Poulton signal box demolition sparks anger

Demolition of the Poulton signal box begins
Demolition of the Poulton signal box begins

Rail enthusiasts on the Fylde have been left disappointed as the last of the old signal boxes on the Blackpool to Preston line is demolished.

The work has come as part of the upgrade on the railway which includes computerised signalling and power for electric trains.

But rail buffs say Network Rail has simply dumped historic equipment from other signal boxes on the line which could have been saved and passed to enthusiast groups.

Paul Nettleton, of the Blackpool and Fylde Rail Users Association said; “Despite assurances from Network Rail that the signalling equipment would be removed from each box, for use elsewhere on the network, the levers and lever frame were simply thrown into a skip.

“As far as I’m concerned that was unforgivable as they were pure ‘Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway’ built in Horwich and over a century old.

“Yes, I realise they have a job to do within a fairly tight timescale, but there must have been a better way of dealing with the situation.”

But Network Rail said equipment that could be saved has been put in storage.

They also said that the box had to be demolished because of fears that it would become a magnet for vandals and disrupt services on the line.

A spokesman said: “When removing redundant assets the first priority is identifying equipment that can be reused across the rail network.

“In this instance, many of the Poulton signal box’s components have been removed and reused at sites in Crewe, Manchester, Stockport and Warrington.

“A number of items have been placed in storage with our national supply chain and these will be available for groups/individuals to bid for through a formal bidding process. We’ve been in close dialogue with local rail groups during the project and made them aware of the process to bid for such items.”

See also: Blackpool rail route reopens