Become a Demonstrator

SPS volunteer demonstrators work the panel and encourage visitors to have a go. Of course, no real trains will be involved, so it doesn’t matter if any mistakes are made!

Training is provided to volunteers to make sure that you are comfortable with how the panel works and how to explain the very basics to people, and there will always be several volunteers on duty at the same time, allowing the “work” to be shared and also to allow for breaks etc.

Experience in explaining Swindon Panel to people thus far has enabled us to identify the favourite questions that visitors like to ask (How old is it? When did it close? How many people worked it? Isn’t it all done by computer?) so we are confident it will be easy to equip you with the answers to these favourite questions.

Don’t worry – it won’t be necessary to learn thousands of rules and regulations to volunteer for working the panel – it is not the plan to have major disasters playing out for the public.

We will make sure you are aware of the principles of how things work about anything that the public might ask (such as “if a train breaks down, will the one behind crash into it?” and “What happens when there’s leaves on the line?”). The one question we might not be able to answer is “Why is my train always late?”, although I think we might all have our own views on that!

If you have background railway or signalling knowledge you will be most welcome, but even if you don’t have the first clue where to start, don’t let that stop you! What better way is there to learn than in a completely safe, completely fun panel with no time or safety pressure?

Please let us know via any of the usual means if you would be interested in learning more about working the panel. When doing so, please let us know if you have any existing relevant background knowledge as this will enable us to plan, and to make sure you get the help you need, but not the help you don’t!

5 thoughts on “Become a Demonstrator

  1. Hi,
    Interested in becoming a working member again & learning the Panel. Previously a Signalman on the Dean Forest Railway, currently awaiting being passed out for Exeter West Signal Box. Through my late step-dad (Panel Signalman at Newport 1968-1972 & Cardiff Panel 1966 – 1968 & 1972 – 1996) I’ve been involved with signalling interests for over 40 years. Did 5 Safe Working Of Trains Courses during my 36 years on the railway until retirement 4 years ago, and still retain my Rules & Regulations for DFR.

  2. very interested in becoming a demonstrator. No actual signalling experience but completed the Severn Valley Railway signalling course about 14 years ago.
    Have volunteered on SVR 2 days per month for last 14 years as station staff on Highley Station.
    Gold member Swindon Panel Society

  3. Hi
    I’m due to come down down to London on Friday 20th to Monday 23rd July and just want to know is will there be any simulator on or not?

  4. I would be interested in offering my services on an occasional basis (One or two days per month) as a ‘signalman’.
    I have worked a number of the WR ‘turn/push’ panels unofficially!!!!
    Mid week days suit me better usually Tuesdays and/or Fridays.
    Please let me know if I can help.


  5. Hi,

    My step dad worked Newport and Cardiff Panel boxes between 1966 -1996. As a result, I’ve studied signalling for over 36 years. I currently volunteer as a signalman on the Dean Forest Railway. I worked for the railway between 1979 – 2015 until retirement. Sat a number of Safe Working of Trains courses, studying railway operation. Was involved with train crew diagramming for FGW / Transrail and Welsh Freight over a 22 year span. Would be keen to become involved as a signaller for Swindon PSB.

    Many thanks,

    Steve Williams

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