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Battle starts now to save the signal box

A RAIL enthusiast has joined calls to save Shirley signal-box - an historic building which is due to be pulled down this autumn.

A RAIL enthusiast has joined calls to save Shirley signal-box - an historic building which is due to be pulled down this autumn.

Martin Creese, who lives nearby, said that the box was among the last of its kind in the Birmingham and Warwickshire area.

During a recent visit, he photographed the inside of the building, which still has the original wooden frame and brass bells.

“There really aren’t many of these old-fashioned boxes left in the local area and it would be a real shame to see it go,” said Martin.

“It’s 103 years old and thousands of people go past it every day, so it’s a big part of the railway station.”

Network Rail will be re-signalling along the Birmingham-Stratford line - making the signal boxes at Shirley, Bearley and Henley-in-Arden obsolete.

All three operate in the same way, but Martin said that Shirley is the one which would make sense to save for posterity.

“Henley-in-Arden is off at the end of a platform and Bearley is in the middle of nowhere, so it’s the only one that could feasibly be kept.

“I don’t know why they don’t consider making it into a tea-room, that’s what’s happened elsewhere and they do a thriving trade.”

After our original article, the Solihull News was also made aware of a successful campaign to save a much newer signal-box at Birmingham New Street.

“I can only describe it as a sort of concrete carbuncle,” added Martin.

“It was built in the 1960s - but that was given listed building status. There doesn’t seem to be much logic about what’s kept and what’s not.”

Malcolm Turner, chairman of Shirley Residents Association, said: “It’s a superb example of a signal box and it looks beautiful surrounded as it is with flowers.

“It’s a disgrace that they want to demolish it - this is just the kind of heritage we should be clinging on to.”

To read more of Martin’s rail exploits visit: http://martincreese.railnuts.com/2010/08/25/shirley-signal-box-2/.

 

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