5 minute read – New life for Platform 1’s Pacer, lifted into Huddersfield Station

  • Platform 1 mental health charity in Huddersfield takes delivery of 19-tonne restored train carriage, delivered by crane
  • Charity won a Department for Transport competition to ‘Transform a Pacer’, and will use it for an educational kitchen
  • Competition marked the end of the line for the unpopular Pacer trains on the Northern network.

A retired train carriage was lowered into position at Huddersfield Station for local charity Platform 1 on Saturday night (July 10), breathing new life into a Pacer train and giving it a new permanent home.

The 19-tonne carriage, was lifted into position overnight by a crane positioned on St George’s Street, hoisting it over the high wall into the station. The vehicle is the second of the retired trains to be delivered to community projects as part of the DfT’s ‘Transform a Pacer’ competition in the North of England – another vehicle was recently delivered to a primary school in Bradford to create a new science laboratory.

The competition means that after three decades of service to northern communities retired Pacer trains will now serve them in new and exciting ways focused on bringing the community together.

The train delivered to Platform 1 was provided by rolling stock company Porterbrook and has been in service since 1986, travelling over three million miles across the network in that time. It was installed with the help of Network Rail teams who managed the logistics of putting it into place. Network Rail also donated the railway sleepers for the pacer to sit on.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris said:

It’s not every day you get to see a train suspended metres above a station. This has been a fantastic project for everyone involved, and I am so pleased that this Pacer will support the exceptional and important work Platform 1 do in the local community.

“Now that Pacers are off the network with modern, new trains running in their place, passengers will be pleased to know the Pacer at the platform is retired from service, but still helping the people of Huddersfield.”

Gez Walsh, Project Leader at Platform 1 said:

“The pacer trains may not have been popular in their working life but this one will be cherished in its retirement.

“This train will now take people on a journey of development and deliver them to a more happier, secure life.”

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook said: 

“We were delighted to support the DfT’s Transform a Pacer competition and particularly pleased that one of the winners is a charity in Huddersfield devoted to supporting mental wellbeing.” 

“Many organisations from across the industry have joined together with Porterbrook and DfT to deliver this Pacer vehicle to the Platform 1 site, including Bam Nuttall, HNRC, Network Rail and Northern.

“I would like to thank all those involved as they have shown, yet again, how the railway works together to deliver for the communities we serve.”

Other winners include Airedale NHS Trust who will use the vehicle to improve local NHS services, transforming their carriage into a mixed-use, non-clinical space to improve the experience of patients using Airedale General Hospital. This will have a particular focus on helping children and families, as well as those suffering with dementia, it will provide a unique communal environment to support patients during their stay.

Tricia Williams, Chief Operating Officer at Northern said:

“We’re delighted to be able to make a positive impact by helping Platform 1 expand the already outstanding support they offer to the wider Huddersfield community.

“Our Pacers gave many decades’ service to those same communities and, now they’ve been replaced on our network by brand new trains, it’s great to see one of those old carriages being given a new lease of life as a hub for Platform.”

5 minute read – Pioneering station pilot helps Manchester street homeless into housing

Manchester Piccadilly station staff have joined forces with the housing charity Shelter to help people sleeping rough around the major transport hub.

The pioneering partnership has seen members of the station team specially trained by Shelter Engagement workers as part of a new outreach scheme which began in October 2020.

Network Rail staff work with Shelter’s own engagement workers to connect and refer the people they encounter sleeping rough with Shelter’s expert services in order to provide them with tailored help and support.

Since the pilot started, 100 people who were sleeping rough in or around Manchester Piccadilly have been helped by the partnership.

The help includes support to access to different services, such as registering with a GP, mental health services and setting up a bank account.

Crucially, 32 people were helped into emergency or temporary accommodation, and a further five have been helped into permanent accommodation so far.

Birmingham New Street station has also been involved in the joint initiative, with a total of 168 people helped across both cities.

Many of the people helped have been living on the streets for a long time, and the interventions by the outreach staff in the stations are a first step in the process to securing permanent accommodation and life-changing support.

One of the people helped was *Jack, 44, who was referred by Network Rail staff in December when the temperature was 0°.

He’d lost his tenancy after being furloughed at the start of the pandemic and had been sleeping rough for 9 months.

Mimi, a Shelter engagement worker, met Jack and together they secured a bed for him in emergency accommodation.

