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Railway signal box in Lincoln could be moved and transformed into cafe

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

  • The East Holmes signal box

Comments (7)

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.

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  • peak3  |  February 21 2013, 5:31PM

    why on earth this particular signal box was preserved in the first place beggers belief, its still the responsibility of the railway for its upkeep even though its out of use just like all the road bridges built by the railway that still go over track beds but the tracks have long gone thanks to beeching cuts in the 60s. this signal box will never be manned again & should have been offered to a preservation group by network rail, so whoever it was offered to could reconstruct it & use it on a preserved railway. a big chance was lost for the preservationists when the substancial pelham street signal box was demolished, if that was offered by network rail for reconstruction on a preserved line respect would be phenomenal toward network rail, but no whoever put a preservation order on this signal box was having a laugh, apart from its a shadow of its former self how can the railways upgrade its self with relics like this languishing for the memory of days gone by, take lincoln st marks station. im sure network rail want this signal box out of the way, after all, its costing them for its upkeep at the moment. soon there will be plenty of signal boxes up for grabs & all should be offered for reconstruction on presereved railway lines by network rail. if anyone travels from lincoln to nottingham take a good look while going round the tight curve on the right, you will see an abandoned falling to bits brick building relic which was the water tower for trains using the long gone lincoln avoiding line during the days of steam but nobody cares about that? lincoln avoiding line what an issue that is but that is another story.

    |   -3
  • Steve_Lincoln  |  February 21 2013, 5:14PM

    If it's dis-used then just knock it down, it's just a shed on legs so hardly a heritage item!

    |   -10
  • DarkPool  |  February 21 2013, 1:24PM

    Network Rail would have first done us all a favour and developed St Marks and closed Lincoln Central or closed both and built on the Cowpaddle. As far as the footbridge over the railway lets hope the planners have a long memory. When there was a footbridge over the railway line next to the Midland Hotel which became the first Tesco the only people scampering over this bridge was my brother and I to stand in the clouds of steam issued by passing steam trains, everyone else just waited for the level crossing to open. Footbridges will be a waste of money. Please take note Rachel.

  • paper  |  February 21 2013, 12:20PM

    @rick29 that's all well & good until someone gets killed!

    |   2
  • Moaning_Minne  |  February 21 2013, 11:25AM

    That box has been there forever.....just leave well alone.......

    |   4
  • rick29  |  February 21 2013, 9:18AM

    they should bring these boxes back they could lower the barriers when a train is actually coming instead of the 2 or 3 minutes before one goes by, then raise them for a couple minutes then lower them when next train comes instead of keeping them down longer.

    |   9
  • camelherder  |  February 21 2013, 7:40AM

    If it is "protected" then moving it and possibly extending it will mean it is no longer protected. Leave it where it is and employ staff to man this box and the High Street.

    |   5