Category Archives: News

All the latest news and developments from the Society

SPS Members’ Weekend – Saturday 8 / Sunday 9 October 2022.

SPS Members’ Weekend – Saturday 8 / Sunday 9 October 2022.

All SPS members are invited to Members’ Weekend to see the latest progress and developments at Swindon Panel and Didcot Railway Centre. Whatever your level of signalling knowledge or experience, come and visit the panel you’ve all contributed to preserving and have a chat with some old friends and maybe make some new ones too!

The format has varied over the years – ranging from allocated slots to a ‘free for all’ – and we we be pleased to hear from interested members on the format you would like to see.

The panel can be open overnight if members wish to operate it.

If you would like to take part but don’t know how to work the panel, don’t worry, there will be plenty of members around to help you! Everyone is keen to show new people how things work.

If you are interested in taking part in the event please contact Danny Scroggins (by email or HOPS message, stating your views on format, date/time constraints/requests etc).

If you’re not yet a member, but are keen to take part, membership is only a click away! http://www.swindonpanel.org.uk/get-involved/membership/

See you there!

Thank you to Mid-Hants Signalmen!

Thank you very much to our friends at the Mid-Hants Railway Signalling Department for hosting a visit from SPS members.

Here we are assembled on the steps of the magnificent Ropley Signal Box (ex-Netley) during a very interesting day visiting the lines four signal boxes.

Visits to signal boxes and other signalling-interest locations take place from time to time for SPS members.

Swindon Panel AGM

The ninth SPS AGM will be on 28 May 2022, held online via Teams, at 2pm.

All members are invited to attend, please email admin@swindonpanel.org.uk for the meeting link. Non-members are welcome to attend if they wish, but may not cast votes.

As always, the agenda will be…
– Welcome from the Chairman
– Adoption of minutes from 2021
– Finance report (Brian)
– Membership report (Peter)
– Plans ahead report (Danny)
– Re-election of trustees
– Q&A

This year is Brian Davis and Jamie Brooker’s turn to retire, having completed their two-year term since the three-year retiring system was introduced in 2020. We are pleased to say that both offer themselves for re-election and the trustees recommend both of them to receive your support.

Items raised by members in the Q&A section will be considered ‘formal’ but, as always, there will be the opportunity for informal discussion and questions after the meeting if anyone wishes to raise or discuss anything informally.

SPS AGM – Saturday 19 June

Swindon Panel Society’s 2021 AGM will be held VIA ONLINE MEETING at 3pm on Saturday 19 June.

It is necessary to register to attend the meeting.

After registering you will receive a link to the actual meeting.

Zoom is free to download. When you click the meeting link (which you receive after registering), there is an option to download Zoom if you don’t already have it.

It is also possible to dial in by telephone.

We will start the session a bit early to give everyone time to join in and iron out any computer issues.
Non-members are welcome to attend but may not vote.

(We will hold an in-person members’ social event at the panel as soon as circumstances allow.)

Photo shows the Henry Williams bear, joining in the AGM by phone in Swindon Panel. The bear was sent by HW to the Swindon Panel opening event 2018!

Swindon Panel Re-opens 22 May

Swindon Panel will re-open on Saturday 22 May!

Our calendar of Demonstration Days for May and June is now available at: https://www.swindonpanel.org.uk/activities-2021/

Come and visit us at Didcot Railway Centre and have a go at operating Swindon Panel under the guidance of our volunteer demonstrators.

UP TO 20% OFF WHEN YOU BOOK IN ADVANCE: https://didcotrailwaycentre.digitickets.co.uk/event-tickets/29028

DIDCOT RAILWAY CENTER LOCKDOWN GUARANTEE – Should national or local Covid-19 regulations oblige us to postpone your booked Steam Day or should you need to postpone due to coronavirus or in order to self-isolate, then you can transfer to another Steam Day later in 2021.

SPS Members: SPS members are welcome to visit, please show your SPS membership card at the DRC ticket gate for entry. If you wish to stay for longer than a ‘normal’ public visit to the panel please let us know in advance so that we can avoid conflicts as space is limited as the far end of the room is blocked off at the moment.

Re-Opening

RE-OPENING:

Didcot Railway Centre is planning to re-open and welcome visitors to the open-air parts of the site (plus the well-ventilated loco shed) for ‘Open Air Steam Days’ at Weekends and on Wednesdays from the 14 April 2021 (step 2 of the Roadmap out of Lockdown).

Some facilities can’t open yet, such as the Small Artefacts Museum, Air Raid Shelter and The Signalling Centre – these will reopen at a later date in line with Government guidance with appropriate measures in place to keep everyone safe.