During that time Shelter worked with its partners to find Jack somewhere to stay longer term and he is now settled in supported temporary accommodation, which has meant he is able to return to work.

Jack said: “I had no idea what my rights or options were, but Network Rail and Mimi from Shelter have been amazing in helping me to get to this turning point in my life. Without this pilot I would still be on the streets, and because of their help I’m now back at work again. For the first time in months I feel safe and positive about my future.”

The training given to Manchester Piccadilly workers by Shelter has given them confidence in how to sensitively approach people sleeping rough and share the options available to them for help and support.

This includes staff learning about the complex and traumatising factors which can lead to someone losing their home.

Non-uniformed staff work on the outreach shifts – as there can be a level of mistrust from being approached by somebody in uniform.

This has helped teams better connect and get to know people around the station, helping to build confidence and trust with one another.  

Kyla Thomas, Manchester Piccadilly station manager, said: “Day to day our focus is of course to run a safe and reliable railway for passengers, but we must recognise stations like Piccadilly are also a place of refuge for people with nowhere else to turn.

“Before this partnership with Shelter we often felt powerless when we didn’t know how best to help those without a safe and secure place to sleep for the night. Equipping staff with the knowledge and skills to help people find a route out of homelessness has been a huge success – as proven by the positive outcomes and success stories since the pilot started.”

Liz Norris, Services Manager at Shelter, said: “This pilot has meant that we can reach out to people outside of our usual environment and be there when people might need someone the most. If you’re used to being ignored on the street, or worse, you can start to lose hope and we’ve been able to help restore that.

“We’ve been able to offer advice and support, helping people who had been sleeping rough to find safe accommodation. We know that home is everything, and together with our partners we’re able to help people find and keep theirs.”

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, said: “These pilot schemes demonstrate how much the rail industry is committed to taking meaningful action and helping everyone who uses the rail network.

“We are all committed to ending homelessness and I know these wonderful pilot schemes will make a real difference and change lives.”

The Shelter Outreach project forms part of Network Rail’s five year ‘Routes out of Homelessness’ campaign.

For more information visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/rooh

New safety warning as a third of British adults say they would risk all by stepping onto the railway track to retrieve their mobile phone

  • Purse / wallet (33%) and keys (31%) were among the other personal items adults would retrieve from the track
  • Yet 98% of adults understand that stepping onto the tracks carries risk of serious injury or death
  • Seven-time Paralympian Simon Munn, MBE, joins Network Rail and British Transport Police to launch new safety film – Shattered Lives – highlighting the devastating consequences of adult trespass

Shocking new survey1 results have revealed that a third of British adults are prepared to risk life and limb to retrieve an everyday object (mobile phone / purse or wallet 33%, keys 31%) from the track despite being fully aware of the dangers.

Network Rail and British Transport Police today launched a new campaign – ‘shattered lives’ – warning about the life-changing dangers on, and  around the railway where making the wrong choice could so easily lead to devastating consequences for them, their friends and family.

Rupert Lown, chief health and safety officer at Network Rail, said: “It is shocking that so many people are willing to risk life and limb to retrieve an everyday object from the track or make a shortcut, either of which could so easily result in shattering the lives of their loved ones forever. There are more dangers around the railway than people often realise – not just trains but the electricity in overhead lines and the third rail, which is never turned off …

“You cannot put a price on personal safety. Every time someone strays onto the tracks they are placing themselves at risk of serious, life-changing injury or worse. And the effects of the actions can be devastating, not only for them, but their loved ones and the wider community. We want everyone to know and understand that stepping on the track shatters lives. Please don’t take risks. Don’t leave the people around you to pick up the pieces.”

Every year sees thousands of trespass incidents across the rail network. Though often seen as a youth problem, the vast majority of trespassers – 75% – are adults. Their reasons for straying onto the network include taking shortcuts and retrieving dropped items from the track.  In the last three years, more than 150 adults2 have either been seriously injured or lost their lives as a result of trespassing on Britain’s rail network.

Superintendent Alison Evans, British Transport Police said: “Unfortunately, every summer we see a rise in trespass incidents. This summer, please remember that stepping onto the railway at any time is dangerous and illegal. Accessing the tracks as a shortcut or to retrieve a personal possession you’ve dropped will have consequences that stay with you and those around you for life. Don’t let a moment of impatience ruin everything – it’s just not worth it.”

