‘Piece of history’ is torched by vandals

Alan Calladine at Midland Railway Centre with signal house that was set on fire during a vandalism attack.
Alan Calladine at Midland Railway Centre with signal house that was set on fire during a vandalism attack.

Railway staff say they are “angry and saddened” after suspected vandals torched a historic and unique railway signal box.

On Monday night, arsonists trespassed onto the railway line at Butterley Station, in Ripley, and deliberately set fire to the vintage signal box, which was made in the 1890s.

The incident was reported to emergency services at around 8.25pm, and firefighters tackled the blaze until around 11.15pm.

Alan Calladine, development officer at for Midland Railway, said: “It’s such a shame that thoughtless vandals have acted like this. Everyone here is angry at saddened by the destruction of a real piece of history.

“Police were asking me how much it would have been worth, but I couldn’t tell them. This is a one-off item that we won’t be able to replace. It really is such a shame.”

Alan said the signal box was used at a Leicestershire colliery in the late 19th Century and onwards.

It was acquired by Midland Railway in the 1990s, and has stood in Ripley station ever since.

Alan said: “Luckily, we don’t have too many incidents of vandalism here, but when we do it really hurts.

“It’s such a shame, such a waste of history, and such a thoughtless thing for somebody to do.

“And there’s no way it went up on its own. Somebody has deliberately come to destroy the box. It really makes me angry that somebody could be so thoughtless.”

Police are now investigating the arson, and urge anyone with information to call 101. A fire investigation is also underway.