Monthly Archives: March 2020

Swindon Panel in Main Line use again!

Swindon Panel Society and Didcot Railway Centre are proud to be helping Network Rail during this Coronavirus period.

NR, who used to own the panel before it was preserved at Didcot, are making use of the preserved Swindon Panel in their preparations for train service delivery in the event of a shortage of signalling staff over the coming weeks and months.

Staff who have been in signaller roles in their past are being refreshed and assessed on their skills and competence to manage railway operating scenarios such as regulating trains, infrastructure failures, signals passed at danger, failed trains, etc.

All of these scenarios can all be created using the very high-accuracy simulator equipment fitted to Swindon Panel which makes all the controls and indications work in exactly the same way as they did when it main line operation.

(NR is also appealing for retired and even heritage railway signalmen to help.)

Swindon Panel was in main line use from 1968 until 2016, when it was taken out of use, bought by volunteers and restored to full working order, enjoyed by visitors of all ages to Didcot Railway Centre.

It is a great testament to the restoration work done by SPS volunteers that the panel is now being used by main line signallers again! SPS is happy to do its bit for the country and human kind to help keep vital rail traffic moving in this national emergency. Well done everyone!

SPS Offered to Main Line for Emergency Training

We are happy to have offered the use of Swindon Panel to Network Rail as an additional training simulator resource.

This is for training and refreshing retired and heritage staff who have kindly responded to the current requests for help in manning main line signal boxes around the country.

SPS is happy to do its bit for the country and human kind to help keep vital rail traffic moving in this national emergency.

SPS & DRC Closed

Coronavirus: Swindon Panel Society & Didcot Railway Centre will continue to monitor and follow the advice provided by Public Health England to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff.

The Prime Minister’s statement on 16 March was very clear: everyone should avoid gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres. In view of this, Didcot Railway Centre will be closed until at least Friday 3 April.

Swindon Panel will be closed until at least Sunday 5 April inclusive.

The MIC day on 28 March is postponed.

In addition, all Enthusiasts’ Weekend activities for Friday 3, Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April are cancelled. We will contact those who had pre-booked to discuss options.

Our next planned open date is now Wednesday 8 April. We will continue to monitor the situation and advice from the Government and Public Health England and will review the position frequently. We will give further information regarding that open day and subsequent days when it is safe and responsible to do so.

We remind all our visitors of the importance of maintaining good hand and personal hygiene at all times. Please consult the PHE website for more information.