A CAMPAIGN launched to try to preserve a “vital” piece of Prestatyn heritage is gathering momentum.

Prestatyn signal box, which has been in operation for about 120 years, is closing as part of a £50million North Wales Railway Upgrade Project. The historic box is due for demolition in the near future.

A petition - which has attracted about 145 signatures - has been set up, in the hope that the building can be spared from the wrecking ball. A Save Prestatyn Signal box group has also been created on Facebook which has more than 700 members.

A campaigner, who asked not to be named, said: “Residents of Prestatyn are desperate to have the box saved from the impending demolition, it is an important part of Prestatyn’s heritage. The signalling system is being upgraded between Shotton and Colwyn Bay and is due to ‘go live’ on Friday. This will mean the end of the Victorian, lever and bell based signalling.

“The signallers who work in the Prestatyn signal box have been offered a transfer to another signal box or have had to take redundancy.”

Town and county councillor Anton Sampson, who started the Facebook group, said: “I think it is important to hold on to Prestatyn’s heritage and secure some sort of deal with Network Rail.

“I’ve known for a long time that it is due to be decommissioned but when I found out it was earmarked for demolition, I thought it was important to rally support.”

Network Rail told the Journal that “no compulsory redundancies are being made in Prestatyn.”

A spokesperson for the public sector company said: “The railway is vital for economic growth, connecting people and communities, and the £50million North Wales Railway Upgrade Project will provide a more resilient and reliable railway for passengers.

“As part of this project, the railway from Shotton to Colwyn Bay will benefit from a modern signalling system. The new signalling equipment will be commissioned over the coming weekend and Prestatyn signal box will be closed.

“There are no compulsory redundancies being made. Prestatyn signal box is a non-listed building and is earmarked for demolition over the coming months. “However, we have been made aware in recent weeks that there are members of the local community that would like to preserve the signal box.”

Network Rail intend to meet members of the community and Chris Ruane, MP for Vale of Clwyd, in order to discuss and “understand” proposals for the signal box.

Mr Ruane said: “Over the years, the Friends of Prestatyn Railway Station have seized the opportunity to use the station as a means of welcoming people to the town. I have been working with the friends to extend Prestatyn/Dyserth walkway from the railway station near to the disused platform and the signal box could form part of this route. Preserving the signal box could prove to be a great addition to Prestatyn’s heritage.”