A large proportion of BR Western Region was resignalled in the 1960s and 70s. Apart from a few isolated schemed where colour-lights already existed (Paddington-Hayes, Bristol, Cardiff), the majority of the signalling being replaced was mechanical, with semaphore signals and points worked from lever frames.
The resignallings came at the same time as a number of other economies in the railway organisation:
* Dieselisation, replacing of steam locomotives
* Rationalisation of the network, including the closure of many stations and lines.
* MAS, a huge saving in equipment, maintenance and manpower by centralising control of MAS equipment into the new panels.
MAS control panels allow the setting of routes electrically, instead of mechanically. They are a lot less labour intensive than a layout signalling with mechanical equipment. Critically, a much larger area can be controlled by each person.
The then new panels utilise square tiles called ‘Dominos’, patented by a Swiss company called Integra, to construct the panel diagram. Each Domino is 40mm square and has a small section of the layout on it, such as one signal, or one set of points. Many hundreds of small Dominos are then formed into a mosaic to build up the required panel diagram. Domino panels are supplied in the UK by Henry Williams in Darlington.
The WR Domino panels are special in that they use rotary switches for the ‘entrance’ controls, instead of the push buttons that most other regions use.
Domino panels were installed on the Western Region at the locations below. Large installations are shown in capitals.
|Pyle West||13 December 1959||21 October 1963|
|Margam Hump||6 March 1960||1 November 1987|
|BIRMINGHAM||11 September 1960||17 September 1972|
|PLYMOUTH||28 November 1960||(Extant)|
|Reading Main Line East||12 February 1961||24 April 1965|
|East Usk Jn||16 April 1961||9 December 1962|
|Magor||16 April 1961||1 February 1968|
|Maindee Main||16 April 1961||9 December 1962|
|Maindee North||20 August 1961||9 December 1962|
|Twyford||23 October 1961||20 March 1972|
|Gaer Junction||26 November 1961||9 December 1962|
|Henley-on-Thames||10 December 1961||20 March 1972|
|Old Oak Common (original main line panel)||8 October 1962||4 September 1967|
|Old Oak Common (original engine lines panel)||8 October 1962||4 September 1967|
|NEWPORT (MAIN)||9 December 1962||16 May 2011|
|PORT TALBOT (MAIN)||22 September 1963||(Extant)|
|SLOUGH||13 October 1963||3 April 2015|
|READING (MAIN)||24 April 1965||30 December 2010|
|CARDIFF||27 March 1966||24 December 2016|
|OLD OAK COMMON (MAIN)||4 September 1967||26 May 1995|
|NEWPORT (SEVERN TUNNEL)||1 February 1968||28 October 2012|
|SWINDON (More photos)||3 March 1968||20 December 2016|
|GLOUCESTER||25 May 1968||(Extant)|
|Princes Risborough||27 October 1968||1 March 1991|
|Didcot Power Station||c. January 1970||13 June 2013|
|BRISTOL (MAIN)||8 March 1970||(Extant)|
|BRISTOL (STOKE)||12 February 1971||18 February 2017|
|PORT TALBOT (SWANSEA PANEL)||10 September 1973|
|OXFORD||14 October 1973||Autumn 2018|
|Old Oak Common (Mini)||15 December 1977||April 1993|
|READING (NEWBURY PANEL)||January 1978||25 April 2010|
|Westbury (North)||9 October 1978||27 April 1984|
|Chard Junction||6 December 2009||10 March 2012|
|Ascott-under-Wychwood||6 June 2011||(Extant)|
|Evesham||22 August 2011||(Extant)|
|Severn Tunnel Hump Yard||?||?|
Dates drawn from the BPSR.