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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Shrewsbury’s Severn Bridge Junction Signal Box refurbishment scoops award

Network Rail has been recognised for the £250,000 restoration of Shrewsbury’s Severn Bridge Junction Signal box.

Shrewsbury’s Severn Bridge Junction Signal box. Photo: Network Rail
Shrewsbury’s Severn Bridge Junction Signal box. Photo: Network Rail

The signal box is one of the most striking and famous in the world and has just won the ‘National Rail Heritage Signalling Award’ at this year’s National Railway Heritage Awards (NRHA).

Network Rail has been recognised for the eight months of hard work that went into securing the future of the iconic signal box, which included new double-glazed windows, new timber cladding, 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.

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The grade II listed building is an iconic piece of railway history, located on a little island surrounded by a sea of railway tracks at Shrewsbury Station. Still housing its original 180 levers inside, all dating back to 1903, 89 are still in use today, earning it the title of the world’s largest operating mechanical signal box.

The NRHA awards prizes in recognition of restoration and the re-use of parts of railway-built heritage since 1979. It’s the only awards body dedicated to rewarding and encouraging best practice in the restoration and maintenance of Britain’s railway heritage.

This year’s ceremony took place at the Merchant Taylor’s Hall in London on Wednesday 1 December and was presented by Network Rail CEO, Andrew Haines.

James Walsh, regional asset manager at Network Rail collected the award on behalf of the team. He said: “This recognition a testament to everyone who worked tirelessly at every stage of the refurbishment.

“Working on a fully operational signal box, during a global pandemic, the teams overcame challenges and managed to deliver a superb project, making this world-famous signal box fit for the future and much more comfortable for our signallers who work there.

“I would like to personally congratulate everyone involved, especially Darren McKenna, Elliott Murray, Gareth Ellis from MPH construction and all the tradespersons in the supply chain.

“We will be arranging a plaque unveiling ceremony, in due course.”

Darren Mckenna, asset engineer at Network Rail Wales and Borders worked on the project from start to finish. He commented, “It is great to see such this iconic structure get the recognition it deserves. 

“This project was a fantastic example of how important team-work and collaboration is on the railway and the dedication by all involved in this restoration is evident when you see the completed work.”

Gareth Ellis, Contracts Manager at MPH Construction Ltd said: “I would like to say a big thank you to the MPH delivery team for all their efforts in the refurbishment of this prestigious historic railway asset.

“We are delighted, alongside our Network Rail colleagues, to have been a part of the team that helped win this prestigious railway heritage award”.

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