A 19th Century protected railway signal box could be moved and transformed into a cafe.
It would also be refurbished and extended as part of a project to build a footbridge over the line in Brayford Wharf East.
The Grade II listed building may be switched from the level crossing to an adjacent site on the edge of Brayford Pool.
Network Rail has submitted a planning application to the City of Lincoln Council, with suggestions of the building's use, including as a cafe. It also wants to build a new habitat for swans by extending the island in the Brayford.
Spokesman Rachel Lowe said: "It was clear that people would like to see the signal box brought into use again, perhaps as a shop or similar community facility.
"It needs to be relocated outside operational railway property and the footbridge project is an ideal opportunity."
During a consultation process about the plans, which ended on Thursday, February 14, the Brayford Trust – which works to protect the interests of the area – said it approved of the ideas.
The Trust suggested transforming the signal box into offices for a community group.
The body stated in a letter: "The trust particularly welcomes the retention and relocation of the signal box and the replacement of the swan jetty with the proposed swan habitat."
The lever system in the signal box, built in 1873, could be donated to a museum.
Network Rail also wants to demolish a redundant footbridge over the River Witham opposite The Engine Shed.
The creation of the new floating swan habitat would see the removal of the jetty next to the street allowing access to the proposed footbridge.
The existing ramp is seen as an "unsuitable" feeding environment that is vulnerable to vandalism and abuse.
Improvements to the road would complete an overall revamp of the area.
Ms Lowe said: "We have had extensive consultation with Her Majesty's Keeper of Swans and the Brayford Trust in order to design the new, extended island in the centre of Brayford Pool, which will actually provide an enhanced environment for the swans."
Network Rail said the defunct river bridge was in "considerable disrepair" and its removal was a long-term aspiration of the city council to "de-clutter" the river.
Network Rail wants to build footbridges near to the Brayford Wharf East and High Street crossings to reduce the risk of misuse.
The Environment Agency objected to the application on the grounds of flood risk.
Spokesman Rita Penman said: "Our objection is because the application does not include all the information that we need to make a proper judgement on the risk of flooding although we are confident information can be supplied.
"Generally, we have no problems with the principle of the bridge."
Plans for the Brayford Wharf East bridge will be considered by the city council's planning committee on Wednesday, March 27.
A planning application for the High Street bridge has not yet been submitted.