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Saturday, 14 June 2014

Ding Ding; Romsey Signalbox crew Entering Section

Today, the friends of Romsey signal box were let loose around England as they went on their first ever social day trip to visit other preserved signal boxes. Friends on the trip were:
  • David Trewern
  • Keith Phillips
  • Gavin Brooker
  • Jamie Brooker
  • Peter Chatfield (joined us at Ropley)
  • Janet Payne
  • Ben Cook
  • Tom
  • Roger Pleasant
  • Dick Hewett (who kindly provided transport)

The day started by the members meeting just outside Romsey/getting picked up on our way out as we headed for our first signal box of the day, Ropley on the Mid Hants line, we were to meet Peter there as he had come down on the train. When we arrived, we were greeted by Jim Russell, Distric Inspector from the organisation. He took us up into the box and answered any of our questions alongside the signalman working the box. We had talks about the progress of signalling on the line, near feature advancements of Ropley signal box, and anything else we wanted to know about the signalling of the line and general discussion on mainline signalling.

Once we had been into the box and got in the way of the signalman a couple of times, we had to tear
ourselves away from the excitement of an actual working box and proceed to our next location, St Albans signal box.

Like Romsey, St Albans is a preserved signal box that runs simulations, the only difference is, they are very close to the main line (and very, very fast trains!!). They gave us a tour of their site and showed us how they worked their open days. We were very impressed by their extensive collection of signalling artefacts and  all the demonstration material they had in their visitor centre: token block demonstration, communication demonstration, upper/lower quadrant demo, e.t.c.

After having a look around and some of the members (mostly Jamie) having a play on some of the ground frames and demonstration material in the bottom of the box (their visitor centre) we were allowed upstairs to see the business end of things.

Once up there we were given information on the box and its workings, followed by a simulation. After this, the members were let loose on the frame. Jamie was volunteered to go first, and... broke the simulator. After resolving the problem, other members had goes working the frame and learning about the box. At the end, Jamie had another go at the frame, and broke it again (this time it was not his fault, it was a frequently reoccurring problem, so we let him off).

Overall, a very good day was had by all. Ideas on modification to Romsey box/how we run open days were suggested and it has given us some good things to go away and think about.

Please follow the link here for St Albans website

 Photos from today;

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