New loo to be housed in extension to Grade II listed railway signal box

STAFF working at an historic signal box alongside March railway station are to get a new indoor loo, after more than a 100 years of having to use outside facilities to answer a call of nature.

Network Rail d plans to extend the Grade II listed building by creating a second floor extension to house a new toilet and kitchen facilities.

The elaborate signal box dates back to 1885 – it is the sole survivor of its type in the country - and it boasts decorate edging to its fascias and a unique bargeboard pattern.

The external cladding of the new protruding extension on the north side will be uPVC shiplap cladding, and the boarding below the protrusion will be glass reinforced plastic (GRP) boarding.

Structural work already carried out on the box includes balcony repairs, re-pointing of brickwork and replacement of fascias.

The Type 5 signal box next to the Station Road level crossing was built for the Great Eastern Railway by signalling contractors Saxby and Farmer. It contains a frame dating from 1897.

The March East signalbox is recorded as having been raised in height when the present frame was installed, in order to give the signalman a good view along a particularly busy stretch of line.

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The locking room windows were probably bricked up in the approach to the Second World War, as a precaution against blast damage.

A heritage statement says: “March East signal box stands as a rare example of railway infrastructure, dating form when the railways were truly a Victoria marvel and is a survivor of two wars and drastic cuts to the railways which led to decades of under investment.”

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