Hampshire's heritage railway The Watercress Line welcomed Lord Kamall to officially launch a new signal box at Medstead and Four Marks Station. 

The new signalling system has been designed and installed by Watercress Line volunteers, who are all qualified railway signal engineers, checked and tested to Network Rail standards.

It replaces the previous signal box which had reached the end of its serviceable life after almost 40 years at the heritage railway. 

Lord Kamall, former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Technology, Innovation and Life Sciences, visited the station on Tuesday, April 23 to meet volunteers, learn about the project and launch the box by unveiling a plaque.   

Hampshire Chronicle: Medstead and Four Marks station

Lord Kamall was greeted by The Watercress Line’s CEO Rebecca Dalley and met members of The Watercress Line Signals and Telegraph (S&T) team.  

He enjoyed a demonstration of the new system which incorporates a new control panel that upgrades the system to meet modern railways standards, without compromising the heritage look of the station. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Pat Butler, signal and telegraph engineering manager; Lord Kamall, and Rebecca Dalley, CEO of The

Lord Kamall unveiled a plaque to celebrate the achievement of the Medstead and Four Marks Signal Box launch, and he congratulated the team for their excellent work and dedication to the project. 

He said: “I was so impressed by the achievement of the highly skilled volunteers working in their spare time. Their passion and dedication to The Watercress Line shone through in the warm welcome I received. It was fascinating to compare the new electronic signalling with the old lever frame system, and I was privileged to see it in action on board a heritage diesel loco.” 

The previous Medstead and Four Marks mechanical signal box was signed out of use on November 5, 2023 – it was originally located at Wilton South, and first commissioned at Medstead on November 24, 1985. 


@hampshire_chronicle Lord Kamall officially opened the new signal box at Medstead and Four Marks Railway Station today on the Watercress Line #Hampshire. Watch the next video for his views of it. #trains #railway #transport ♬ original sound - A


For the project, The Watercress Line’s S&T team introduced a new power operation of points and signals which enhanced the signalling arrangements to modern signalling safety standards. Qualified signalling engineers from the railway industry were engaged as independent design checkers for extensive testing. The new system required over 200 relays and approximately 5,000 metres of wire, sourced from refurbished Network Rail equipment and new items.  

Hampshire Chronicle: Medstead and Four Marks station

The Watercress Line’s CEO Rebecca Dalley said: “We were delighted to welcome Lord Kamall to our railway to officially launch the Medstead and Four Marks Signal Box. He was interested to learn about the challenges and the successes of the project. 

“We are extremely fortunate to have a team of professional signalling engineers working here as volunteers and we value their resourceful skills and expertise on this project.  

“All the work has been carried out to the railway industry’s safety and standards. We sought assistance from Network Rail engineers to ensure a high quality, safe and fully compliant product and everybody is delighted with the result.” 

Find out more about the volunteering opportunities and what The Watercress Line has to offer at watercressline.co.uk/volunteer/