Great Cockcrow Railway Visit – 27 May 2017

SPS’s exciting program of visits and events continues apace with details of a signalling-oriented visit to the Great Cockcrow Railway in May!

The Great Cockcrow Railway

The Great Cockcrow is a very extensive 7 1/4″ gauge railway near Chertsey. The line has been open on this site since September 1968 (making it only 6 months younger than Swindon Panel!). It is very extensively and professionally signalled and, when open to the public, it operates to an intensive timetable. There are two main circuits, each about 1.25 miles long (a total journey length equivalent for its scale of nearly 20 miles!) There are also some special named trains, such as The Gladesman, which take extra-long routes around the layout. The railway has three very comprehensive signal boxes, including sections of absolute block working and continuous track circuiting.

Two major stations are controlled by motor-worked semaphores while the rest of the main line is equipped with colour-lights, including controlled and automatic examples, plus route and junction indicators, banner repeaters and at least one flashing yellow sequence! The boxes at Hardwick Central and Everglades Junction are fitted with Westinghouse ‘L’ type frames with 23 and 31 levers respectively. Hardwick’s was once part of the 227-lever installation at Crewe South Junction while the Everglades’ is the complete frame from South Croydon Junction.

The country terminus, Cockcrow Hill, has a 16-lever full-size ‘knee’ frame manufactured by the Railway Signal Company, probably around 1930. It came from the Waterloo terminus of the Waterloo & City line. Absolute block working is in operation between all the boxes, and the complex and intensive nature of the railway often demands two signalmen in each box!

For the really technically-minded: All the relay interlockings are main-line standard, use BR 930 series relays. All locs are fed with 110v at 50Hz, have heaters and lighting and are wired to BR Standards (c.1992). Standard BR type cables connect the location to the trackside equipment via 2BA sliding links. Track circuits are fed via a transformer/rectifier (ex-Reed Amplifier PSUs) with an adjustable 20-ohm resistor and use a 12v BR 930 spec. relay with a minimum pick-up of 6.3-7.1v.

More information is available about the GCR from their website, and particularly their signalling page.

Visit Arrangements

We are delighted to have been granted very generous visiting arrangements including:
– Private use of the railway for the day
– Trains run to our requirements
– Unlimited train rides
– Technical explanations of the signalling
– Visits to the three signal boxes
– Supervised visits to the relay rooms
– Freedom to roam the railway, sheds, etc
– Guests are welcome to run their own 7 1/4 loco (subject to meeting GCR conditions on boiler certificates etc)

We will do our best to provide maps and signalling information in advance for those who desire it.

This is very rare opportunity for such generous access to the excellent signalling installations at the railway – don’t miss it!


Our day will start at 10am and end at roughly 4pm. We will meet and finish at the railway.


The cost for the visit is £25 per adult. The price for members and non-members is the same. Children (15 and under) are welcome to attend for free, but must attend with an adult whom they are accompanied by at all times.

To secure your place, please make payment for your place. Payment may be made by the following methods only:
* Cheque made payable to Swindon Panel Society and sent to us at the address below, or to Brian, or given to any Society official at Didcot or an SPS event.
* Payment by credit or debit card or PayPal via HOPS.

We cannot currently accept payment by bank transfer or in cash for this event.

Unfortunately tickets will not be available on the day.

Small print: Please note fees paid are not refundable if you subsequently decide not to attend, although you may transfer your place to another person.

Getting to the Railway

The railway is on Hardwick Lane, Lyne, Chertsey, KT16 0AD.

We hope to arrange a minibus from/to Reading again, please let us know if you will be interested in this option.

If you are coming by train, Chertsey is the nearest station, but this is about half an hour’s walk from the railway. We hope to arrange the minibus for this too, again, please let us know if you will be interested in this option.

For those coming by car, there is ample parking available at the railway.


A cafe will be available on-site, run by the railway, which we encourage you to support.

1 thought on “Great Cockcrow Railway Visit – 27 May 2017

  1. I’d love to come on 27 May, but wil not be back in the UK until 21 March and, with a lot of diary uncertainty for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, may not be able to meet your 29 March deadline.

    Bob Goundry

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