Tuesday 1 Apr 2003


South East
Railway employees past and present will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Colchester Signal Box on Thursday 3 April.  To commemorate the box, which opened in 1983, a locomotive owned by GB Railfreight will be named ‘Colchester Power Signal Box’.  The box is owned and operated by Network Rail. It was originally built to replace 32 signal boxes, dating from the1860s and to introduce modern electronic equipment to replace over 1000 manually operated levers.  Mark Phillips, General Manager of Network Rail, who will be unveiling the nameplate says: “The signal box has been integral to the successful operation of the Great Eastern route since opening in 1983.  The number of passenger and freight trains on the line has dramatically increased and it has been able to respond to this challenge.  I am delighted that the signal box is being recognised in this way.”             Steve Williams, a Signaller who has worked in the box for 14 years says:  "The box controls the signals on 90 miles of track, stretching from Marks Tey to Norwich and the Felixstowe line.  We can see each and every train on our panels.  We now monitor around 40 per cent more trains a day on average than when the box first opened.   The signal box is a remarkable piece of technology, a very interesting place to work and it’s great to celebrate our success with friends and colleagues past and present.” - more - Loco - 2 PHOTOCALL             There will be an opportunity for photos of the unveiling at 11.30 and a chance to speak to staff.  Please contact Simon Holliday at the Network Rail press office on 020 7904 4034 to confirm attendance.

Contact information

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Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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