Deeping St James signal box could be rebuilt

Demolition of the Deeping St James signal box.'Photo courtesy of John McGowan. EMN-141027-094153001
Demolition of the Deeping St James signal box.'Photo courtesy of John McGowan. EMN-141027-094153001
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Campaigners trying to rebuild a historic railway signal box have called a public meeting to gauge the level of support for the project.

A group of Deeping St James residents were unable to convince Network Rail not to knock down the building in Station Road last year.

But their passion for the landmark encouraged the company to take it down carefully, keeping all the materials so it could be rebuilt as a heritage centre at a later date.

Now, the group is trying to find a suitable site on which to resurrect the signal box. But public support, from volunteers and donations to building advice, is required before any work can start.

Deeping St James parish councillor Stuart Hall is one of those who campaigned to save the signal box. He said: “Network Rail has done a lot of work. They are looking after everything at their Spalding site.

“All the bricks are being cleaned up, and those that are broken or missing are being replaced. Our MP John Hayes has also worked hard on our behalf.

“We have been determined since day one at some point the box that is part of the village heritage will be rebuilt.”

A public meeting will take place at the Waterton Arms in Church Street, Deeping St James, at 7.30pm on Monday, February 16.

Coun Hall said: “We are moving into phase two. We need to find people with building skills or volunteering skills - anything that would be of assistance to get the box back up.

“Everything is being put into place.”

Securing a site and finding the funds to rebuild the box could take some time. But Network Rail has offered land next to the old station master’s house, across the road from where the box used to be. Other sites are also being considered.

“Network Rail said if we liked the site and it was useful then we could have it,” said Coun Hall. “The price has to be sorted out. But the commitment is there.”

The group hopes to use grant funding and public donations to rebuild the signal box and turn it into a heritage centre and railway exhibition. A target amount has not yet been set.