TIME is almost up on a campaign to save an “iconic” signal box as the start date for demolition looms.

Network Rail plans to remove Billingham signal box, on Station Road, next month as part of its plans for a major resignalling project on the Durham coast line.

There has been a campaign to save the box but Network Rail says removal is the only option.

Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, said: “I've been contacted by residents and campaigners about the signalling boxes at Billingham and Norton West.

"I'm hearing that the Billingham signalling box is set for demolition. The Norton West one is set to be repurposed. As yet I've not received anything official from Network Rail about either of these.

“I've asked Network Rail about these issues and I'm hoping for a response quickly.

“It is clear however that local people don't want the Billingham box to be demolished – a view I support. I'm hoping Network Rail will listen, pause and look at its potential.”

Network Rail says scaffolding will go up on Saturday, January 30, with work due to start on Saturday, February 6.

Station Road will be closed for the duration of the work, which is scheduled to be completed by February 9.

The demolition was meant to take place last year but was delayed because of Covid-19.

Chris Gee, operations director for Network Rail, said: “We’re carrying out major improvements to modernise level crossings and the signalling on the Durham Coast Line, which will bring more reliable services for passengers. As part of the project, Billingham signal box on Station Road will be taken down next month.

“We understand how important the signal box is for people in Norton and wherever possible, we work with the local community to see if there’s a safe and sustainable way to keep signal boxes in place. In this case, removing it is our only option so that we can carry out vital work to upgrade Billingham level crossing.

“Maintaining a signal box which is no longer used is also not the best way to spend taxpayer’s money.”