On the west side of Fishergate Bridge
the track was lowered to provide the necessary clearance for the
overhead traction supply wires. Apparently during this work soft
ground or sliding sand meant that other techniques needed to be used
on other parts of the bridge.
The former platforms one and two were
extended well north of Fishergate Bridge to form the new parcel
platform, passing either side of the bridge pier. The foot bridge
connecting this platform to the rest of the station was removed to
save having to raise it.
The centre sidings between the former
platforms two and three were relayed as goods lines.
An 8" clearance was needed between
live equipment and the bridge structure and minimum of 6" between
tops of passing trains and the live conductor.
In order to get this clearance for the
former platform four and five lines the steelwork of the bridge was
modified by adding a new web higher up the girder then the original
foot of the beam was removed, this difference is still noticeable
As the new track alignment progressed a
number of temporary signals including a gantry which was just south of
the Preston No.5 box, started to appear. The new track layout and
signals being temporarily connected to the mechanical frames.
Generally this was done electrically but some mechanical connections
were used, possibly for detection and locking. I believe from personal
accounts these were very heavy to work and proved difficult to
maintain 'fag paper' detection reliably.
Towards the south end of the station
the work moved to the former platform three with the loco head shunt
and slow lines all being removed, temporary buffers stops were placed
at the south end of platform 3 to isolate the work site from the live
railway. By this time the original lines under the control of Preston
No2A signal box had been re-worked and the box closed on 17th May
Gradually the new tracks on the west of
the station were brought into use, starting with the through lines,
but all still under mechanical control. As the work moved east the
signal gantry at the south end of the station had various arms removed
and reduced in size, until finally there was just one span over the
bay platforms. This final piece was to allow realignment of platforms
4 and 5. A new wider and longer platform face was built; today the
line of the original platform edge can still be traced by following
the 1950's laminated timber canopy at the south end of platform 3.
At the north end of platform 4 a
temporary crossover was used as the slow lines were being worked on
and connections to these were being installed. Once platform one (the
former platform 3) was brought into use the work moved to the East
Lancs side of the station, where the former platforms eight and nine
had buffer stops at the south end in effect forming two bay platforms.
This allowed work to commence on the southern side to swing those two
lines over to form platform 6 and the goods loop, routing them into
the up main line.
This work also entailed the removal of
the carriage loop and Preston No.3 Signal box which closed on the 13th
March 1972. This box controlled several lines into East Lancs, which
by now had also been lifted. The routes to East Lancs closed on 4th
September 1972 when Preston East Lancs Goods box closed, although
parts of this route would remain, for engineer's traffic until 10th
By May 1972 the new track had been laid
at the south end of platform 6, the current points being rod
controlled by Preston No.1 box. Electrification masts and the new
colour light gantries had also started to appear, although the signal
aspects were 'masked' to show they were not in use. The 'masking' was
performed by a box type cover which was fixed over the lenses and
hoods of the signal head and displayed a white cross to signify they
were not yet in use. The covers also enabled the signals to be lit
during testing without being visible to train crews and provided a
rapid means of commissioning the signal heads, when the time came, by
simply removing the covers.
The foot bridge (or glass bridge) to
the Park Hotel, which by then was council offices had been removed to
save raising it, following extensive discussions with Lancashire
Country Council and staff representatives who had used this route as a
short cut between Country Hall on Fishergate and the Park Hotel. As
the council were not prepared to pay for the re-work of the bridge it
was closed and removed.
As overhead stanchions were being added
the signalling engineer had further work and had to re-route point
rodding or provide cranks around these structures, while maintaining a
safe reliable railway on what were in effect very temporary features.
Once the new signalling (Stage 7) went
live on the 5th February 1973, the old temporary signals had their
arms removed and then the posts taken down and recovered. Finally one
part of the project was completed.
The Butler Street side of the station
was completely cleared over several years and was used as a 'Park and
Ride' scheme, allowing intending passenger to reserve a car parking
space before the day of travel. Eventually the site was developed,
forming the Fishergate Centre and car park, with a brand new
multi-story car park built for rail travellers in 2009.