Iconic signal box to rise from the ashes?

Retired signalman 'Sidney Clare outside St James Deeping signal boix where he worked for 25 years.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Retired signalman 'Sidney Clare outside St James Deeping signal boix where he worked for 25 years. Photo by Tim Wilson.
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The prospects of Deeping St James having its landmark signal box restored to the village have risen after talks between rail bosses and MP John Hayes.

Campaigners were heartbroken when St James Deeping signal box was “sympathetically deconstructed” last October.

At the time, a group of supporters held a vigil before deconstruction as the last train to pass by the box went from Spalding to Peterborough.

But talks between Mr Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings and the Government’s transport minister, and Network Rail route managing director Phil Verster have given campaigners renewed hope.

Mr Hayes said: “I spoke to Mr Verster at the end of December to get an update on St James Deeping signal box as I’m anxious to make further progress on it.

“Mr Verster said we were in a very good place and would have another meeting early in the new year to lay the foundations for the re-erecting of the signal box.

“When the box was dismantled, detailed drawings were done so that it could be rebuilt and we’ve identified a piece of land adjacent to where the signal box stood and that Network Rail owns for the rebuilding of the box.

“It would require discussions about ownership, management, responsibility and access but, in principle, there’s a determination to get this done and to have this matter resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned.”

Stuart Hall of Deeping St James, one of the signal box campaigners, said: “This is the first positive piece of news we’ve had about the signal box and we’re very excited.

“It’s going to take some time to raise the money to get the box back up but we’ve said from day one that it will go back up.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “As promised, we undertook a full dimensional and photographic survey prior to dismantling the building.

“Network Rail has salvaged and/or replaced materials to enable the signal box to be rebuilt which is available to the community in line with our original commitments.”