remains single throughout and the "Halton Curve" is only able to be used in the Down direction towards Liverpool.

2018 Onward

This era is set after the re-signalling of Frodsham Signalbox in association with opening the "Halton Curve" to regular passenger traffic for the first time in many years. The curve can be used in either direction. This era also encompasses the partial redoubling along the Wrexham to Saltney Junction line, between the new Rossett Junction and Saltney Junction, and the upgrade of many of the crossings to OD style.

Other Options

Scale of problems: Select the probability of failures and late running.

Absolute Block: Select whether or not Absolute Block is turned on between workstations.

Absolute Block: Fringes: Select whether or not Absolute Block is turned on between workstations and adjacent areas.

Extra TD Interpose: With this option turned on, depots, sidings and yards will automatically interpose the TD for entering trains. This is turned off by default, which is more realistic.

Features

TORR

Train Operated Route Release is provided as a start up option. Running with TORR disabled is the most accurate setting.

Absolute Block

Absolute block is included in the simulation where it is present in real life. It can be disabled in two stages as part of the simulation start up options. Please see the Absolute Block manual page for operating instructions.

Electrification

Rock Ferry to Chester and Ellesmere Port is electrified with 750V DC third rail. If a workstation includes electrification, the boundaries can be switched on/off using left-click/right-click on the "ELC" control located near the "On Duty" berth. Detailed electrification limits are in the Panel Notes below.

Panel Notes

Chester

Chester panel focuses on the area around Chester station where the routes from Holyhead, Shrewsbury, Birkenhead, Manchester and Crewe converge.

Services are a mixture of long distance services from as far away as South Wales and London, mixed in with more local services to Liverpool and Crewe.

The single line from Wrexham to Saltney Junction requires careful regulation, as delays can quickly build up if you make the wrong move.

Electrification

  • The following lines within this workstation are electrified using 3rd rail DC, under the control of the Sandhills ECO.
    • The Down and Up Birkenhead lines
    • Platform 7

    Opposing Routes in platform 3

  • It is not possible to set opposing routes into platform 3A at the same time as platform 3B and vice versa. Once a route has been set the train must occupy the platform track circuit for 90 seconds before an opposing route can be set. This is not the case from shunt signals (But is the case for main aspect signals with shunt class routes)

Platforms at Chester

  • Trains booked to call at Chester may have a “A” or “B” letter, where a train has this you should expect it to stop at the appropriate part of the platform. Where a train just has a platform number you should expect it to stop at the far end of the appropriate platform.

Working of Chester Depot

  • Trains destined for Chester Depot will normally enter the depot at the East end. There is no need to ask permission from the depot person in charge (Depot PIC) for these moves.
  • For any trains due to exit the depot from the East end, the Depot PIC will phone you for permission to allow the train to approach signal 106. You should not give permission if you have signalled a movement onto the depot at the East end.
  • You must obtain permission from the Depot PIC before signalling a train towards Sidings 5 / 6.
  • The Depot PIC will phone you for permission for a train to approach signal 543 from Sidings 5 / 6. You should not give this permission if you have signalled a conflicting movement.
  • You will receive a courtesy call from the Depot PIC to advise you of the description of trains exiting the depot at the West end.
  • For any trains due to enter the depot at the West end, you must obtain the permission of the Depot PIC. This should be done in good time to prevent Mexican stand-offs on the headshunt line.

Duplicated Emergency Replacement Switch

  • Signal 417 on the Down Birkenhead line at Capenhurst is provided with an emergency replacement on this workstation and also on the Hooton workstation. Both switches work independently of each other and both must be normal in order for the signal to clear.

Hawarden Airport Flight Path

  • This is marked on the simulation as a level crossing with a capital "A" between the two lines. It is located between Saltney Junction and Shotton.
  • In the event you receive the emergency alarm from the Airport or are advised by the Control Tower at Hawarden Airport of an "aircraft incident", you should protect the crossing by replacing Signals 206 and 203 to danger.
  • You should not allow trains to pass over the crossing until the Control Tower at Hawarden Airport advises you "Incident Ended".
  • The Control Tower will test the alarm at 0930 each day and will contact you after sending the alarm to confirm it was received.

Chester UDG

  • Trains timetabled to Chester UDG will also accept a route onto any through line at Chester station which will allow the train to reach it's destination.
  • Trains timetabled to Chester may also use Chester UDG, providing doing so will allow the train to reach it's destination.

Stopping Trains Booked To Call on The Dn & Up Main

  • Passenger trains booked to call at Chester will accept a route into platform 3B via signal 83 on the Dn & Up Main. Signallers should not bring the train to a stand at signal 83 otherwise the train will believe it has arrived at Chester.

Regulation of the Up & Dn Single Line (2006 - 2018)

  • The signaller at Croes Newydd North Fork (North East Wales) will interpose the train description for down trains approximately 5 minutes before the train is booked to leave Wrexham General. A simplifier for Saltney Junction will assist in regulating decisions.
  • Chester has sole control over the single line, and must grant slot 485 in order for trains to pass CN945. This slot isn't requested when a train enters the simulation, the train description appearing is notice to grant the slot.
  • The single line section is approximately 11 minutes for a passenger train, and 15 minutes for a freight train.

Regulation of the Up & Dn Single Line (2018 Onward)

  • The signaller at Croes Newydd North Fork (North East Wales) will interpose the train description for down trains approximately 5 minutes before the train is booked to leave Wrexham General. A simplifier for Rossett Junction will assist in regulating decisions.
  • Chester has sole control over the single line, and must grant slot 485 in order for trains to pass CN945. This slot isn't requested when a train enters the simulation, the train description appearing is notice to grant the slot.
  • The single line section is approximately 6 minutes for a passenger train, and 8 minutes for a freight train.

Wrong Direction on the Down Through

  • Setting a shunt route in the Up direction on the Down Through line requires the track circuit to be occupied.

Emergency Crossover at Saltney Junction

  • 716 Crossover at Saltney Junction (Up Main to Down Main) has no signalled routes. It is purely for use during Single Line Working.

Approach Berths

  • The first signal on each line has a "A" and a "B" berth. These have been set up as queue berths and will replicate as close as possible the real life behaviour of the fringe boxes interposing into the fringe train describers.
  • Note that manually interposing at the first signal should be done by right clicking on the signal and selecting interpose to avoid overwriting berths not on this workstation.
  • Note that approach berths from North East Wales and North Wales Coast will provide more warning when chained to the adjacent simulation, compared to a standalone session.

Warner Routes at Chester station

  • Warner routes at Chester station should only be used for passenger trains which are booked to call at, or terminate at, Chester station.

Permissive Working at Chester

  • Permissive working (PP) is authorised at all times in platforms 1, 2, 5, and 6.

  • Permissive working is authorised in platforms 3, 4, and 7 at all times for attaching and detaching purposes. It is also authorised for platform sharing during times of significant disruption.
  • Permissive working (Platform Lines) is authorised on the Down & Up Main line in the Down direction only.

Emergency Replacement Switches

  • Only the Emergency Replacement Switches between Saltney Junction and Rockcliffe Hall can be relied upon to maintain a signal at danger. All other such switches should be considered unreliable.

Approach Control

  • Signal 36 on the Up Warrington is subject to approach release from red unless signal 32 is off.

TRTS

  • All platforms at Chester station with the exception of the Parcel Platform (PCL) have TRTS.

MCB-OD Crossings

  • In the 2018 era the MCB-OD crossings are marked on the line between Saltney Junction and Wrexham, but are not fully simulated as SimSig does not yet support them natively.

Last Sent Berths

  • The last sent berths on this panel may populate for trains which are not proceeding fully towards the next signalbox, this is especially noticeable around Chester East Junction with reversing trains.

Beeston

Beeston is a classic "fringe box" and coverts the Track Circuit Block mode of signalling around Chester into the Absolute Block method of working around Crewe.

A crossover is also available for use during Single Line Working.

Ellesmere Port

Ellesmere Port is Merseyrail's other network terminus on the simulation with only a limited diesel service provided beyond to Helsby.

The majority of other traffic is freight to and from the various yards and sidings.

Electrification

  • The following lines within this workstation are electrified using 3rd rail DC, under the control of the Sandhills ECO.
    • The Down and Up Main between this workstation and Hooton workstation.
    • The Down platform.

