It seems like only yesterday I was writing the ‘four months to go’ article, but sure enough, by this time in three months, Swindon Panel will be closed and signal engineers will be working to bring the new TVSC Swindon workstation (expanded from the current workstation controlling Swindon-Kemble) into use.
For our part, we have been engaging contractors for the various parts of the panel move in the last month or so. About six different companies have been to the panel to look at the job required for scaffolding, jacking, lifting, haulage, etc. We have had a wide range of responses, from companies that have taken one look at the task and then nearly cried into their notebooks, to those which have approached it more confidently and said ‘it won’t be easy, but here’s how we can do it’. We are slowly narrowing down the field of prospective contractors.
We have been very pleased indeed to have made connections with a few companies with which Society supporters have connections who have been prepared to sponsor or subsidise parts of the work or work at cost price. (We definitely brought out the tea and biscuits for these!)
We have just started some new volunteer involvement in engineering the jacking and skating of the panel onto the flat roof outside. This was an area it was very difficult to engage contractors in so this is very welcome news.
In the next few weeks we hope to see some firm plans and agreements for the works, and we also have an important meeting with Network Rail at the end of March to discuss the alterations/strengthening of the building fabric we will need to do to extract the panel. This meeting will also help us to plan timescales for the work, so hopefully we should be able to commit to a date when we move in to the panel at Swindon and a date when the panel moves out. From this we will be able to arrange dates for SPS members to prepare the panel for its move and get everything ready, when your help will be much appreciated!
Keep an eye on the website for all the latest news and information, we will publish dates as soon as we know them. Thanks all for your support – the next six months will be very exiting indeed!