HASLEMERE Community Station (HCS) has announced plans to preserve the town’s iconic signalling box.
The box is set to be replaced by a new signalling centre in Basingstoke by late-2024, but HCS volunteers have met with Network Rail officials and expressed a formal interest to maintain the box.
And plans are in place for Haslemere’s iconic Grade II listed 127-year-old signalling box to be preserved as a ‘working museum’ for the community to enjoy.
HCS volunteer Ken Griffiths said: “Our aim is to bring this signal box into community use, where visitors will be able to see and operate an authentic ‘working’ signal box as it was in the 1930s.
“We will install computer software to reflect the signalling boxes at Farncombe and Petersfield, so when instructions on passing trains up and down the line from Haslemere are sent out to those imaginary signal boxes, the correct operational signals will come back to Haslemere as though those signalling boxes are still there.”
HCS is leading the campaign to preserve the signalling box, but is being supported by other volunteers.
The plan is to keep the signal box at its current location on platform one, with discussions taking place with Network Rail and South Western Railway to secure safe access from the small station car park.
The box won’t be accessible from the station, but passengers will be able to see the signalling box while waiting on the platform for their train.
HCS hope the necessary work will meet the criteria to be partly funded by a Railway Heritage Trust grant.
Ken added: “We are very positive about this. The work that needs to be done is affordable and achievable.
“The signal box will be open to the public, but not every day as we will be relying on volunteers to be on site.”
The plans to save Haslemere’s signalling box come in the middle of a nine-day closure of the line between Petersfield and Guildford.
The line has been closed from last Saturday (February 12) and remains closed until today (Sunday) as Network Rail has started the work between Petersfield and Farncombe which will see the signalling on the line replaced by the centre in Basingstoke.
Rail replacement buses are running instead of trains.
Anyone who wants to help HCS with the signalling box project should email Ken at [email protected]
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