Monthly Archives: October 2016

Panel Method of Operation Books Reprinted

We are delighted have re-printed two small books that were issued by Western Region to signalmen and others at the time of the Swindon MAS scheme in 1968 explaining in great detail the operation of the new panel.

Most WR panels had their own customised version of this book produced, some of them running to several hundred pages. They were based on the Western Region general book, but localised with information about the panel they were applicable to.

As far as SPS has been able to establish no custom book was made for Swindon, but instead the standard Western Region book issued, plus a Swindon Appendix that contained the local information. Both of these have been re-printed by SPS.

The books show the method of operation and signalling details of the panel at the time that it opened in March 1968.

A sample page from the Western Region book. (Larger version)

SPS is grateful to Network Rail for allowing the re-printing of these books.

The Western Region book is 44 pages long and the Swindon Appendix is 16 pages. The books are produced in matching style and are available separately (£8 and £3 respectively) or at a discount if purchased together (£10).

(The covers of these books are pale blue, which doesn’t show very well in these photos.)

The books are available to buy online now, via HOPS.

100% of the price you pay will be used in the preservation of Swindon Panel at Didcot Railway Centre by Swindon Panel Society, registered charity 1159646. UK postage is free (sponsored by HOPS). HOPS does not make any of the money from the sale of these products.

A sample page from the Swindon Appendix (Larger version)

Swindon Panel souvenirs help restore Swindon Panel!

First Coat of Paint on the Walls

Another milestone passed today in the building! Plaster on some of the walls was dry enough that we could put the first coat of paint on.

The paint had to be watered down as it was being applied to bare plaster but it already makes the place look brighter. Thanks to Stephen and John for helping. The Bristol Group were also working today on the wooden signal post.

More activities including painting walls taking place tomorrow (16th), and a week tomorrow (23rd), plus the continuation of soldering and wiring in the back of the panel. Join us!

Swindon Panel Souvenirs


One way in which Swindon Panel is raising much needed funds is through the sale of Swindon Panel souvenirs. Are there any gaps in your collection of Swindon Panel memorabilia…?

Swindon Panel Mugs

Some blue ones still available and lots of new green ones.

£5 each. UK P&P free.

Swindon Panel enamel totem fridge magnet.

A must for any self-respecting fridge.

£3.50. UK P&P free.

Swindon Panel Move Book

The story of the preservation of the panel and its move to Didcot.

Limited print run

£10. UK P&P free.

We have a small number of these badges left which we released earlier in the year to celebrate Swindon Panel’s 48th birthday and its transition into preservation.
Swindon Panel celebratory pin badge set.

£2 each or a complete set of 6 for £10. UK P&P free (only full sets available by post).

Swindon Panel needs you!

Doors, Windows and Plastering

Thanks to some superb work by the GWS Civil Engineering (CE) Group, the building now has a complete set of windows in the three back windows of the building (one in the Swindon room and two in the Bristol room). These are original GWR windows from the former buildings at the front of Didcot station before the pickup area was built. The last remaining window, at the front of the building, is from Taunton Engine Shed.

Plastering has now taken place on two of the walls in the Swindon room, that’s the wall at the Uffington end of the panel, and the wall that’s face-to-face with the Uffington part of the panel. Tomorrow, and Thursday next week, the wall behind the panel will be plastered. The Uffington end wall has already received a first coat of paint.

The first of the final doors have been fitted to the building now, the small door at the side of the building now has a “new” wooden door (actually a recovered railway door). The doors for the signal building have been rescued from the p.w. buildings at Didcot and platform 9 at Reading.

Simulator PCBs Under Construction

Well done and thank you to our army of solderers who are building the PCBs for Swindon Panel’s simulator.

The administration of picking, packing, sending, receiving and dealing with the hundreds of PCBs involved has been a lot more difficult that I thought it would be – so I apologise that the process is going very slowly indeed and that I am the weakest link!

Boards are flowing out and back in thick and fast. All will be tested for electronic functionality shortly and then we’ll start to install them in the panel!

Exciting Weeks Ahead

Some of our plans for the next few weekends, which we hope you might wish to join in with!

Saturday 8 October

Work will be taking place on the front pathway to the building, including digging-out and levelling the ground from the front door of the building up to the main platform. No special skills are required, but a great deal of satisfaction is there to be gained from some therapeutic digging!

We will also be continuing our wiring and soldering inside the panel. Our current work involves altering the ‘looping’ between the switches and buttons in the panel in order to deliver 24 volts to one side of each switch and button, in order that operating the button or switch delivers electricity to the simulator input.
The civil engineering group will also be present and engaged in continuing work on the building, including door and window fitting.

Saturday 15 / Sunday 16 October

Painting work will be taking place inside the building to put a first coat over the newly-plastered walls. Soldering will also be continuing.

Plastering will be largely complete by this stage, and installation of shelving etc in the building will be taking place to move our main ‘stores’ into the panel room from elsewhere on the site.

Sunday 23 October

As well as completing any unfinished tasks from those above, we will be continuing with soldering work in the panel. By this stage we will be ready to start testing our 24v looping, so will be repeating a task we did a few weeks ago with lamps, which was to light them up one at a time for testing, which is to attach each switch in turn to a buzzer and then operate it to prove its electrical continuity.

If you are able to help on any of the next few weekends you would be most welcome (If you are able to let us know in advance if you’re coming it helps us plan, but pre-booking isn’t compulsory!)


Are you a member of Swindon Panel Society yet? If not, there has never been a better time to join!

If you are a bronze member, perhaps you might like to consider upgrading to Silver!

The panel is now in Didcot, fully in our possession, and it’s no longer a question of ‘if’ it’s preserved and brought back to life, it’s ‘when’!

The ‘when’ currently depends on fundraising, so if you’ve followed our progress with interest thus far, please consider joining the Society. There are two levels of membership, starting from just £5. You’ll receive a membership card, email updates, you can visit, and play with, the panel as much as you like when we are open (or even when we’re not as a silver member!). Silver members also receive our popular news magazine with many interesting reports and stories about the preservation work.

Swindon Panel needs you!!

Panel moved – thank you

Thank you to the volunteers in attendance at our additional Swindon Panel Day last weekend – the panel was successfully moved across the room in order to make more work space and room for plastering behind the panel.

The panel will stay in its new position for the next several months while the wiring in the back of the panel is installed.

Look at all this lovely space behind the panel we now have!