TRTS

  • TRTS is provided in platform 2 only for trains departing towards Helsby.
  • TRTS is provided in platform 1 only for EMU trains departing towards Hooton. The EMU train must also be formed of exactly 3 or 6 carriages. When a train meeting these conditions activates the TRTS a number 3 or 6 will flash next to the TRTS indicator to advise you of the number of coaches.

Misc

  • Routes up to Signal EP43 require a route set from it and the signal off.

Frodsham

Frodsham is for the most part a simple "Up & Down" box, with a goods loop on the Up line. The chord to Halton (uni-directional towards Halton in the 2006 era, bi-directional in the 2018 era) diverges here and gives access towards Liverpool via Runcorn.

  • A route from Signal FJ23 can be set into the Up Goods Loop when it is occupied by a train. (2006 era only)
  • Signal NN3 at Norton acts as an outer distant for this signalbox on the Up line. It will not clear to a green aspect until all of your signals are off. (2006 era only)
  • A route from Signal FJ3 or FJ11 towards Halton Junction requires slot WE7801 to be granted. (2018 era only)
  • Trains from Halton Junction can enter without reference as long as the WE7801 slot has not been granted. (2018 era only)

Helsby

Helsby is a junction area and allows trains approaching from Warrington to head towards either Chester or Ellesmere Port.

A limited passenger services is provided between here and Ellesmere Port, but the vast majority of passenger trains head to and from Chester and Warrington.

  • Routes up to Signals HY38 / HY39 require the points ahead set correctly. The sim enforces this through an overlap on the signals.
  • A route into the neck is only available from the Refuge Siding.
  • Kemira Siding is also known as UK Fertilisers.
  • Routes up to Signal HY16 require a route set from it and the signal off.

Hooton

Hooton was formally a stand alone signalbox, but it was migrated into a new panel at Chester PSB.

For the most part it looks after Merseyrail passenger services to and from Birkenhead, but it also sees a limited amount of freight traffic which runs round in the "Long Siding".

Duplicated Emergency Replacement Switch

  • Signal 417 on the Down Chester line at Capenhurst is provided with an emergency replacement on both this workstation and on the Chester workstation. Both switches work independently of each other and both must be normal in order for the signal to clear.

Electrification

  • All lines within this workstation are electrified using 3rd rail DC, under the control of the Sandhills ECO, unless otherwise stated.
  • The Long Siding is not electrified.

Miscellaneous

  • Signal 256 requires Signal 254 off before it will clear, but you can set the route in advance.

Mickle Trafford

Mickle Trafford is an amalgamation of signalboxes. As well as acting as a Track Circuit Block fringe box to Chester PSB, it also interfaces similarly with Greenbank PSB. The single line can cause regulating headaches, and careful interaction is needed between here and Chester to minimise delays.

  • Signal MT23 is subject to approach control from red for routes towards Mouldsworth.
  • There are no signalled routes across the trailing crossover at Mickle Trafford.

Norton

Norton is a classic "fringe box" and converts the Track Circuit Block mode of signalling around Warrington into the Absolute Block method of working around Frodsham.

  • Signal NN3 acts as an outer distant for Frodsham on the Up line. It will not clear to a green aspect until all of the signals at Frodsham are off.

Timetable Notes

Chester 2015-04-08 SX

This timetable is another in the 2015 "ground hog" series, this timetable is compatible with the equivalent ones on adjacent simulations.

Chester 2019-01-09 SX

This timetable is another in the 2019 "ground hog" series, this timetable is compatible with the equivalent ones on adjacent simulations. Note that the full package of route learning trains between Chester and Liverpool Lime Street via the "new" Halton Curve have been included for added interest.

Level Crossings

Name Type Panel Located Between
Balderton AHB Chester Wrexham General & Saltney Junction
Beeches Farm UWC Chester Shotton & Saltney Junction
Broad Oak AHB Chester Wrexham General & Saltney Junction
Farmer Johnsons UWC Mickle Trafford Mickle Trafford & Mouldsworth
Green Lane AHB Chester Wrexham General & Saltney Junction
Hawarden Aerodrome Flight Path Chester Shotton & Saltney Junction
Plemstall UWC Mickle Trafford Mickle Trafford & Mouldsworth
Pulford AHB Chester Wrexham General & Saltney Junction
Rossett MWL Chester Wrexham General & Saltney Junction

Multiplayer & Chaining

Chester is manageable by one person looking after the whole area. New players may want to play with the Absolute Block controls disabled to decrease the workload.