Seven-time Paralympian, Simon Munn, MBE, has teamed up with Network Rail and British Transport Police to help launch a new anti-trespass film – Shattered Lives – aimed at adults. Part of Network Rail and British Transport Police’s You vs Train campaign, the film depicts the shattering consequences that trespassing can have on families.

Simon lost his leg in a railway accident after attempting to take a shortcut home by trespassing across the railway. While he has been able to rebuild his life as a successful athlete – representing Great Britain in wheelchair basketball – Simon counts himself very lucky to be alive following the events that night more than thirty years ago.     

Simon Munn comments: “If you’re thinking about taking a shortcut home by trespassing across the tracks like I did, then there’s only one winner. You can’t mess about with a 400-tonne machine and think that you can get away with it. I was very lucky that I only came away with losing my leg. I’m incredibly proud of my career as a Paralympian, but that night 31 years-ago was a massive reality check. The outcome of my actions irreversibly changed my life and I regret the pain that I put my family and the driver of the train through.”

Information on the dangers of railway trespass and the You vs Train campaign can be found on the You vs Train website.

Passenger trains converted to deliver parcels to city centres

High-speed parcel deliveries will soon be made by rail to satisfy a growing demand for faster freight.

Class 57 57312 & Class 768 768001, Camden Junction Camera 07/07/21. © Railcam UK

Network Rail and distribution firm Orion have today (Wednesday 7 July) showed how the concept works at Euston station.

Former passenger trains are being converted to take goods directly into city centre stations.

As well as online retail, the flexible freight operation could transport other light goods needed in super-fast time by businesses.

Parcels would then see bicycle or van couriers take them for final delivery.

The trains can travel up to 100mph – twice the average speed as road traffic. As well as faster delivery times, the converted trains:

  • Are cleaner than air and road haulage
  • Can access city centres unlike larger scale rail freight or air
  • Can operate on electrified and non-electrified rail
  • Are easy to load and unload onto modes of transport for first and last mile of the journey*

Class 319 passenger trains have been converted into Class 768 units, with each unit made up of 4 carriages, which can fun in formations of 4/8/12 carriages.

The Class 768 units are bi-mode, enabling them to run on both electrified and non-electrified rail, up to 100mph.

Inside each of the trains has been fully re-fitted for logistics use, it can accommodate roll cages, pallets and other customer identified vessels or containers. 1 carriage can fit approximately the same amount of good as 1 articulated lorry.

Daniel Fredriksson, Network Rail customer relationship executive, said: “We’re excited to show what future uses rail has for distribution using Euston as a test site given its important history as a mail rail hub. While parcel trains are by no means a novel concept, more of us buying things online and efforts to get polluting vehicles off roads is revitalising rail as a cost effective and fast way to get goods to consumers and businesses quickly and efficiently.

“Network Rail has been working with Orion as it’s repurposing former passenger trains to serve this new purpose, while opening up the opportunities this has for economic growth as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Karl Watts, chief executive officer for Orion, said: “Orion High Speed Logistics represents a revolution in the way we deliver goods into city centres. Using converted, electrically powered passenger trains, Orion is able to deliver goods into terminal and other principal railway stations where electric road vehicles complete the final mile transportation into city centres.

“The shift from road to rail transportation delivers economic, environmental and social benefits. Each 8-car train removes 24 diesel powered vans from our roads thereby reducing congestion, lowering carbon emissions and improving inner city air quality.”

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, said: “It is really positive to see companies exploring innovative methods like this to transport rail freight. Repurposing former passenger trains will allow light goods to travel to consumers in a faster and greener way, helping to decarbonise our railway, reduce congestion on our roads, and support growth in the rail freight market.

“Through our reforms in the Williams Shapps Plan for Rail we are committed to unlocking the economic and environmental benefits rail freight can deliver, as we look to level up the country and build back greener.”

Some of the UK’s largest parcel carriers have expressed interest in using the new high-speed logistics service using the converted trains.

The first will start running later this year between the Midlands and Scotland.

More routes could be added in 2022 dependent on customer need and available train paths.

Direct Rail Riders

Direct Rail Services (DRS) has named locomotive 66303 “Rail Riders 2020” in honour of the rail members club. 

66303 Rail Riders 2020 ©Railcam UK

Originally running from 1981 to 1991, Rail Riders was reformed into the rail enthusiasts’ club it is today. It relaunched on 29 February 2020 and has had to battle Covid restrictions ever since, while all the while growing to 600 members in just over a year, and this marks the first official naming event to take place in public. 

