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End of an era as signal box goes

IT’S the end of the line for a 100-year-old signal box, which is due to be demolished in a few months time.

IT’S the end of the line for a 100-year-old signal box, which is due to be demolished in a few months time.

The red-brick building, on the platform of Shirley Station, first came into operation in 1907, but is due to be pulled down as part of a Network Rail restructure.

Starting this autumn, there will be a re-signalling on the Birmingham to Stratford Line, with operations moved to Saltley, Birmingham.

Train driver Ian Gregory told the Solihull News that this would mean the closure of three signal boxes at Shirley, Henley-in-Arden and Bearley.

“Originally we thought that the Shirley signal-box was going to be kept for offices and storages, but now we’ve been told it’s going to be demolished.

“It just seems a shame to lose such an old building. It’s brick-built and in good condition, it’s not as if it’s made of wood and rotting away.”

Ian, who lives in Shirley himself, said that the building had become a familiar sight while he was at work and would like to see a reprieve.

And Hilary Walker, who lives in Brook Close, behind the station, said it would be “awful” to see it bulldozed.

“I’ve lived in the area since I was two-years-old and it would be dreadful to see the building disappear,” said the 64-year-old.

“It’s part of our heritage and I’m sure that all the people who I grew up with and still live nearby, feel the same.

“I think there’s talk of getting a petition together to try and save it.”

A Network Rail spokesman said that disused signal boxes run the risk of attracting vandals.

“In the past some heritage signal boxes that have been displaced as part of similar upgrade schemes have been donated to local communities which is something that Network Rail will always consider.

“Unfortunately the signal box at Shirley because of its position on the infrastructure doesn’t lend itself to be retained.”

 

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