Signal box must be demolished

The Poulton signal box
The Poulton signal box
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Network Rail says it has no option but to demolish an historic Poulton building.

The company fears the box, which is a landmark on the Blackpool to Preston line,would become a target for vandals.

The building is inside the town’s conservation zone but has not been included in a list of signal boxes nationwide which should be protected.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Left in situ, Poulton-Le-Flyde signal box could be become a trigger for trespass, vandalism and antisocial behaviour, particularly given its location in proximity to the station and residential properties. When somebody is spotted trespassing, all trains in the vicinity are stopped to ensure the safety of the passengers, train staff and the trespasser themselves.

“This not only delays nearby trains, but can also have a knock-on effect on trains across the network.”

The company says the cost of retaining a redundant building cannot be justified.

A spokesman said: “Unfortunately the significant costs associated with carefully dismantling and relocating the signal box outweighs any potential value for re-use, or repurpose.

“As such, the Network Rail’s consideration is that there is, therefore, no option but to decommission the signal box, strip out any assets of value that it contains, and demolish what remains of the signal box.”

The company applied to Wyre Council to carry out the demolition. It withdrew an initial request this week.

The work is likely to be carried out when the Blackpool to Preston line is shut over the winter.

The route will close for 18 weeks to allow electrification, signalling and track works to take place.

The work will allow electric trains to operate to Blackpool for the first time.