Bere Alston’s old signal box which has been lovingly restored to the tune of £21,000 is set to become a new base for the local scouts who keep the plaform looking pretty.

The Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership has been working with Bere Alston Scouts for a couple of years to assist them in improving the planters on the disused platform at the station.

The signal box has stood unused for many years but with the Scouts needing somewhere to store their tools and use as a potting shed, the idea of bringing the signal box back to life took hold.

The project was made possible thanks to the Railway Heritage Trust and Community Rail Development Fund.

The work. however, has not been straightforward as a colony of approximately 60,000 honey bees had made its home in the signal box and last summer they had to be relocated before any work could tart.

Chris Grove of Bere Ferrers Rail Heritage Centre assisted throughout the refurbishment â?? especially when it was found the piece of old rail holding up the signal box floor was corroded.  Chris had a piece of rail exactly the right length which he donated, plus wood for the exterior panelling. 

The work itself was carried out by SBP Carpentry & Construction of St Ann’s Chapel and windows the same as the originals were made by joiner Stephen Carr of Tavistock.

A carefully researched replica of the original name board was made by Brian Oldford of Wellington, Shropshire. 

The signal box and old waiting room on the disused platform date from the time when the line extended to Tavistock, Okehampton and Exeter, part of the ’Withered Arm’, the London and South Western Railway’s mainline to London Waterloo

The signal box was opened on May 12 1890 and closed on September 7 1970. It was extended in 1927 to include the branch line to Gunnislake and Callington.

It had 30 levers to control the station, junction and the adjacent sidings.

After closure it was used as a mess room for the local track maintenance gang until the early 1990s, but has been disused since then.

Richard Burningham, Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership manager said: ’I am really delighted with the great restoration of the old signal box at Bere Alston â?? we were determined it would be done â?? and look forward to seeing how the scouts use it as their base to look after and improve the planting on the station’s disused platform.

’Many thanks to all those who have made it happen â?? our funders, contractors and a big shout out to Chris Grove at the Tamar Belle for his help and my colleague Rebecca Catterall who led the project.’

Charlotte Hammond from Bere Alston Scouts said the scouts had adopted the platform and had spent a lot of time down there over the last two to three years keeping it tidy and looking after the planters.

’It will be a great base for us when we are down at the platform and somewhere to store our tools and use as a potting shed,’ she said.

Cllr Peter Crozier, chair of Bere Ferrers Parish Council, thanked the rail partnership and said the parish council welcomed the restoration of the iconic building of yesteryear, with its availabilty for the local Scouts group.

They also looked forward to its possible use when the Tavistock rail line was reopened.

One local resident on Facebook said the signal box looked wonderful in its Southern Railway colours: ’It’s the best its looked since the 1960s,’ they said.