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Crane signals final journey for Barnham box

After almost a century of controlling the signals and points on the railway from east of Bognor Regis to west of Arundel, Barnham's historic signal box has made the 1.8 mile journey from the town's station to its new home at Aldingbourne playing fields, where it will start its life as a community centre.

The delicate operation, which took place despite wet and windy conditions on Sunday morning, was the culmination of years of hard work and fundraising and months of planning. It involved lifting the five-tonne structure by crane from the middle platform of Barnham station and putting it onto a large low-loader.  The signal box then made the three-hour journey across the town before being lifted onto the new pre-built foundations at its new home.  Along the way approximately 100 telephone lines had to be moved out of the way one at a time.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail's route director for Sussex, said: "Passengers travelling through Barnham are already benefitting from the new signalling centre which is more suited to the needs of the modern railway. It’s important to get the right balance between using the latest technology to run an efficient and reliable train service and preserving Britain’s rich railway history.  In this case, we're pleased the historic signal box, which is a genuine railway legacy, can continue to play an important role in the community.

"Because of the age of the old signal box, we had to bring in a specialist team to relocate it to its new home.  This was not an easy task, but now the box has been moved successfully, work can start on restoring it to its former glory.”

Andy Ayling from the Save Barnham Signal Box campaign group added: "We are indebted to those generous sponsors who have given their support to this relocation project.  Without their help, it would not have been possible to preserve this fine example of Edwardian railway heritage. 

"Now the signal box is in its new home, we can focus on raising funds for the final part of the restoration work so the community can start benefitting from this facility.  Any donations will be welcome."

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