Historic 120-year-old signal box in Sheffield demolished as part of £23 million rail upgrade

120 years of Sheffield railway history came to an end yesterday when a historic signal box was demolished.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 2:54 pm

The excavator moved in on Sunday (March 14) to knock down the historic signal box at Beighton as part of a £23 million line upgrade.

The historic signalbox built in the heyday of steam was cleared as part of work, between Sheffield and Shireoaks, to improve the track and upgrade the signalling system.

Network Rail said there was no cost benefit to retaining the redundant signal box along with others at Woodburn and Woodhouse.

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The signal box at Beighton. Picture by Keith Bown.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said it was aware signal boxes were often regarded with affection, but the old box-based system for controlling trains was being relocated to a centre in York.

"Although they are well-recognised in the community, the cost of keeping these buildings without an operational purpose is significant," they added.

The work is expected to be completed by March 21.For all of this work to take place safely, the line will be closed between Sheffield and Shireoaks and the following changes to train services will be in place:

Until Sunday 21 March, buses will replace Northern trains between Sheffield, Worksop, Retford and Lincoln.

An aerial shot of Beighton level crossing during the demolition of the signal box. Picture by Keith Bown.

Buses will arrive and depart from stands E5 or E6 at Sheffield Interchange bus station, a ten-minute walk from Sheffield station.

Train services will continue to run between Gainsborough Lea Road, Saxilby and Lincoln. There will also be bus replacement services between these stations.

Buses will also replace Northern trains between Sheffield and Gainsborough Central/Cleethorpes.

Tram Train services will run as normal throughout the vast majority of the work, but there will be no service to Rotherham or Parkgate on Sunday 21 March.

Beighton signal box is demolished.Picture by Keith Bown.

East Midlands Railway services between Worksop and Nottingham and between Doncaster and Spalding via Lincoln are unaffected by this work and will continue to run.

People should continue to follow the latest Government guidelines and only travel if they need to make essential journeys. Passengers are strongly advised to check via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator before travelling and allow plenty of time.

Chris Gee, Operations Director for Network Rail, said: “These vital improvements will modernise the railway, reduce delays for passengers and bring smoother, more reliable journeys between Sheffield and Lincoln.

“We’re carrying out major work to upgrade the signalling system, as well as the track in the Woodburn area, over the nine days to keep disruption to a minimum. This avoids having to close the line again at a later date and means that passengers can reap the benefits much quicker.

An excavator makes short work of the120-year-old structure. Picture by Keith Bown.

“This work can only be done safely when there are no trains running on the line. Bus replacement services are in place to keep passengers who need to make essential journeys moving.”

Work is also taking place to upgrade Beighton level crossing. Modernising it by installing new equipment will improve reliability.

The section of Rotherham Road at the crossing will remain closed until Sunday March 21. A signposted diversion is in place for drivers and access over the crossing will be maintained for pedestrians.

The demolition of Beighton signal box. Picture by Keith Bown.