You can find out how the basic signalling apparatus of the early railways, evolved into the mechanical signalboxes, such as Radstock North Box and Frome Mineral Junction Cabin, on our Branch Line, and then into electrically operated systems, powerboxes and ultimately computer controlled signalling centres. The Signalling Centre offers hands-on opportunities to try some of this equipment out for yourself.
During your visit you can:
On certain selected days, there's also a chance to get hands on and control trains on a virtual Great Western main line using the restored ‘Swindon Panel’. The equipment was installed in the 1960s to replace the steam age signalling in use until then and has been saved and restored by members of the Swindon Panel Society. They will be pleased to show you how to control the trains on a 40-mile stretch of the Great Western main line and let you have a go! (on other days the panel can be viewed as a 'museum exhibit' in a 'glass case'!)
Forthcoming Swindon Panel operating days are:
As well as the Signalling Centre, there are two restored signalboxes, from Frome Mineral Junction and Radstock North, at the Centre. These help control the trains on the Branch Line and are occasionally open for visitors.