A DERELICT signal box near Keighley Railway Station could be transported across the Pennines to find a second life as a “museum of signalling”.

Bradford Council has received one of its more unusual planning applications in recent years – the “careful dismantling of signal box and its re-assembly at Irlam railway station”.

Submitted by Network Rail, the owner of the listed structure, the application would see the box restored at the Lancashire station, which is undergoing a major community-led transformation.

A partnership between a number of groups in the Irlam area has been working to restore Irlam Station to its former glory, and has already installed a number of heritage attractions at the station.

They hope to install a Midland Railway Box on the site, making it a visitor attraction that acts as a “demonstration of signalling techniques” to visitors.

Salford Council has already approved plans to install a signal box at Irlam, and Ben Dolan, strategic director for that authority, has written to Bradford Council, urging it to support the application.

A similar signal box, located on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway track, was refurbished and brought back into use in 2016.

However, the box referred to in the planning application has been neglected over the years. The planning application says: “Because of the nature of the redundant facility the minimum care and attention has been paid to the structure, although despite the loss of lead from the roof and a number of glazing panels the box itself is in reasonable condition.”

A letter from Network Rail included in the application says: “It should also be pointed out that enquiries were made to local heritage railways as to whether the signal box could be re-located to their operations; the Embsay Railway did not return any interest and the Keighley & Worth Valley felt unable to take on the liability unless accompanied by a number of alterations as regards their existing operation at Keighley, which we are not in a position to grant in their entirety.

“It is acknowledged that the removal of the signal box will take it from its original historic location and indeed out of the council’s administrative area. This has to be weighed against the beneficial re-use of the structure in a working railway environment. It is also inevitable that, as an unused building, albeit listed, it will not feature high in the priorities of maintenance spending by a public body given it has no other railway function.”

A decision on the application is expected in December.