Work progressing on Wensleydale Railway signal box re-build

Wensleydale Railway says work to re-build a Victorian signal box is progressing well despite the bad weather this winter.

The signal box at Constable Burton was originally located at Hertford East Station, but had to be removed when the station platform was extended to accommodate Greater Anglia’s new ten-carriage commuter trains.

Greater Anglia donated the signal box to Wensleydale Railway and they, along with the Railway Heritage Trust, have provided grant funding of £90,000 towards the restoration costs.

The timber-framed signal box was dismantled piece by piece in November 2021 and every item was carefully catalogued, removed and packed on flatbed lorries and then transported to North Yorkshire.

Following the preparation and construction of a new foundation base, the signal box timbers have been cleaned, repaired, treated and painted over several months.

The main timber structure has been assembled and work is progressing on the external timber walls and completing the roof and chimney, using the original materials. The reconstruction works is being done by a team of dedicated volunteers, where appropriate using traditional techniques that reflect the signal box’s heritage.

Once fully fitted out with its lever frame, the signal box will control the passing loop at Constable Burton.

Passengers travelling to and from Leyburn will be able to see the current state of construction and follow progress in the coming months from the passing trains.

The signal box before it was moved to Constable Burton.

David Walker, director and trustee of the Wensleydale Railway, said: “This is a very large timber structure and will be the largest signal box to be fully dismantled on the national network and re-assembled on a heritage railway.

“Most Victorian signal boxes were demolished but this one was spared as it is a Grade II Listed Building. It is one of the last Great Eastern type 7’s and dates from the 1880s.”

Nick Keegan, fundraising and marketing manager at Wensleydale Railway, said: “This project is another example of the high-quality work undertaken by our railway’s charitable organisation, the Wensleydale Railway Association.

“Having lovingly restored Scruton and Leeming Bar stations with funding support including from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Railway Heritage Trust, this project once again demonstrates the trust’s dedication to preserving railway heritage for future generations to enjoy.”

1 Comment

  1. Great to see this restoration
    Those steps up to the signal box remind me of the climbs in my Railway Mission Chaplaincy days ! Couldn’t do it now at 88 !

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