Restored St Albans signal box wins national award

ST ALBANS’ regenerated signal box has been recognised with a national heritage award.

The St Albans Signal Box Preservation trust spent four years restoring the structure and landscaping the surrounding grounds after negotiating a 25-year lease with Network Rail in March 2006.

Last week Pete Waterman OBE presented trust chairman Keith Webster with a plaque naming the trust as winners in the structures section of the prestigious Invensys Signalling Award for 2010, as part of the 2010 National Railway Heritage Awards, for the restoration of the Grade II listed Midland Railway signal box.

After attracting �135,000 in donations from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Railway Heritage Trust and other individuals and organisations, trust volunteers put in thousands of hours of restoration work on the inside of the box and the 44-lever frame once used to work the signals and points around St Albans City Station. They opened the box to the public at Easter 2009, and by the end of the year had already attracted 2,000 visitors.

Mr Webster said after the presentation at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award against some very worthy opposition.

“We started out by just wanting to tidy the place up and we ended up creating an asset for the whole community, not just for railway buffs!

“The volunteers who come along and provide cups of tea and huge amounts of effort are the ones who contribute the most to ensuring that this unique heritage asset is worthy of such recognition.

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“Also I can’t ignore the many visitors and armchair supporters who have all enjoyed and contributed to the success of this restoration. My thanks goes to all involved in the work and the judges who recognised our efforts.”

This is the second award received by the trust after it picked up the St Albans Civic Society’s top award for 2008 in recognition of its work.