66303 Rail Riders 2020, York ©Railcam UK

This morning (Wednesday 7 July 2021) DRS’s class 66, 66303 was unveiled at York station wearing its new nameplate to a select audience of Rail Riders members and representatives from DRS. 

Chris Connelly, NTS Deputy CEO and DRS Rail Director, said: “It’s fantastic to work with the rail enthusiast community on this project and it will be great to see Rail Riders 2020 cover Britain’s railway network. 

“66303 was chosen as it can cover the entire rail network and can be used on DRS’s entire portfolio of work from nuclear to intermodal, ensuring the country’s lights stay on and supermarket shelves are full.” 

Rail Riders Simon Buxton with members of the DRS team at York, alongside 66303 Rail Riders 2020 ©Railcam UK
66303 Rail Riders 2020, York ©Railcam UK

Simon Buxton, Rail Riders Director, added: “We’re thrilled to be working with DRS and would like the thank them for their support. It’s been a long time coming, having been originally planned for last year but to have the locomotive actually named in York station is incredible. I look forward to seeing photos of this special locomotive on social media travelling around the country.  

“We’ve now got two named locomotives flying the flag for the club which is beyond my wildest dreams when I first started the process of bringing it back to life. The club will go from strength to strength over the next 12 months and the response we have received across the railway family has been outstanding.” 

66303 Rail Riders 2020 & 66175 Rail Riders Express, York ©Railcam UK

Porterbrook’s generous donation completes HST story showcase

©125 Group

With the recent handover of 43102 (one of the power cars involved in the 1987 record breaking test run) to the National Collection at Shildon, the other power car 43159, has  faced a less certain future, having been in store for a prolonged period since retirement from Great Western operation.

125 Group is delighted to announce today that Porterbrook, the power car’s owner, has made a fantastic donation of this second world diesel speed record holder 43159, to 125 Group.

While we have always selected our vehicles based on condition and availability, rather than painted number, the historical significance has certainly played a large part in this case, but 125 Group still satisfied itself that the vehicle was in good overall condition before confirming to Porterbrook that they wished to proceed.

This puts 125 Group in a unique position, as not only one of the few owners of preserved HST vehicles, but the only one that can show such a wide range of the HST’s history; 43159 of-course being fitted with an MTU engine as part of its return to service with First Great Western in 2007.

The Group’s plan for the fleet will see a Valenta fitted, Marston cooled power car (43044), two VP185 fitted power cars with Brush coolers (43048 & 43089) and an MTU powered example with Voith cooler (43159).  All are planned to be maintained in an operational condition with main line certification.  These power cars will be utilised in conjunction with the nine HST trailer vehicles owned by the Group, allowing a variation of formations and uses depending on the market need.

125 Group again wishes to place on record its sincerest gratitude to Porterbrook for their amazing generosity in supporting our aims, but also wishes to thank its own members, for their support and financial backing to bring this small fleet of HSTs into the preservation circle. 

Ongoing support to our engineering/operational teams, or financial support towards the upkeep and operation of these fabulous vehicles, can be made through our Direct Debit schemes, or Group membership, as detailed on our website.  https://www.125group.org.uk/you-can-help/ 

Historic signal box restoration on picturesque Settle to Carlisle line

A Grade II listed signal box on one of the country’s most picturesque rail routes is being refurbished to improve future journeys for passengers and freight.

The signal box in Garsdale on the world famous Settle and Carlisle railway line is being upgraded as part of a £500,000 Great North Rail Project investment

The 111-year-old signal box’s structural timbers, outside cladding and electronics will be repaired. It will also get a new roof and windows.

The three-month upgrade starts on Monday 14 June.

The work has been planned so the signal box can continue operating to keep passenger and freight trains moving.

Rachel Slater, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “We take great care to maintain heritage structures on the railway and the Settle to Carlisle railway line is no exception.

“The historic signal box in Garsdale will be restored to its former glory as part of a half-a-million-pound Great North Rail Project investment. This will secure future journeys for passengers and freight on this iconic north west route.”

Tony Baxter, Regional Director at Northern, said: “The Settle and Carlisle Line is one of the most beautiful routes in the UK and we’re extremely proud to have it as part of our network.

“This restoration and upgrade shows the real value of the Great North Rail Project and the work of all partners to not only improve the railway, but also to keep alive its vital and historically important link to the past.”

