End in sight for Barnham signal box restoration volunteers

VOLUNTEERS working to restore Barnham signal box hope to have finished within a year

The team of helpers is making its way through the large number of jobs needing to be completed before the historic building can be used again.

It is sited in the grounds of the Aldingbourne Community Sports Centre off Olivers Meadow.

Barnham Signal Box Trust chairman Mike Burton says in the group’s latest newsletter: “We hope to finish all the work by the latter part of 2012. We still have an ongoing need for donations – both financial and support in kind, and we still need volunteers.

“A work party assembles every Saturday morning and sometimes during the week.”

The trust was formed after Network Rail announced the early 20th century signal box was to be demolished at Barnham railway station when a new computerised signal centre was finished.

The trust’s members moved the signal box from the station to Olivers Meadow in December 2009 in a delicate operation once the rail company had been persuaded to let the building survive.

But the community effort seemed to be in vain when arsonists set fire to it on the night of November 25, 2010.

The insurance settlement enabled work to restart and extensive repairs got underway. This involved major structural work as well as designing, making and fitting internal stairs and putting in the large upper windows.

Future tasks involve replacing the outer balcony and stairs as well as putting the signal box’s interior straight.

It is hoped Network Rail will donate a set of signals and sleepers to complement the building.

Anyone who would like to help should email: woodgate37@talktalk.net or 07521 678966.