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Historic signal box restored to its former glory

26 Feb 2023 2 minute read
Pwllheli ground frame with track, image by Network Rail

A mechanical signal box at Pwllheli dating back to 1893 has been given a new lease of life with a £140,000 makeover completed by Network Rail.

the signal box allowed trains to move into the sidings by means of a lever frame which controls the operation of points and signals, installed at ground level and known as a ground frame.

It was originally built in 1893 for the Elan Valley Junction in Rhayader and was then recommissioned in 1903, providing years of service before needing some repair and TLC.

According to the industry publication RailAdvent, Network Rail and MPH Construction have been working to refurbish the signal box to its former glory since October last year.

The renovations to the box include restoration of the windows and steps as well as replacement of the surrounding gantry walkway, timber elements, lintels and roof tiles.

A brand-new coat of paint throughout has completed the restoration of the historic structure.


Elliot Murray, project manager at Network Rail, said: “It’s always a challenge to work on old structures like these on the railway – no two are the same. When you get up close and see how unique the original design was and start thinking about how we can get it back to that, it becomes such an enjoyable experience.

“It’s also great to be a part of improving our colleagues working conditions. With all the changes that we’ve made to this structure, we can rest easy knowing that our signallers can comfortably operate this ground-frame and grant essential access for maintenance for years to come.”

Gareth Ellis, contracts manager at MPH Construction, added: “Every signal box restoration scheme provides a unique and challenging experience and the successful outcome would not have been achieved without the cooperation of Network Rail, TfW and the MPH Team.”

“We are all so proud of the final result and are happy that we were involved in another bespoke restoration of a century-old building that still plays a vital role in the railway today.”

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Argol fawr!
Argol fawr!
1 year ago

Network rail branches out into curating antiques. Having had practice running the rail system, lets hope they succeed at something then.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 year ago
Reply to  Argol fawr!

Yes, but it is nice to see a bit of that kind of work and a bit of pride in the result. Those of us long enough in the tooth to remember the Cambrian Coast Line Action Group will also remember the BR policy then of ‘Bulldozers at Dawn’ which destroyed so much of the line’s architectural heritage.

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