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: “The Settle to Carlisle railway line is massively important to both local commuters here in Cumbria but also to our world class visitor economy.

“So it’s fantastic news that Network Rail are working on upgrades to improve future services for passengers.”

Mark Rand, vice-president of the Friends of the Settle to Carlisle line, said: “We welcome the forthcoming improvements to Garsdale Signal box which was opened in July 1910, replacing two earlier boxes at what was then the very busy Hawes Junction. Besides being a junction it was where pilot engines could detach after assisting heavy trains over the ‘Roof of England’, turn round and return to their sheds at Hellifield to the south or Carlisle to the north.

“We look forward to seeing this important and historic location being carefully restored.”

The Garsdale improvements follow a major £2.1m investment to upgrade the world famous Ribblehead Viaduct on the same railway line earlier this year.

To read more about how Network Rail looks after heritage structures, visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/who-we-are/our-history/working-with-railway-heritage/


Seaton Tramway is excited to announce its Award winning TRAMATHON Fundraising Appeal, which will see a 24-hour continuous tram trip streamed online to help raise money for the charity and secure the future of the Tramway and its industrial heritage.

From Saturday 12 Midday 5th June, Seaton Tramway will be going live on Facebook for a continuous  24-hour tram trip between our Seaton and Colyton Stations. This will all be streamed live online for the full 24 hours as we raise money for our charity. 

The Tramway celebrated its 50th anniversary of operating at Seaton in August 2020 and like other heritage railways has seen an abrupt halt to its income that helps keep trams serviced, the track maintained and its future secure. Reopening in 2021 with excitement about new projects and offers for our loyal passengers, bills continue to need to be paid and projects still need completing. Railways and tramways like ours are supported by visitors and generous supporters that we love welcoming every year.

To combat this crisis, we invite everyone to come together in person or in your living rooms to watch our TRAMATHON live. This fundraising appeal will see a continuous 24-hour broadcast live from the tram as it travels between Seaton and Colyton Stations. With a spread of themed departures and never before seen videos about the tramway, this is an event not to be missed. Visitors can get involved by donating directly to the appeal, purchasing special items like Seaton Tramway signs and sections of rail or by joining the Tramathon team live on the trams on one of the trips.

Tickets for the Tramathon trips are on sale now, and include a Tramathon return trip and all day travel on the date of issue. Trips begin at 12 midday, 5th June  with the 24 trips going through the night and ending on arrival at Seaton Station at 12 midday Sunday 6th June. Tramathon 2020 was award ‘Most Innovative Fundraising Idea’ by the Heritage Railway Association at its award ceremony this April.

With the generosity of donations, we want to give back too. Which is why we will be awarding prizes away prizes and experiences as we hit fundraising milestones, like Driver’s Eye Experiences, Half Day and Whole Day Tram Driving Lessons, Free Tickets and a Years Free Travel. All anyone has to do to be in with the chance of winning is donate a minimum of £5 before June 12th to be entered. Prizes will be drawn live on Facebook during the 24-hour TRAMATHON. Full terms and conditions can be found on our website.

In line with our fundraising appeal, we have also launched our new ‘HERO Ticket’ which can be purchased and redeemed as an All-Day Explorer ticket on any day we’re open to the end of December 2021. These tickets are available now and will go towards our TRAMATHON Fundraiser. 

Seaton Tramway has operated from Seaton for 50 years and has seen everything from Snow blizzards to storm washouts but Covid-19 has proved one of the greatest challenges that its ever had to face. 

You can find out more about the giveaways and milestones and how to donate at www.tram.co.uk/tramathon

Before and after video shows historic Calder Valley viaduct restored

© Network Rail

A 181-year-old viaduct designed by railway pioneer George Stephenson has been painstakingly restored to improve passenger journeys in the Calder Valley.

Network Rail has now removed scaffolding to reveal the repainted and repaired Grade II listed Gauxholme viaduct in Todmorden.

The essential maintenance to the 1840-built structure was completed as part of a £3.7m Great North Rail Project investment.

A before and after video released today (Thursday 27 May) shows how the important piece of railway heritage has been brought back to its Victorian splendour.

© Network Rail

As part of the same investment, nearby Taylors bridge, which carries the railway over Rose Bank Road near Todmorden station, was completely reconstructed.