In multiplayer mode, 2 - 3 players can join and still have plenty to do. We would recommend that one person takes the Chester workstation, another the Hooton workstation and another the rest of the workstations.

The simulation chains at the following locations:

Simulation Location Notes
Cheshire Lines Greenbank
Crewe Crewe Steelworks *
Edge Hill Norton Junction Note only works in the 2006 era
North East Wales Wrexham General Care needed to ensure both sims are started in matching eras
North Wales Coast Rockcliffe Hall
Sandhills Rock Ferry
Warrington Acton Grange Junction *

* Provision exists for the simulation to chain at these fringes, should the corresponding simulation be developed in the future.

Hot Keys

In addition to the standard shortcut keys , the following are available:

Key Panel Area
1 Saltney Junction / Chester West
2 Chester / Chester East
3 Ellesmere Port
4 Frodsham

Acknowledgements

Simulation by: Karl Latham

08/04/2015 WTT by: John Mills

01/09/2019 WTT by: John Mills

Reference Section

Signal Number Plan

Chester 2006 Signal Number Plan

Chester 2018 Signal Number Plan

This is an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer you can get a free download of the latest version from the Adobe website . Use the built-in Find function (Ctrl+F) to locate signal numbers.

Signal Box Prefix Codes

Code Box
No Prefix Chester
BC Beeston Castle
CN Croes Newydd North Fork*
EP Ellesmere Port
FJ Frodsham Junction
GK Greenbank *
HN Hooton
HY Helsby
MT Mickle Trafford
NN Norton
RH Rockcliffe Hall*
WN Warrington PSB *

Note: * denotes an external signal.

Platform, Loop & Siding Lengths

Platform Lengths

Location Platform Length (m)
Chester 1 124
2 121
3 375
3A 170
3B 134
4 310
4A 175
4B 251
5 112
6 112
7 307
7A 172
7B 153
PCL 158
Ellesmere Port 1 135
2 135
Helsby 1 139
2 84
3 95
4 94
Hooton 1 116
2 151
3 151

Loop Lengths

Location Loop Name Length (m)
Bache Down Goods Loop 358
Chester Dn & UP Goods 285
Down Through 370
Down & Up Main 478
Down & Up Main (89 > 92) 167
Down & Up Main (78 > 83) 261
Chester Depot Headshunt 210
Ellesmere Port Up Goods Loop 486
Neck 50
Frodsham Up Goods Loop 473
Roodee Junction Down Fast 473
Down Slow 473
Up Fast 680
Up Slow 665

Timetabling Details

When importing a timetable via the XML import option, care should be taken with the following:

1) The correct era is selected for the year of timetable being imported.

2) Trains which are timed at Rockcliffe Hall, and then later Saltney Junction, will import with Rockcliffe Hall as the entry point.

3) Trains which are timed at Flint, and then later Saltney Junction without a Rockcliffe Hall time, will import with Flint as the entry point.

These import rules comply with the respective ROTP documents from NWR for the years concerned. However, care should be taken if the odd train does not follow these rules and is, for example, timed "Flint - Rockcliffe Hall - Saltney Junction", despite being post the abolition of Rockcliffe Hall as a timing point.

Splash Screens

All splash screens of the panels and signal boxes for this simulation were taken on official organised visits. High resolution versions can be viewed via the links below and were provided by Andrew Gardiner.

Other splash screens of the area and external locations were taken by Rick Houghton.

Andrew Gardiner

Additional Information

Chester Depot Destination Plungers

In real life a set of plungers is available at Signal 408 which light an indicator in Chester PSB to tell the signaller where the train is destined to. This has not been simulated as the user has access to the train's timetable, even for adhoc moves.

External Resources

Cab ride Manchester Piccadilly to Chester via Greenbank

Cab ride Chester to Wrexham General

Cab ride Chester to Crewe

Cab ride Chester to Holyhead

Version History

Version History


Last edited by headshot119 on 31/07/2020 at 10:16