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Network Rail creates super signalling centre in York
What was once two men working for eight hours a day in a confined space operating 35 levers is to become cutting-edge rail signalling technology.
Over the next 20 years, York’s railway network will benefit from a £2.1 billion investment from Network Rail to create a super signalling centre.
York will become one of 14 cities across the country to house a state of the art Route Operating Centre (ROC).
The building is due for completion next March, but the signalling equipment will be installed gradually over the next 20 years.
The ROC will replace signalling boxes used to communicate with drivers and monitor activity on the tracks.
As building work for the ROC goes full steam ahead, visitors to the National Railway Museum in Leeman Road, York, will be able to see what it will be replacing.
Railway enthusiasts will be able to step inside Britain’s busiest signal box, the Borough Market Junction box.
The box used to operate the junctions between Charing Cross, Waterloo and Cannon Street before it was decommissioned and brought to York in 1976.
Richard Hollowood, assistant curator of railways at the museum, said: “The two men operating it would have only a matter of seconds between a train going in one direction and one going in another direction.
“With 90 to 100 trains every hour they had to really concentrate.”
Over the next three weeks the box, which was built in 1926, will undergo major restoration work after the museum secured funding from the Friends of the National Railway Museum.
It will have the rotten wood cut out and replaced with new wooden boarding as well as three coats of wood-friendly paint.
The new ROC will be operated with the most up-to-date signalling software technology and computers.
A spokesperson for National Rail said: “It is being created to avoid any disruption to rail services. Train services will be exactly as normal and passengers won’t even notice the ongoing work.”
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