Rare railway signal box given new lease of life in Sussex
The signal box – a Saxby and Farmer type 1b box dating to before 1876 – used to stand at the level crossing in Billingshurst.
The signal box, built for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, was ‘listed’ as being of historic interest and when Network Rail decided to widen the Billingshurst level crossing and modernise the signalling system, it was decided to save the box by offering it to the museum.
Listed buildings lose their listing when moved but the museum says it is treating the building ‘with the associated level of care and attention as though it were still listed.’
The top part of the signal box – the operating room – was brought in one piece to the museum on a flatbed lorry and moved by crane. The lever frame, signalling levers, the block instruments and the track diagram were also saved and form part of the exhibit which was officially reopened last week by chairman of the Railway Heritage Trust Andy Savage.
The reopening followed completion of rebuilding of the signal box’s stairs funded by the Friends of Amberley Museum.
The signal box is now opened regularly to visitors and a team of volunteers help visitors to understand how the box once operated. Book a visit here: https://www.amberleymuseum.co.uk/
The Railway Heritage Trust curates many historic buildings which populate the national railway system. The aim is to repurpose redundant buildings which are of historical significance for educational or community use by placing them in the care of other organisations, trusts and museums. Buildings are relocated where their location is close to live railway tracks.
Amberley Museum has over 20 exhibition areas covering everything from vintage vehicles to communications to electrical goods to crafts and nature trail – to rides on a narrow-gauge railway and historic buses.
The museum also hosts a programme of regular events and a team of volunteers help to look after the exhibits.