THOUGH it chimes aptly with the catalogue of delay, frustration and foul-ups that have accompanied the £6million revamp of Blackburn's railway station, the saga of its 'missing' clocks suggests that rail bosses have as much concern for the town's heritage as they have had for getting this project on track.

For it was widely believed that at least one of the two ornate Victorian clocks which graced the platforms for generations would be returned after they were removed for refurbishment three years ago when demolition of the old station began. Now, Railtrack reneges on this apparent understanding.

Nor is it a case of anyone getting the wrong idea. For the planning application for the renovation stated that the clocks should be carefully removed and salvaged for re-use at the station -- or offered for sale to a rail preservation society.

Indeed, Railtrack went to some ceremony to stress their commitment to their conservation -- getting the town's MP, Jack Straw, to symbolically unscrew one of them when they were removed in 1999.

Now, it is revealed that the clocks are still at the station in mothballs -- and that Railtrack intends to keep them in storage until a 'suitable heritage site' can be found for them.

Apart from the revamped station now being deemed to be complete -- more than a year behind schedule -- but having no clocks on it platforms, the company need not look far for a fitting location. That is, Blackburn Station itself.

The clocks are part of its history and the town's heritage. They belong to Blackburn. And even though the station has been modernised -- and despite all the trouble involved, now promising to be a great regeneration asset for Blackburn -- enough of its original Victorian character remains to make the return of at least one of the clocks an aesthetic as well as moral necessity.