The Mid-Norfolk Railway and its specialist haulier contractor, David Watson Transport, have successfully moved the former Network Rail signal box from Spooner Row to its new home at Wymondham Abbey station despite Storm Eunice.
The long-planned move had been scheduled for several months for the 18 February, but undeterred by the approaching storm the team from David Watson Transport had the experience to successfully delivered the 19th Century wooden signal box to its new home.
Now that the box has arrived, the Mid-Norfolk Railway is relaunching the public appeal to raise £12000 to fund the transportation and then refurbish the box. Currently the appeal stands at £7500 and so a relaunch to coincide with the arrival of the box will look to raise the money needed to fully fund the refurbishment that is needed.
Donations can be made via the Mid-Norfolk Railway website at www.midnorfolkrailway.co.uk/donations
The box had been identified by Network Rail as being available to be gifted to the Mid-Norfolk Railway but has until now not been able to be transported from its existing location at Spooner Row to Wymondham Abbey. The box was initially removed from the mainline during a weekend line closure that began on 3rd September. The box was then stored at Spooner Row playing fields. The wooden top half of the box has now joined a new brick base that has been built next to the level crossing at the Wymondham Abbey station site.
The transport of the signal box has been made possible due to generous donations to the Mid-Norfolk Railway public fund-raising appeal, together with a Wymondham Town Council grant and also grants from South Norfolk District Councillor’s Robert Savage and Kevin Hurn.
"This is a very important day for the railway, we knew this box would come to us for reuse and it has been a long wait, but we have been patient and we are extremely grateful to Network Rail for facilitating this important addition to the railway The hard work now begins however as first the box is restored and then my team can install the mechanisms that will be needed to allow the box to return to being a functioning box once again." Richard Pike Volunteer Head of MNR Signal & Telegraph Department
The signal box base has previously been constructed by MNR volunteers and has been a familiar site to visitors for many years.
“The arrival of the signal box from Spooner Row marks the first step in the development of the Wymondham end of the railway that will in due course see a new station at Wymondham Abbey. This new station is critically important to the long-term future of the railway as the railway seeks to develop its commercial activities and also build strong links with the local community in the town and surrounding area.” All at the railway are very grateful to those who have donated or assisted so far, including George Freeman MP, to allow us to get to this stage, but I hope that the public can continue to support the railway so that we can complete the project”. Charlie Robinson, Chairman The Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust