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Still no date on when historic signalling box will be demolished

PUBLISHED: 11:15 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:17 20 May 2019

Brandon signal box is set to be demolished by Network Rail. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Brandon signal box is set to be demolished by Network Rail. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Archant

It is not known when a signalling box that has stood in a Norfolk Suffolk border town for nearly 100 years is to be demolished.

Richard Parrott with the 1907 thrashing traction engine called Dreadnought at his farm at Weeting. Picture: ArchantRichard Parrott with the 1907 thrashing traction engine called Dreadnought at his farm at Weeting. Picture: Archant

Residents of Brandon and Weeting raised concerns in the summer of 2018 that the Brandon signal box is to be pulled down by Network Rail.

A demolition notice was put on the building by Network Rail in 2016 as nothing has been done since.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: "The buildings themselves cost a lot to maintain, and as a public body, we have to ensure we manage our money effectively.

"We plan to demolish the box at Brandon, and are working to confirm a date for this.

Richard Parrott with his 1909 Burrell Traction Engine 'Princess Royal'. Picture: Angela SharpeRichard Parrott with his 1909 Burrell Traction Engine 'Princess Royal'. Picture: Angela Sharpe

"We understand community interest in old railway buildings like signal boxes. When the signal boxes on this line were initially decommissioned, we distributed parts such as the levers to a number of heritage railways."

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Classified as a permitted development, it means Network Rail must tell Brandon Town Council, as the planning authority, but the authority cannot object in principle.

Richard Parrot, 79, owns Fengate Farm and runs the popular Weeting Steam Engine Rally. He was one of the first residents to express interest in giving the box a permanent home.

He said: "It really is a big part of Brandon's history,it's a wonderful bit of felt brick work.

"If it was my building I would be forced to repair it and I have no idea why Breckland Council haven't listed it.

"If I could I would cut it at the base, load it onto one of my trailers and find a new home for it in one of my fields.

"I remember going to school on the train from Brandon and I would get it in the morning then return in the afternoon. I really will be sorry to see it go.

"It is part of the rail history. The signalmen worked the gates too and that is why they had the box where it is."

Network Rail said people who wish to retain the remaining parts of the signal box should call their helpline on 03457 11 41 41.

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