Future is bright for signal box as community wins

Campaigners successful in saving St James Deeping Signal Box from the scrapheap meet at The Waterton Arms, Deeping St James, to form separate fundraising and rebuilding committees for the ongoing restoration project.  Photo by Tim Wilson.

Campaigners successful in saving St James Deeping Signal Box from the scrapheap meet at The Waterton Arms, Deeping St James, to form separate fundraising and rebuilding committees for the ongoing restoration project. Photo by Tim Wilson.

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Campaigners are claiming victory in their fight to save a historic railway signal box in Deeping St James from the scrapheap.

A project is under way to raise cash for the rebuilding of St James Deeping signal box after it was deconstructed by Network Rail to make way for new signalling last October.

At least 40 people met at The Waterton Arms in Deeping St James on Monday to form fundraising and property committees to take the rebuilding project forward.

Project chairman Stuart Hall (72) said: “The remains of the signal box are in safekeeping with Network Rail and their people have pledged that anything damaged and non-reusable will be replaced like-for-like.

“Network Rail is also making some land available on the other side of the road from the old station master’s house, but we’re also looking at one or two other sites near the railway line.

“I think that we’ve saved the signal box and we’re now moving on to phase two to get it rebuilt.”

A coalition of parish, district and county councillors, along with South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes, has helped the community in reaching a deal with Network Rail to rebuild the signal box.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are delighted to have made some very positive progress recently with representatives of the Deeping St James community towards finding a permanent home for the old Deeping St James signal box.

“All materials will be made available for the reconstruction once a suitable location has been agreed and we are hopeful that, before long, this community project will deliver an asset that will be enjoyed by the people of the Deepings for many years to come.”

Mr Hayes said: “To its credit, Network Rail has shown a strong commitment and willingness to help out where possible so that we can now be optimistic about the future of St James Deeping Signal Box and we will get it rebuilt.”