Kathryn Berry, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “It’s extremely satisfying to finally unwrap this iconic structure from the scaffolding and reveal Gauxholme viaduct once again in all its Victorian glory. Along with the work to Taylors bridge, this is a major investment for Todmorden to improve railway journeys in the Calder Valley.

 “We have been working closely with Calderdale Council throughout and thank passengers, road users and the local community for their patience while we carried out this essential work.”

© Network Rail

Tony Baxter, regional director at Northern, said: “It’s fantastic that such an important piece of local railway heritage will continue to serve Northern’s customers. The repair and renovation work will give our customers in the Calder Valley better journeys for years to come.”

The viaduct, which spans the Rochdale canal, was strengthened, deep cleaned and repainted black as requested by the local authority.

Cllr Jane Scullion, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and strategy, said: “It’s great news that work to Gauxholme viaduct is now complete with this historic structure restored to its former glory. 
“We’ve supported Network Rail throughout the project and we were pleased to provide advice to ensure the works were in keeping with the special industrial and architectural character of the bridge. The finished work looks really impressive and is a distinctive landmark along the Calder Valley line.”

Craig Whittaker, MP for Calder Valley, said: “I am delighted that restoration work on the Grade II listed Gauxholme viaduct in Todmorden has now been completed to its former glory, something which George Stephenson would be very proud of. I am incredibly grateful to the team who have completed the work to a high standard. Even in the rain , the structure now looks magnificent. I am equally delighted that the Taylors Bridge has been completely reconstructed.”

The canal towpath is now also fully reopened to pedestrians after the major upgrade.

To read more about how Network Rail looks after heritage structures, visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/who-we-are/our-history/working-with-railway-heritage/

£250,000 major refurbishment at world’s largest operating mechanical signal box

© Network Rail

The largest operational mechanical signal box in the world has just had its biggest refurbishment in more than a decade with work on the 117-year-old, Grade II listed Severn Bridge Junction signal box in Shrewsbury now complete. 

The historic building has its original 180 levers inside with 89 still in use today and is responsible for signalling around 280 trains every day.

Now the historic building has been given a new lease of life, in keeping with its Edwardian charm, thanks to a £250,000 project carried out by Network Rail and MPH Construction. The project, partly funded by the Railway Heritage Trust, has allowed the entire three-storey building to be weather-proofed.  

As part of the huge refurbishment, the original single-glazed windows, installed when the building first opened in 1903, have been replaced with new double-glazed units.

Other improvements include new timber cladding and holding repairs to the external walkway gantry and a full exterior paint job – including the famous ‘Shrewsbury’ signs that greet passengers travelling in and out the historic town by train.

© Network Rail

Darren McKenna, asset engineer at Network Rail, said:

“It’s not until you can get up close to this iconic structure that you can appreciate how well built and unique it is. Working on this refurbishment was an absolute pleasure.

“The gantry repair was a big job and involved rope access teams working day and night to strengthen and replace the boards.

“We gave very careful consideration to a sympathetic repair that has managed to maintain the building’s Edwardian character while securing its future for many years to come.

“The mechanical signal box, now the world’s largest operational mechanical signal box in the world, still plays a fundamental part on the railway by controlling safe access in and out of Shrewsbury station.”

Darren Peake, signaller at Network Rail, commented:

“I have been working at this signal box for around 13 years and I can tell you these improvements will make a huge difference to us, including being warmer in the winter with the new windows.

“We used to have to put pieces of paper in the gaps of the old ones. In fact, when they replaced the windows, they found newspaper cuttings behind the frames from the 1960’s.

“The history of this building is fascinating, and I am extremely proud to work from here.”

Gareth Ellis, Construction Manager at MPH Construction Ltd, added:

“We started on site in October last year and knew that this was going to be a challenging project; restoring a Grade II listed building, working at height and being completely surrounded by track.

“However, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work on this iconic piece of railway infrastructure and even carried out some extra works, such as renewing the eye-catching Shrewsbury sign for passengers to see.

“It has been a unique and fascinating project to work on.”

Andy Savage, executive director, Railway Heritage Trust, said:

“We were delighted to give a grant towards the restoration of this iconic signal box, which clearly will have a long-term future.

“We congratulate the Network Rail team for their careful work in restoring the building.”

Engineers worked for more than 300 days, restoring this crucial part of the railway infrastructure which is a vital link for passengers and freight travelling between Wales & Borders and the rest of Britain.

Further improvements are also planned for the interior of the signal box over the next few weeks.