One of oldest working signal boxes in country to be moved

JPCT-09-03-12 Billingshurst. Station. Signal box and footbridge S12110010a -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT-09-03-12 Billingshurst. Station. Signal box and footbridge S12110010a -photo by Steve Cobb

One of the country’s oldest working signal boxes may be moved from Billingshurst as part of plans submitted by Network Rail.

In the application submitted to Horsham District Council the Grade II listed signal box would be removed to make way for the new modernised level crossing at Billingshurst Railway Station.

While it was hoped when plans were first mooted that the box could be moved to the Bluebell Railway, Network Rail are proposing it be stored in its Horsham railway depot until a suitable new home can be found.

Network Rail’s heritage, design and access statement concludes: “This project will deliver a considerable improvement to the safety of the level crossing whilst the increased width will ensure delays and bottle necks aren’t formed anymore on the highway due to vehicles having to currently utilise the crossing one by one.

“The project has been extensively researched in order to ensure the best possible solution to deliver these essential improvements. When the project is considered against both local and national policy it is considered acceptable from a heritage perspective and therefore we must ask the council to support the application and grant approval for the initial works.

“However, further to this demand for support, Network Rail are willing to enter into a formal legal agreement to ensure that the signal box is relocated to a site and surroundings that is acceptable to Horsham Council.”

The stairwell on the northern side of the platform will be relocated 90 degrees clockwise to allow the wider level crossing.

Under plans signal boxes at Amberley and Pulborough will also be decommissioned under modernisation plans which Network Rail say will improve the safety and efficiency of the crossing.

Network Rail’s statement of significance says that the signal box is believed to be one of the oldest working signal boxes in the country dating back to around 1876.