Hundreds mark reopening of St Albans signal box

PUBLISHED: 16:11 15 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:27 06 May 2010

HUNDREDS of people flocked to St Albans station at the weekend for the grand opening of a newly resorted signal box. After seven years of planning and restoration works, The St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust unveiled the gleaming red and yellow box

HUNDREDS of people flocked to St Albans station at the weekend for the grand opening of a newly resorted signal box.

After seven years of planning and restoration works, The St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust unveiled the gleaming red and yellow box at the south end of St Albans station to a crowd of 750 people on Saturday afternoon.

The move to restore the listed 1982 former Midland Railway signal box began in 2002 when a group of local residents came together to try and save the crumbling structure, which was last used in 1980.

With help from the Railway Heritage Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the trust had the box professionally underpinned, replaced all the rotten wood, painted the outside in the correct colours and even fitted a simulator inside so that visitors can see how it used to work.

At the launch, which was attended by executive director of the Railway Heritage Trust Jim Cornell, visitors had the opportunity to take a first look around the box and its surrounding garden before enjoying free traction engine rides in the sunshine.

Chairman of the Trust Keith Webster said that he had a lovely day: "I talked and talked about our signal box to anyone who would listen and it was nice to meet fellow enthusiasts. Mr Cornell was amazed at the transformation and when he first saw it he exclaimed, 'It's alive!' That's just the kind of response we were hoping for."

The signal box, which can be accessed by both road and rail, is open between 2pm and 5pm on the second and fourth Sundays of each month until the end of September. Admission is free and for further details visit the trust's site at www.sigbox.co.uk

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