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Historian Fred Hughes writes....
The route of the Loop Line from Kidsgrove to Cobridge has been attractively preserved as greenways except for the stretch from Hanley to Etruria where many developments have completely removed or obscured it.
to the right a mound of
slag from the Shelton works deposited at Tinkersclough
I reckon the signal box must have been an exciting place for a young man to work.
“Control was made by a series of electric bells,” Brian continues. “An express train was called a ‘four-beat’ which meant four rings would come to you from the box before yours. ‘Four-beats’ was always the London train which you couldn’t stop unless an emergency occurred. Once I was with the signalman who considered me sufficiently proficient to let me work the box as the London train came through. This was the Comet that always arrived around noon. After it passed through Etruria this day, I was too anxious in putting the Etruria signal back down and the fireman on the London train was looking back thinking his driver had missed the ‘stop’ signal. For safety’s sake they stopped the train before we explained what had happened. But the fireman had to report the reason why the Comet had been brought to a halt. My signalman took full responsibility and was cautioned. But that’s how serious these things were taken. You don’t stop a train filled with passengers travelling at 90 miles an hour for nothing. But the Loop Line, ah the Loop Line! It had a character of its own. It was all so personal.”
Etruria was the beginning and the end of the Loop Line. Its loss to Stoke-on-Trent is immeasurable.
05 Jan 2009
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