Fundraiser launched to repair historic steam railway signal post blown down in gales in Milton Keynes town

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It’s the last remaining post of the famous ‘Nobby Newport’ line

A fundraiser has been launched to repair the last remaining signal post of the historic ‘Nobby Newport’ steam railway line.

The ancient post blew down during January’s gales force winds and is now just lying at the side of the redway that was once the railway track.

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It was the final signal standing on the line, which opened for passenger traffic in September 1867.

The Nobby Newport signal post blew down during January's gales in Milton KeynesThe Nobby Newport signal post blew down during January's gales in Milton Keynes
The Nobby Newport signal post blew down during January's gales in Milton Keynes

It stood a short distance away from the old station in Broad Street, Newport Pagnell, and over the years had been restored as a vital part of local history.

However, the wood at the bottom of the post had clearly rotted away and the strong winds proved too much.

Resident Mark Lombardo has now launched a JustGiving page to raise £2,000 to restore and re-erect the signal post.

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He said: “In January, we lost a piece of Newport Pagnell history. The Final Signal (Newport Nobby). It was taken down by the high winds we had.

The bottom of the old Nobby Newport line signal post had rotted awayThe bottom of the old Nobby Newport line signal post had rotted away
The bottom of the old Nobby Newport line signal post had rotted away

“We are not certain if MKCC have the funds to repair and reerect it. It would be such a shame for the town to loose it. Let's raise the funds to have it restored to its former glory and re-erected.”

So far £55 has been raised.

The Nobby Newport line is today simply another one of the city’s redway but was once a vital transport link between Newport Pagnell and Wolverton. It ferried hundreds of people employed at the thriving railway works and also for schoolchildren travelling to school in Wolverton.

The line was invaluable in ferrying goods and even livestock between the two towns, including flour from Newport’s two flour mills and cars and vehicles from the Salmons works in Newport Pagnell’s Tickford Street – which eventually became the Aston Martin Lagonda factory.

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All the coal used in Newport Pagnell and the surrounding villages also came in by train.

It was on June 291863 that the Newport Pagnell Railway company was given the green light to construct a four mile line from the London North Western Railway at Wolverton and make a working arrangement with the LNWR.

The company raised a capital of £45,000 and another £15,000 by loans, and work started the following summer.

On September 2 1867 the line was proudly opened for passenger traffic, with a station on the north side of Broad Street in Newport Pagnell. There were smaller stations buildings at Great Linford and New Bradwell before the line came to a stop at Wolverton station.

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The bulbous-nosed steam train was affectionately known as the ‘Newport Nobby’ and many people still have fond memories of it today

By the1960s, there was government pressure to cut to cut the number of lines in the UK. They were said to be losing money due to the rise in the number of people owning cars and road transport.

In September 1964 the line was closed to passengers and was used for goods traffic only. Three years later, on June 22 1967, it closed completely.

All four station buildings were eventually demolished. New homes were later built near the Newport site, while the original platforms remain at the Great Linford and New Bradwell stops.

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