Signal boxes in North Seaton and Sleekburn set to be removed as part of Northumberland Line project
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Most signal boxes on the line will have their equipment removed and be securely locked, but the ones at Marcheys House in Sleekburn and at North Seaton have to be removed to allow new level crossing safety equipment to function correctly.
Signalling on the line is being upgraded as part of the Northumberland Line project and will be controlled by Network Rail’s signalling centre in Gateshead, making the boxes redundant.
Councillor Alex Wallace, who represents Sleekburn ward, said: “When dismantled [Marcheys House signal box] is to be stored, possibly in the Cambois area, and to be considered how it may be used elsewhere.
“I am sure many residents and those who formerly lived in the area will be sad to learn of its going. Having a number of relatives still living close by, like me, they will be sad to see it go.
“It also very sadly means the loss of employment along the line for a number of signalmen. Hopefully they have all been gainfully employed elsewhere.
“I am pleased to learn that after the signal box is removed the road leading to the crossing and onto the Foresters corner will be resurfaced. Work on the road has been delayed due to delays in removing the signal box.”
A spokesperson for the Northumberland Line said: “We know many local people will be disappointed to see the signal boxes go, and a historical recording will take place at all signal boxes being removed or taken out of use, so that there is a record of their existence and the layout of the buildings.
“We will also be working with Network Rail to see if any items or equipment from the signal boxes can be made available as part of the demolition process, outside of any items that need to be retained for re-use elsewhere.
“The works are anticipated to take place from March 2024, including during a longer period when there are no freight trains running on the line.
“Local residents will be advised of specific dates for the works, including any disruption and road closures in due course.”