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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Environmental Award

Volunteers involved with Romsey Signal Box since the project’s origins in the 1980s attended the Mayor of Romsey’s ‘At Home’ at Romsey Town Hall on 29th March, where they were presented with the Mayor’s Environmental Award for 2011. Cllr Mike Curtis, Mayor of Romsey and member of the Friends of Romsey Signal Box, presented the award to the Friends’ President, Dick Hewett, and Chairman, Peter Chatfield, and Ted Mason of the Romsey & District Buildings Preservation Trust, in recognition of the huge contribution made by both organisations to securing and restoring Romsey Signal Box as a historic building and working museum for the enjoyment of all.

Other News....there’s lots!!

· Restoration of working signals ahead of schedule! Great progress has been made to restore the existing lattice post signal next to the signal box. This will become the new working distant signal (down branch distant number 4). Another lattice post signal awaits restoration as the new down branch home (number 5). The existing rail-built post signal is next to be restored, and will be the new down starting (number 3), with draw ahead position-light number 19. This re-creates the entire sequence of semaphore running signals in the down direction through Romsey. A second 3-aspect
colour light will be added to the existing one, re-creating the down main sequence. 3 shunting discs will also be connected, authentically re-creating shunt moves.

· Lever 8 has been connected to the points, and we are installing a facing point lock number 9 to work with them. Thus, the up junction points are being restored to mechanical working complete with locking.

· New ‘Oxted’ exhibit! The Oxted signal box diagram has been connected to bells and instruments, adding interest to the displays in the Visitor Centre.

· End of the road for the meat container....but a new lease of life elsewhere! The Mid-Hants Railway are shortly due to collect the dilapidated Meat Container, which once gave venerable service as a photo display area, and they plan to restore it to run on the railway once again. We wish them the best of luck with that one – quite a challenge given its condition.

· Once the meat van is removed, that area will be concreted in readiness for a new structure to accommodate the long-awaited Cowley Bridge Junction, our miniature portable signal box (quarter size lever frame; full size block shelf, signal box diagram, bells and block instruments), and additional exhibition space.

· Further works to restore the signal box are in hand. There have been problems with water ingress, warping of timbers, and deterioration of the pointing, amongst other things. These will be remedied this year and probably next to ensure the box is protected against the weather.

· Young members to lead the construction of a lean-to for the Visitor Centre. Our enthusiastic young volunteers like a project!....the lean-to will enable a protected space behind the Visitor Centre which will be used for storage.

· Painting/signs/lettering. A new sign has been positioned at the front gates, outdoor seats and the picnic table have been painted and lettered, and the Visitor Centre is shortly to be re-painted.

· General site works. A great deal of work is continually undertaken to develop and tidy the site. New fencing has been installed to protect visitors from the (ever developing) moving parts, such as rods and signal wires, and the level crossing gates have been re-painted, to mention just a few of the things that have been taken forward.

· We now have 2 telegraph poles, and thanks to the S&T Working Party, efforts have been made to connect telephones as we develop both signalling and telecommunications on site!

· Successful March event jointly with Romsey Railway Modellers Society. This was our second year for this event, which attracted over 150 visitors at the signal box during the weekend.

· Young members work on new website. This will be of special interest to our younger volunteers.
Joan Bennett resigns as Treasurer. The Friends’ Committee thanks Joan for her input as Treasurer; Dick Hewett makes a comeback and again takes on this role.

· Tribute to Colin Meheux. Sadly, Colin passed away last year – please see the Spring 2011 The Signal for Dick’s tribute to Colin.
Finally, as ever, Ted Mason continues to support us from the Trust, taking up various planning, security and facilities issues, and helping us with specialist advice to solve the problems with the structure of the signal box.