A Cornish signal box which has seen generations of railway men and women pass through its doors is set to close after 144 years in service. 

Par signal box, a Victorian-era signal box constructed in 1880 is set to close alongside signal boxes in Lostwithiel and Truro in the spring of 2024.  

Its closure comes as part of modernisation work on the ‘Cornish main line’, between Penzance and Liskeard which will see the replacement of manually operated semaphore signals with a digital system operated from a control centre near to Exeter St David’s station in Devon.  

In the present system, signallers have to physically pull 51 levers at Truro signal box to change the semaphores and points, in this instance to control the signals on the lines approaching and departing Truro from Chacewater to Probus in addition to the branch line between Truro and Falmouth Docks.  

At least two of the signal boxes will be preserved, owing to their Grade II listing. In addition to the Par box, Lostwithiel, built in 1893 is also subject to the listing, which was made in July 2013 after an intervention from the then Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey, seeking to protect 26 of therarest signal boxes in the United Kingdom.  

The future of Truro signal box, built in 1899, which is not listed, is less certain, although there are no immediate plans to demolish it despite no future plans currently decided once it is decommissioned. 

Craig Munday, a mobile operations manager for Network Rail, said: “It’ll be a shame to see it go, but I think we should celebrate it rather than feel downbeat. 

“The equipment is old. By and large it works quite well, but Network Rail is finding it increasingly difficult to find spares and find parts to keep it all going. And it’s due an overhaul.”