New light for signal boxes

John Hayes MP, with campaigners in Deeping St James who appear to have won their fight to save St James Deeping signal box from demolition.  Photo by Tim Wilson.

John Hayes MP, with campaigners in Deeping St James who appear to have won their fight to save St James Deeping signal box from demolition. Photo by Tim Wilson.

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Two railway signal boxes earmarked for demolition in the Deepings appear to have been saved after political intervention.

Littleworth in Deeping St Nicholas and St James Deeping signal boxes were set to disappear from the landscape altogether under plans by Network Rail for the £280 million modernisation of the Great Northern Great Eastern line.

Phase five of the project between Spalding and Werrington, near Peterborough, has already started and the demolition of St James Deeping was to have started yesterday.

But after a spirited compaign in Deeping St James, Network Rail has agreed to dismantle the 19th century signal box, rather than demolish it.

Karen Clare (44) of Deeping St James said: “We’re really pleased to have saved the signal box because you can’t keep getting rid of history.

“It’s a huge victory for the village that Network Rail will take the signal box down brick by brick and know that it’s not going to be damaged in such a way that we can’t rebuild it.”

Network Rail put in planning applications with both South Holland and South Kesteven District Councils last month to demolish St James Deeping, Littleworth and Spalding’s Winsover Road signal boxes.

But an intervention by South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes has forced Network Rail into a re-think.

Mr Hayes said: “The conclusion we’ve reached so far with Network Rail is for them to dismantle, rather than demolish, St James Deeping signal box in such a way that it can be reassembled in the state and condition that it was before.

“Network Rail has also agreed, with certain conditions, not to demolish Littleworth on the grounds that it is a vital part of the village scene.

“But we need to come up with a scheme as to who will take responsibility for it on a permanent basis.

“I’ve also entered into discussions with Network Rail about Winsover Road and I’m keen to get a commitment on that.”