The 21st century is bringing about a lot of change in every sphere of life, all thanks to technology. It has given birth to new electric powered contraptions that are being installed almost everywhere. There are times, though, when this technology fails and proves itself less reliable than we think it is. This is exactly why the 20 odd volunteers from Dorset, England, decided to replace their vintage railway station’s electrical signal box with the Victorian style signal boxes of days gone by.
The newly installed signal box took four years to make and was rebuilt from the remains of long destroyed models, complete with restored dials and 32 lever frames to look like the original that was used at the Corfe Castle railway station from 1885 to 1956. The signal box was removed in 1956 because it had begun to rot. It was then replaced with a modern signaling contraption with electric sensors. However, the replacement proved to be rather impractical because failures and other technical problems meant that trains had to be held back until a professional was called to solve the problem. Such a case would never arise with the vintage signal box as problems can be sorted out relatively easily by the people at the station itself.
The signal box, which now controls trains between the mainline at Wareham and the Swanage Railway, directly communicates to the Network Rail signaling centre. The construction of the box cost 48,000 pounds and was undertaken by a team of 20 volunteers, who worked in their spare time for four years. The long effort, however, was well worth it since the box recently bagged the National Railway Heritage Award for Signaling. The station has also been described by many as spectacular and has been praised for its picturesque beauty and its ability to make heads turn.