Princes Risborough North Signal Box; Recent History (Autumn & Winter 2013/14)
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The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway Association is a registered charity, number 1016237. It and the railway it owns are operated, managed, developed and maintained entirely by volunteers.
©PRNB 2015 Updated: 16/12/2015 E&OE
The Good news
In CPRRA discussions with NR over its line extension project, back in Spring 2013, the box access problem had been raised and an “in principle” view taken that something should be done. Having improved the access route, we then received permission from NR Operations department to resume routine maintenance access to the box. This was excellent news; work could begin again.
We do however need to be cautious. Permission to access the box could be withdrawn at any time; we still have no security of tenure. This last point is important, as it affects funding; a subject to which I shall return.
OK, so we were back in the box. What did we find? The electrical supply had gone. With the box boarded up it was pitch black inside. The low beams, walkways, steelwork etc. together with the general covering of pigeon droppings did not make the interior of the box a good place to work in the dark! If the loss of power had been permanent then that would have been a major setback. We have never known where the supply originated. With help from NR and Chiltern, searches of supply cabinets and switchrooms yielded nothing. However, a chance comment by the station café owner revealed an old wooden electrical cupboard above the cake display! A fuse labelled “Signal Box” was missing. An insulation test of the cable proved that the cable was still good, so we replaced the fuse and “behold there was light”. It is possible that the fuse was “borrowed” to replace one in a more vital circuit, but we then had power back in the box.
The cracks had widened. One had a surveyor’s gauge attached, and revealed a widening of about 1.5mm in 11 months. This crack (front wall, near the North end, where the brick arch above the locking room window had collapsed) must be about 50mm wide overall. This was as predicted: the vibration due to the increased line speed and loco-
The roof was in a very sorry state, and had worsened considerably since 2012. There were many slates missing or slipped. Slate slivers littered the ground around the box. Wooden battens could be seen from ground level through holes in the slate cover. From inside, pin-
Abandoned buildings tend to tolerate neglect pretty well for some years, but then they start to deteriorate rapidly. As we suspected a couple of years ago, this one has gone over the edge of the curve. It has waited too long.
|The Wilderness Years|
|Recent history until Nov 2013|
|Recent History (from 2014)|
|CPRRA Years (2017/18)|