Network Rail has been swamped with thousands of eager applications from people hoping for one of 60 free tickets to tour the Birmingham New Street signal box, which closed down last year. 

The ballot for the rare tickets has attracted around 7,500 people by the time the ballot closed on Friday (17 March).

Network Rail has appealed for applicants who failed to have their names picked from the ballot – and were sent notifications of the decision – not to attend the limited event.

The appeal comes after some applicants mistakenly thought they had won a ticket with a tour slot when they filled in their details on the Eventbrite page and received an email.

However, upon closer inspection, the email notification was actually a confirmation of entry into the ballot and, if successful, the entrant would be informed via telephone after midday on Friday 17 March.

The interior of Birmingham New Street signal box, Circa 1966Kidderminster Railway Museum
The interior of Birmingham New Street signal box, Circa 1966

Network Rail issued a statement once the ballot for tickets had closed saying: “Our ticket ballot closed at noon today (Friday, March 17) and all winning participants have now been contacted directly to confirm their attendance on Friday, March 31.

“If you have not been contacted by phone this afternoon, you have unfortunately not secured a place on the tours and will not be admitted to the event.

“The Eventbrite listing for the tours will shortly be cancelled – making all automatic confirmation emails and tickets from Eventbrite null and void. Showing up on the day with the ballot email will result in a wasted journey so please follow this guidance to avoid disappointment.

“Once again, please do not come to the venue unless you have been contacted directly by phone by Network Rail. We have had more than 7,500 applications for the 60 places on the tours, and we have been delighted and overwhelmed by the interest in coming to see our much-loved Brutalist building.

“Thank you very much again for your interest in our tours, and we hope to be able to invite you behind the scenes elsewhere on the West Midlands rail network again in the near future.”

The Brutalist signal box under construction in January 1965 Kidderminster Railway Museum
The Brutalist signal box under construction in January 1965

The hour long tours slots – with each tour consisting of twelve people – begin at noon on Friday 31 March with the final tour taking place at 4pm.

The iconic Brutlalist Grade II listed signal box, situated on the corner of Brunel Street and Navigation Street, has serviced the West Midlands for nearly 60 years before shutting down on Christmas Eve 2022.

Rather than being left empty and derelict the signal box will be repurposed as a specialist training centre for future railway signal staff.

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