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Call to turn Wem signal box into tearoom

North Shropshire | News | Published:

Appeals have been made to stop the demolition of Wem's historic signal box as part of plans to monitor the rail line remotely from Cardiff next year.

Appeals have been made to stop the demolition of Wem's historic signal box as part of plans to monitor the rail line remotely from Cardiff next year.

Councillor Pauline Dee, of Wem Town Council, said she would like to see a new museum or tearoom created in the building on Wem level crossing rather than see it demolished.

Network Rail is behind the closure plan. It wants to ditch manned signal boxes on the Shrewsbury to Crewe line, including at Wem, and have level crossing barriers remotely controlled from 123 miles away in Cardiff.

Councillor Dee said: "It seems a shame to demolish it as it is part of the town's heritage. It would be good if we had something there when people get off the trains. I expect there will already be toilets in there for the signalman which would be an advantage and might solve one problem.

"I think some people might be glad of it while others might not."

Network Rail spokeswoman Mavis Choong invited councillors with any suggestions about the future use of the signal box to contact the company.

She added that any plans to demolish the building would have to be approved by the local authority.

Plans for Wem's signal box to become automated have been met with concerns that it would put people's lives at risk.

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Latest figures from rail bosses confirm Wem level crossing as the sixth most abused in the country.

And councillors say that due to the complex nature of the crossing junction, where Aston Street, Station Road, and Soulton Road meet, a signalman is needed.

But officials from Network Rail have assured people that it regarded safety as paramount and have tested the automated crossing system.

As part of Network Rail's plans, changes are also expected to be made to level crossing operations in Nantwich, Wrenbury, Prees and Harlescott.

By James Pugh

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