Swindon Panel (part of The Signalling Centre) is an “indoor … museum and gallery”, and will not be able to open until at least step 3 of the roadmap. The earliest this can take place, if all other conditions are favourable, is 17 May.

We will continue to monitor the situation and the feeling of SPS volunteers and give a firmer date as the situation develops and, hopefully, the Covid risk recedes, but we know that this can’t be any earlier than 17 May.

Thank you to all our members and supporters who continue their interest in Swindon Panel from afar, and to our friends at DRC with whom we work closely on all the plans and restrictions.

This week marks Swidnon Panel’s 53rd anniversary of opening. For the latter part of its main line life Swindon Panel staff worked 12 hour shifts, changing over at 6am and 6pm. As most shift workers will recognise, that time at about 5 o’clock where you start to wash up and pack away hoping to see the car of your relief arriving ‘any minute now’….. We are at the 5am stage now where the end of this ‘shift from hell’ is in sight! The only difference is, rather than looking forward to going home, we’re now looking forward to go TO Swindon Panel!

SPS in December

An update for members and supporters:

Following a detailed discussion of all the risks and benefits, and taking into account the feedback from demonstrators, we will not be opening the panel during December.

We will review the situation at Christmas with a view to opening again in January.

Apologies to everyone who might have planned to visit SPS in December, but we are sure you’ll agree that the overall health considerations have to be the priority.

November Open Days Cancelled

In line with the latest government announcements, all SPS public open days, private members’ sessions, and official visits have been cancelled.

Please contact us if you need to discuss anything, and we look forward to seeing you again in the future!

Signal Garden Equipment Appeal

Swindon Panel is building a ‘signal garden’, to extend the scope of its educational offering from just the panel control console to a fully-prototypical relay interlocking and full-size external colour light signals.

There will be four, four-aspect signals, one with junction indicators, able to demonstrate a variety of junction aspect sequences and controls.

The signal garden will be controllable – by visitors of all ages – from a small panel in The Signalling Centre. It will also be used for more interested technical explanations and also professional engineering visitors that make use of Swindon Panel as a training facility.

We have been able to buy some of the equipment, and have kindly been donated some items, but there still some things on our ‘need’ list, some of which are common items and some are quite rare.

PO Sets
15 x Type A [Now obtained, thanks to the Beer Heights Light Railway, Pecorama, Devon]
2 x Type B
1 x Type D

930 series Relays
5 x PC 004 – 8F-8B Double Wound. (Could use 6F/6B or 4F/4B Double Wound).
8 x PC 071 – 4F (AC Lamp Proving Relay 0.18A).
2 x PC 070 – 2F/2B (AC Lamp Proving 1.4A)
2 x PC 063 – 8F/8B – Slow to Release
4 x PC 124 – Thermal Timer
2 x PC 569 – Lamp Proving for Fibre Optic Display Units (or could use PC941)

Transformer / Rectifiers
4 x 110/50 T/Js. (3 amp)

Track Feeds
2 x DC track feed units

Other parts
Double-door, door-side large location case [Now donated thanks to iLECSYS, thank you.]
Bus bars
Fuse holders
2BA blocks, links, nuts. [Now obtained, thank you]
Concrete cable troughing [Now obtained, thanks to the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway, thank you]

If anyone has any of the above items available, or knows where they might be, we’d be very grateful to hear from you.

They will not be used in any safety-critical installation, so items that are in a condition not suitable for main-line use (but still in working) are welcome.

Thank you very much.

Re-Opening at Last

RE-OPENING AT LAST!

Yes, Swindon Panel is ready to re-open (or perhaps that should be re-re-open as this will be its third opening!)

Swindon Panel will be open to the public on Saturday 11, Saturday 18 and Sunday 26 July (but please see below about members visiting the panel).

There will be guided tours in The Signalling Centre, a one-way system (in the front door and out the back door!), and hand sanitiser and cleaning products in use.

Didcot Railway Centre will be open from Saturday 4 July (full details on their website)

A lot of hard work by a lot of people has happened to enable DRC and SPS to re-open with all appropriate safety measures in place – thank you to everyone from both organisations who has contributed to that.

MEMBERS

Our initial public opening days are for public visitors only. Information has been circulated to members about visiting the panel and when members’ access will resume. If you are an SPS member and haven’t received the information please contact us.

VOLUNTEERING

Volunteering at the panel is being reintroduced gradually, and details have been circulated to volunteer members. At present, only those rostered should attend the panel while we find our feet again.

THANK YOU to everyone for your support over the last few months!