It was the end of an era for Hampden Park at the weekend as the village signal box was knocked down to make way for new signalling equipment.
Demolition work began late on Friday night and continued throughout the weekend until Monday morning as part of a multi million pound resignalling programme across East Sussex.
Other signal boxes being de-manned, but not demolished, over the weekend included Polegate, Berwick, Eastbourne, Normans Bay, Bexhill and Pevensey.
A Network Rail spokesperson said the planned work carried out at the weekend on the line between Lewes and Hastings was part of a major investment project to upgrade signalling in East Sussex and once complete, the essential upgrade will provide a better, more reliable service for passengers.
The spokesperson said, “As part of this signalling project, we needed to demolish the existing signal box at Hampden Park crossing. Safety at Hampden Park crossing was also improved to meet the latest standards.”
Signalling will now be controlled at a centre in Three Bridges.
Hampden Park signal box dates back to the 1800s when the station was opened as Willingdon in 1888. It was renamed Hampden Park on July 1 1903.
One of the busiest in Europe, Hampden Park level crossing deals with up to 20 trains an hour during rush hour and 14 an hour off-peak.
The demolition of the box, which was not listed by English Heritage during a national survey of all signal boxes, attracted a large number of visitors and photographers throughout the weekend as the operation took place between 8pm Friday and early Monday morning.
People also took to Facebook and social media to lament the end of the signal box.
Steve Ballard said, “It’s such a shame to see it being demolished. As for anyone who grew up in Hampden Park it’s going to make the village look so different.”
Janet Russell said, “It makes me feel so sad to see it go. I remember when the operator had to turn a wheel to open and close gates that blocked the trains, part of my childhood.”
Julie Gilby wrote on Facebook, “What we knew as ‘the village’ and all its attractions have gone,” and Debbie Ward said, “Another childhood memory demolished”.
Sarah-Louise Harper said, “Heartbreaking. Such a shame.”