Sir William McAlpine calls in on Swindon Panel Saturday

Sir William McAlpine was visiting Didcot Railway Centre on Saturday. While he was there he called in and had a chat with his favourite local WR Integra panel signalling preservation group! (Maybe he had heard it was Swindon Panel Saturday!)

SPS organiser Tim Miller explained what we were up to and what our aspirations are, and showed him the site on which the new building is being constructed. Sir William was pleased to see our progress and wished us the very best with our work.

Building materials are arriving on the site thick and fast, blocks, bricks, steel reinforcements, aggregate, etc. It all arrives by train (there being no road access to the Railway Centre), using the GWS’s own main-line registered wagons (REAL ‘trip’ working!) These are the wagons that we emptied of coal two weeks ago in the last Swindon Panel day.

Thankfully we have finished digging down now, and the progress is now in the upwards direction! It is expected that we will be back at ground level (where we started!) in January, but, of course, this time with a strong foundation.

Thank you to those to continue to support Swindon Panel Days at Didcot Railway Centre – there is always opportunities for more willing hands to get involved – plenty of different jobs, not all physically demanding, so if you can join us for a day or part of a day, you’d be very welcome. Tea and friendly chat available all day! Hot food is also on site for breakfast and lunch. The Railway Centre really is a fascinating place, with lots of steam-loco-related “opportunities” if you happen to be in the right place at the right time on the day…!