The famous Cowley Bridge Junction near Exeter was chosen as the basis for a miniature signal box because it offers intensive working over a track layout that is interesting without being too large or complicated. Capable of being transported, Cowley Bridge comprises three parts:

  • The miniature lever frame
  • A full-size block shelf with all its instruments
  • A simulator computer that imitates the neighbouring boxes, and enables the operator to exchange messages with them.

After more than 10 years of work to update and replace the Cowley Bridge exhibit, we were delighted to mark the re-opening of the Romsey Signal Box site in September 2015 with the first demonstrations of the new equipment. Now set up in its own building on the Signal Box site, the vastly improved lever frame and associated equipment can be used by our experienced operators to show how real signalmen control the passage of trains. Although currently a static exhibit at the site, we hope that we will soon be able to take this to model railway exhibitions and railway preservation events to get another generation of people interested in railway signalling and act as an ambassador for the overall Romsey Signal Box project.

A history of involvement in Cowley Bridge

Our member Alan Johnston recounts the history of Cowley Bridge signal box, and in particular his interest in it, which led to him taking a leading role in upgrading the simulation which can be seen at Romsey. This was published in two parts (in Feb and May 2021), which have been combined together in this document.