Students protect railway’s history

Princes Risborough North signal box. PNL-150514-161619001
Princes Risborough North signal box. PNL-150514-161619001

College students have joined forces with railway enthusiasts to restore one of the largest surviving signal boxes.

Students from the Bucks University Technical College (UTC) in Aylesbury have been working with Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway volunteers on the semi-derelict Princes Risborough North signal box.

The students will be designing and manufacturing some replacement window sashes. Project leader Steve Growcott said almost half of the 420 window panes were broken and some of the frames had rotted.

Some of the sashes have been replaced with renovated spares from other signal boxes in Aynho and Gerrards Cross.

He said: “For students, the project gives a rare opportunity to work with a heritage building with Grade 2 listed status.

“The actual manufacture will be done in the college workshops at Aylesbury and the Railway Association is raising funds to pay for the materials.”

The signal box, the largest surviving one built to an original Great Western Railway design, closed in 1991.

Volunteers from the Railway Association have been working since late 2013 to save the listed building and restore it to use as a museum and operate a planned extension of the heritage railway from Chinnor.