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Thursday, 21 May 2020

Latest news!

Inside the new building
The site may be closed to the public during the Coronavirus pandemic, but exciting developments continue behind the scenes at Romsey Signal Box.  Our new education centre is well on the way to completion, with the target of having it available to visitors soon after the eventual re-opening of the local attraction.

The new building has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (£10,000) and Test Valley Borough Council (£6,000), with further support from Hampshire County and Romsey Town Councils.  The application to funders was fully supported by the headteachers of both Romsey Abbey Primary School and Romsey School, after a visit by teachers identified a wealth of opportunities for learning around the site.

Looking from the entrance through to the exit
The eventual opening of the education building will at last fulfill the original aims of the project when it started in the early 1980s.  When the signal box in Romsey was closed in October 1982, Audrey Gebbie, the headteacher of the neighboring Romsey Infants School, suggested saving the signal box as an educational resource. Unfortunately the arrival of the box in 1987 coincided with the introduction of the new National Curriculum, and the signal box did not then fit any of the syllabus.  However changes to the National Curriculum over the years have now made the signal box much more relevant, and we have been delighted to have constructed this building which is now being fitted out with a range of railway equipment which can be investigated by visitors of all ages.  Local schools will be invited to use the facilities, with the assistance of our volunteers.

In tandem with the new building, the we will also be opening a new garden railway, where children can watch "James the Red Engine" and other trains in action.  Visitors who haven’t been for some time will be surprised at all the new attractions.

Dick Hewett says: “It has taken us many years to get to this stage, but the effort has been worthwhile.  I know Audrey Gebbie herself will be delighted with news of the latest developments.”

Jamie Brooker says: "We all look forward to being able to get back to the signal box allowing work to continue. We won't be able to open to the public until restrictions are suitably relaxed. Social distancing would be a difficult problem to overcome in the signal box as space is limited so we think it could be a while before we see any open days.

Stay home and stay safe everyone"
To get your regular dose of signal box action, be sure to follow us on twitter and like us on Facebook. We will be posting lots of new content in the near future

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

New building update

In December of  last year, our new education building was erected on site. Since then work has progressed steadily to wire up, insulate and line out the building. Today we took a step closer to finishing the interior work as we completed boarding the walls and progressed onto the ceiling. This should be completed over the next few weeks when we can start to add the quadrant and trim to make good the joins between the boards before painting begins.

In the background, work continues to make the displays that will go in the building to engage and educate our visitors. The space will be divided into two, the first half of the building will house displays about interlocking, train detection and mechanical signals. There will also be a fully signalled model railway showing visitors what the driver sees and also a selection of videos which visitors can choose.

In the other half of the building will be a display showing two neighbouring signal boxes allowing members of the public to observe the communications between signal boxes and see how trains are passed between different signalmen.

Be sure to keep a lookout for further updates and progress reports!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Recent Review

Although our website has been down for a couple of days, we've recently received some really positive feedback though our Facebook page. You can read the review left by Railway Reviewer at the link below:

Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get notified about developments and progress happening at the signal box.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018


We hold our regular open days on the first Sunday and third Saturday of the month, entrance fees apply. In addition to this, we will be open on the 15th and 16th of September 2018 in association with the heritage open days. On this weekend there will be free entry for all! That's free entry on the 15th and 16th of September, all the usual demonstrations and talks will be going on, and of course our cafe will be open to provide drinks and light refreshments.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Book Launch

The latest news is the announcement of this book launch and signing that will take place at the signal box in May.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Recent works

Wednesday is workday at the signal box and this week was a hive of activity.

First of all Colin was finishing the work he started clearing the canal bank giving passers by a better view of the signal box. Its taken him three or four weeks to complete this work so its not been an easy task. Well don Colin, on with your next job...

Dave has started to repaint the back door to the pavilion as its paint was all cracked and flaking. The sanding down and priming stages have been started so hopefully this will keep moving at a speedy rate.

Keith is working on the level crossing gates and posts. He has already completed one pair of the gates/posts and is cracking on with the second pair.

Future development plans for the area behind the pavilion are starting to move forwards, so we realised we'd need to relocate the picnic bench that was living there. We decided a sensible location was by the bufferstops cafe to provide additional outdoor seating. So Jamie made a start making a pathway to the new location.

Adrian has recently been working in restoring the signal arms around the site and once he'd done all the painting he could for the day, he joined Jamie in laying the slabs for the bench. At the end of the day the task was nearly complete, there's just one more row of slabs to go in to allow a bit more space for the users.

The observant among you may have noticed that we've removed a fair bit of turf from the garden area. To make use of this, we have located some of it behind the pavilion where there will eventually be a members mess hut. This will provide the setting for a small garden to make the place a bit nicer for our volunteers. The slabs you can see will be the foundations for the mess hut and no, there will not be a swimming pool in the middle. We just need to finish the paving.

Alan has also been helping out around the site mostly with the gardens. His latest addition was the donation of this plant which has been planted around the back of the large sheds. He has also spent time to nicely frame this with some of the leftover paving stones.

 Also in this picture you can see our 'new' (second hand) compost bins. Slightly more attractive than the compost heap and so it tidy's up this part of the site.

We'll next be open Saturday the 15th so you can come from 12:00-16:00 to see all theses changes for yourself!

If you feel like getting involved then contact us for more information. There's always something that needs doing at the signal box.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017


On the 15th March we took delivery of the new tables and chairs for the cafe.

They look very smart and give a much more professional look to the cafe.

When we have the volunteer's "mess hut" I should be able to really sort out the cafe and make it so much more inviting.  Anyone who has visited will know that it's only a very small area, but with proper organisation it's surprising what you can do.

On your next visit please call in.  We have a great range of hot and cold drinks, light snacks and home made cakes, all at fantastic value for money.