Monthly Archives: June 2015

AGM & BBQ Enjoyed by All

Thank you to everyone who attended the AGM this weekend.

Over 25 members attended the meeting, followed by a tour of the building under construction, a talk on the inner works of one of our demonstration colour light signals. We were all then treated to a most excellent BBQ.

Thank you to everyone who attended and everyone who took part. We hope you enjoyed seeing the progress we have been making.

A collection of photos from the day is available in our photo gallery.

Here are copies of the documentation from the day:

AGM Report
Finance Spreadsheet
Membership Spreadsheet
Charity Commission Return

Dream Comes True for Redruth Estate Agent!

A lifelong love of trains gave Bill an unbelievable chance to ride in a cab of a high speed locomotive from Bristol all the way into London Paddington.

It started when his son, who drives trains from Long Rock, found details of an auction offering a cab ride with the proceeds to go to the Swindon Panel Society.

Bill put in a good bid to hopefully frighten off anybody else and luckily it worked! Bill comments “this was a most fascinating opportunity seeing things that one would not normally see from the coaches behind. The entrance to some of the tunnels are very ornate including the two mile long Box tunnel which is near Corsham.”

Also seen was the complete remodelling of Reading station to include a flyover and also the future electric masts from Paddington to South Wales have now started and there is a tremendous amount of work going along by the railway.

Bill continues, “At various times 125 mph was achieved and it is interesting to note that when the power was shut down, the train could coast for some four to fives miles, bearing in mind also this is a very flat route known as Brunel’s Billiard Table.

“This is probably one of the best things I have ever achieved and it will remain with me forever”.

* * *

Thank you very much indeed to First Great Western for facilitating this event for us and for Bill!

We will have a new auction starting in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Bill in the HST power car at Bristol, and, at the top, in the driver’s seat at London Paddington.

Gift Aid – Free money for SPS!

Please complete a form!

Gift aid is a government scheme that allows charities such as SPS to reclaim, from the tax man, the tax that you paid on your membership fees and donations when you initially earned the money. SPS re-claiming gift aid doesn’t cost you any extra, but it does earn the Society an extra 25p for every eligible £1 you have paid.

We have a large number of membership payments and donations on which we would like to re-claim gift aid, in order to do these we would like to ask everyone to complete a gift aid form and return it to us by post or email.

Silver members, that’s an extra £7.50 toward preserving Swindon Panel; Gold members, a whopping £50! Just for a one-off action to complete the Gift Aid form.

We have a large number of historical forms that have information missing, such as house numbers, signatures, or a tick in the yes/no box, so even if you have completed a form before, please could we ask you to complete a new one?

If, for any reason, we can’t reclaim gift-aid on monies we have received from you (such as if you aren’t a UK taxpayer), if you could please let us know this as well then we will stop pestering you! (Just by email reply will be fine).

Thank you very much!

Link to the form again.

Last Chance for Gold Membership

SPS has offered three levels of membership for the last two years – bronze, silver and gold.

Gold membership is valid for life and, like with most organisations that offer it, is designed to produce a high initial membership return for the Society in its formative years, when it needs a larger amount of income than in the long-term. Life membership does, however, reduce future annual income.

The numerous delays in closing of Swindon Panel, while frustrating in a number of ways, has a silver lining of having allowed us to sufficient time to reach a comfortable financial position, not least due to an excellent take-up of gold memberships (maybe it should be a ‘gold lining’…).

To avoid over-burdening the Society in the future, we have decided to close life membership to new entrants. The last date on which we will accept new gold membership will be the date of the AGM, Saturday 27 June.

Existing bronze and silver members will be able to upgrade to gold membership at their renewal if they wish, until the end of 2015. Existing bronze or silver members whose membership is not due for renewal before the end of 2015 may upgrade before the end of 2015 with a pro-rata reduction for gold membership based on the length of their silver or bronze membership left to run. (We are aware that there are possibly some annual members who had other plans in mind to upgrade in the future and we are happy to discuss individual cases of existing members (raised early) if required.)

New Swindon Panel Day – 21 June

An extra Swindon Panel Day has been added, on 21st June, at Didcot Railway Centre, in order to hold a further session of brick-cutting for the building.

We initially cut a good amount, but didn’t want to waste bricks by cutting too many. As the walls are shooting up it is now apparent how many more will be required and therefore we will be cutting them on Sunday 21 June.

The GWS Civil Engineering Group will also be present on Saturday 20 June, and you will be very welcome to come and join in this not-too-strenuous yet still rewarding task on either day (Saturday or Sunday).


SPS Autumn to Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway

Swindon Panel Society is delighted to announce its autumn trip which, this year, is to the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway!

More details…

The visit will take place on Saturday 26 September, during the RHDR’s Heritage Weekend, and also the 90th birthday of the RHDR’s first two locomotives, Green Goddess and Northern Chief, which were delivered to Captain Howey at New Romney in 1925 before the RHDR even opened.

The 15″ gauge engines run for 13 miles across Romney Marsh, including 8 miles of double track between Hythe and New Romney, where passing trains have a passing speed of 50mph, a scale 150mph!

Sign up now!

Wanted – Move Project Co-ordinator

Swindon Panel Society is looking to recruit a (volunteer) Project Co-ordinator for the move of the panel from Swindon to Didcot. This a great opportunity to take an active and instrumental role in the preservation of the panel.

The key task required is to assist in the smooth-running of the project by maintaining communications and tracking of administration of the many facets of the move and amongst the several parties involved.

The Project Co-ordinator will work closely with the Project Manager and be included in all aspects of the move. Good administration and computer skills are required in order to create and control documentation, actions, meetings, etc and maintain logs of points requiring attention and the close-out actions. The role is best performed by someone who is not already ‘doing’ the move, and will enable a separation between the ‘doing’ and the ‘organising’, allowing both sections to concentrate on their own task.

The majority of the tasks of the Project Co-ordinator can be conducted from home, and the person carrying out the role should have sufficient spare time to commit to approximately one hour’s work per evening for three evenings a week. The person should also be in a position to travel to Didcot/Swindon approximately once per month for a day for meetings etc, and more frequently during the actual move period (looking like it will be January / February 2016).

The Society is looking to recruit a person into this role to address the rising demands on time of the trustees to ensure that all required tasks are discharged comprehensively. For clarity, the Co-ordinator will not be responsible for managing the move, the Co-ordinator will support the Project Manager who is responsible.

This role would ideally suit someone who is looking for a fixed-period role, as the Co-ordinator’s role will no longer be required after the panel move has taken place (although they would be very welcome to move on into another role in the Society if desired!) It is not necessary to have signalling or operations experience to carry out this role.

If you think you would like to be involved in the work of the Society in this way and have the time available then please get in contact with us in the normal way!

Thank you very much.

FGW Sleeper Tickets for Auction

Take part in our latest fundraising auction and you could win tickets for the FGW sleeper train!

You and a friend or relative can board the FGW sleeper train at Paddington or Reading and take a night’s sleep in a cabin, and wake up bright and refreshed in the morning in Penzance, or perhaps alighting at an earlier station, and exploring whatever area of glorious Cornwall that you prefer.

Or, if you live in the West Country, why not have a day exploring the sights and sounds of London?

Full details on our auction page.