Historic signal box dismantled for new life at heritage railway

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Greater Anglia has thanked customers for their patience following eight days of disruptive engineering works which were required to get ready for railway platform extensions for new longer trains. The works included the dismantling of a historic signal box.

Platforms at Greater Anglia’s stations on the Hertford East line are being made longer so that the train company’s new commuter trains, which are 10 carriages long, can fit. The old, disused signal box at Hertford East station was removed to make way for a longer platform.

The signal box was dismantled piece by piece and will be rebuilt at Leyburn, North Yorkshire, as part of the heritage Wensleydale Railway. Each piece was carefully catalogued, removed and packed on to flat bed lorries ready to be transported to North Yorkshire.

While the line was closed, engineers carried out survey works in preparation for the platform extensions at Rye House, St Margarets, Ware and Hertford East, which will take place next year.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “Thank you very much to all customers for their patience during these works. We are very pleased that a little piece of East Anglian heritage will find a new life in North Yorkshire as the railway continues to change and evolve.

“New five-carriage trains are already running on the line for some services. After we have made the platforms longer they will be able to run as ten carriages at busier times of day, giving customers even more seats.”

Andy Savage, executive director of the Railway Heritage Trust, said: “We have been concerned about the listed signal box at Hertford East for many years and that it has not been possible to find a local use for it.

“With the need to relocate if for a new platform this provided the perfect opportunity to not only relocate it, but also give it back to its original purpose of controlling the movement of trains. We have been very happy to support this project financially.”

The Wensleydale Railway received a grant of £80,000 from Greater Anglia and the Railway Heritage Trust towards the restoration costs of the Hertford East signal box. Nigel Park, Wensleydale Railway Association chairman said: “The Victorian signal box will be carefully restored, largely by volunteers, to its original condition at Leyburn on the Wensleydale Railway.  The signal box is a key part of the site development where it will be made fully operaational again, controlling train movements through the station.’

Greater Anglia’s new commuter trains are longer with more seats, plug and power points, improved accessibility features including an accessible toilet on every train, better passenger information screens and dedicated cycle spaces.

They feature regenerative braking which delivers energy back into the electrical supply network, rather than wasting the energy through heat, as is the case with conventional systems.

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