I detailed the events on the day the signal box at Beighton Station was demolished in this post here: The end of an era. At that point I’d not developed the roll of film that I shot when recording the event. So, today, here are the pictures from the weekend of the demolition, plus a photo made a week or so later showing how it now looks.
Today marked the end of the road (or should that be rails?) for the Beighton Station signal box. It’s demolition has been planned for some months now and, despite campaigns to save it, it was demolished this morning.
My wife and I walked down yesterday afternoon so I could make a few photos while it was still intact, although surrounded by wire fencing. A conversation with one of the contractors on site revealed that the demolition was planned for today at 8am. So, my alarm set for seven, I rose this morning, fed the cat, and drove down to see the event take place.
I needn’t have gotten out of bed so early as not much was happening. There were a lot of contractors on site – a dozen or more at least, and the method of the box’s destruction – a large CAT excavator with a claw attachment – could be seen parked a little way down the railway tracks. The tracks have been closed to rail traffic for the duration of the activity, and the level crossing is only open to foot traffic. As well as the workmen, there were a few locals there to witness the demolition, at least two of whom I discovered had worked in the signal box in the past. There was a bit of excitement when a large metal skip was delivered to take the remains away, but still nothing much was taking place. The box still had the Beighton Station sign affixed which needed to be removed as it has apparently been promised to the local lifestyle centre as a souvenir.
It was quite cold at the location, especially while standing still, so I decided to take advantage of the slow progress and pop back home to grab a quck breakfast before returning. This is where things went off-plan…
Getting back to the car, I turned the key in the ingnition and… nothing. Despite the car having started perfectly an hour or so before, the battery was now almost completely dead. The radio would come on, but the engine wouldn’t turn over at all. My choices were not to either go back to the demolition and sort the car out afterwards, or call the breakdown service to get it back on the road again. As today was Mother’s Day here in the UK and we were planning to go out for something to eat at luchtime – don’t get excited, the lockdown restrictions meant that the day would be celebrated by my wife, our sons, and I treating ourselves to a drive-thru burger while sat in the car. These plans meant that I needed to get the car sorted out as soon as possible. The breakdown company stated that it would be 2-3 hours and that I would get a call twenty minutes before the recovery vehicle arrived. My plans of seeing the demolition of the signal box slipping away, I decided to walk home, get some breakfast and wait for the call.
The walk home took about 10-15 mins and then, liteally a minute after getting there, I received a text saying the breakdown recovery vehicle would be with me in 10 minutes! Not having time to get any breakfast, and thankful that we have two cars, I asked my wife to drive me back down to where the other car was parked. The recovery vehicle arrived at exactly the same time we did, and I crossed the road to speak to the driver. After popping the bonnet, he ran some tests on the car battery which revealed itself to have a faulty cell, necessitating a replacement. The options were to get one fitted there and then, or to be towed to a garage or branch of Halfords to get the work done. Given the paucity of time available to me I decided to let the recovery service replace and fit a new battery as this would get me back on the road straight away.
Soon I was back home and munching a hasty breakfast of granola before heading back to the signal box to see if work had begun (or, knowing my luck, that I had missed the whole thing). When I got there I was pretty much right on time though. While I’d missed the removal of the Beighton Station sign – which I’d hoped to record with a photo – the excavator was only just about to start its work.
I spent the next half-hour making photos of the gradual demolition. There were more people around by this time, many of them making photos or recording video, and I made a couple of dozen images of the scene until the building was down to its lower brick section. My time running short, and the roll of film at an end, I decided to head back home.
I have a busy week ahead, so doubt I’ll get to develop the film until next weekend, but I’ll be sure to post a series of pictures depicting the day’s events once I have the negatives scanned. In the meantime, here’s a picture of the box I made back in November 2016.
Beighton Station box A witness to many years I bid you farewell
Olympus 35RC & Dixons branded 200asa film (expired June 2004). Grain2Pixel conversion.
A familiar scene for anyone who’s followed my blog for a while – the Beighton Station signalbox. I think I’ve mentioned before that the signalbox is scheduled for demolition due to signalling and the level crossing now being controlled remotely. A local effort was made to try and save the signalbox but this appears to have fallen through with the proposed cost to move it to a new location being in the region of a quarter of a million pounds.
At the same time however, I’ve heard that plans to reopen Beighton Station are moving forward, the idea being (I believe) to have a tram-train service that runs between Sheffield and Chesterfield, with Beighton being one of the stops. I don’t expect that it will be much of a station in the traditional sense – most likely a couple of platforms, some bus-stop-style shelters, and a car-park to allow park-and-ride services for commuters. I think it will be a good thing to have though and can imagine it being especially popular in the warmer months if it used as a means for people in other parts of the city to get access to the nearby Rother Valley Country Park.
I’ll be sad to see the signalbox go though.
An old signalbox Its functionality gone To another place
This is the signal box at Beighton Station, not far from where I live. Although it’s named Beighton Station, no station has been present since the 1950s when passenger services ceased. There have been recent rumblings about building a new terminal suitable for tram-train services however.
The signal-box is currently scheduled for demolition in 2021, much to the displeasure of locals who see it as a landmark, and there are campaigns looking to try and save it.
More photos of the signal box can be found in my blog posts here, here, here, and here.
When your movements are limited, as they are during the coronavirus lock-down, you find yourself passing the same places more often than you usually would.
While there are undoubtedly plenty of alternative routes I can take while out exercising, even giving the restricted radius I can stay within on foot, I’ve found myself passing the signal box and level crossing at Beighton Station a number of times in the past week or two. It was only a little over a month ago that I last posted a photograph of the same location in fact.
Perhaps this weekend, when I’ll hopefully have a little more time to spare, I might allow myself a longer walk and venture someplace different for a change.
Today marked the first time that I’ve loaded a roll of 120 film into my developing tank. Mt previous experience consists only of the tow 35mm rolls I’ve loaded and developed (and a few tests with a sacrificial 35mm roll). While both of those produced successful outcomes (today’s photos amongst them), loading the film onto the spirals was not straightforward, with both rolls requiring several attempts in the changing bag.
With that in mind, I was expecting the roll of 120 HP5+ to be a bit of a headache given its broader width and potential to flex more, but I needn’t have worried. It loaded easily and the whole task took me about 5 minutes from putting my hands in the bag. Of course I’ve yet to develop the film, so I maybe shouldn’t count my chickens just yet, but all being well, I’m pretty happy with how it went.
I’ve also changed the blog theme today. I think the new one has slightly larger images as standard, which is good. I’ll see how it goes though, and I might change it back if I decide I’m not keen.