Heritage Festival brings rare opportunity to tour working Signal Box

Published on: Tuesday, 13 August 2019
Last updated: Tuesday, 13 August 2019

  • Days Out

For over 100 years the railway signal box at Lowestoft has controlled all movements of trains and rolling stock in and out of the station and sidings and the public have a rare opportunity to see behind the scenes of the mechanical box before it is replaced in the new year as part of a major modernisation programme.

As part of Lowestoft Heritage Open Days, the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership have teamed up with the Lowestoft Central Project and Network Rail to host a series of tours over two weekends in September, however as the Signal Box is still operational, numbers are strictly limited.

The most easterly signal box on the entire UK rail network will be open on Saturday 14, Sunday 15, Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September, with all tours strictly by appointment. In order to accommodate as many as possible, those wishing to look around are asked to apply for tickets in advance by emailing [email protected] Applications to tour the signal box open on August 20 and tickets are limited to two per household and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Those successful will be emailed a time slot and access information in advance. Tours are free of charge, expected to last around thirty minutes and will include climbing some steps to gain access.

Throughout most of the Heritage Open Days, the Festival Box Office will be open at Lowestoft Railway Station providing information, maps and guidance on the range of events to be found within the town.

Paul King, Chair of Lowestoft Heritage Open Days said, ”I’m delighted that Lowestoft Railway Station will once again play an integral role in the festival this year, hosting various talks, an exhibition and our box office facility along with a rare opportunity to explore the Signal Box. “The station is at the very heart of the town and is a central to its long history and heritage. The team at the station have done a fantastic job in restoring the station, bringing long neglected parts of this strategic gateway to Lowestoft back to life. Heritage Open Days provides a wonderful opportunity for everyone to see the amazing changes that have and are continuing to be made.”

As part of Lowestoft Heritage Open Days, the new Parcels Office Public Exhibition Space at Lowestoft Railway Station will also host a series of free talks on Saturday 14 September, to include The Life of Nicholas Everitt by Rodney Duerden at 2.30pm, Stranger on the Shore: The Riddle of Lowestoft's unknown German Airman by local historian Bob Collis at 3.30pm, Up Before the Beak with Janis Kirby at 4.30pm and Shadowing Peter Pan, an autobiographical account by auctioneer and regular on BBC Television’s Flog It, Elizabeth Talbot. All talks are free of charge with no need to book in advance.

Another free event will see the return of the hugely popular Departures Exhibition which premiered at the Parcels Office in June. Featuring 70 images of the local railway scene taken over the past 5 decades by acclaimed photographer David Pearce, the exhibition will be open from Sunday 15th September through until Sunday 22nd September between 11am and 4pm daily.

For more information on this years Heritage Open Days festival, please visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk