Jump to: <The Signal (our Newsletter)> === <Guide Book (2004)> === <Current publications>

The Signal (archive)

These older newsletters can still be accessed:

Feb 1991
Issue 1: Even if you don’t read any other issues, read this first one! A superb initial edition with hand-drawn illustrations, describing the purpose of the newsletter, what the Project is, what schools will get out of it, funders, a history of the project to that date, future plans, the original Cowley Bridge Junction miniature box, training sessions, the Transport Committee and the project team, a list of organisations who had helped to that date, and a calendar of events, indicating that there were already two teams ready to operate Cowley Bridge! It is fascinating to read this first edition now and see how much has been achieved, what still hasn’t been achieved, and how things have panned out differently. Even if you don’t read any other issues, read this first one!

Jul 1991
Issue 2, with a report on progress, including the open evening with VIPs in June 1991, and a justification for the restoration of the box to its current state.

Mar 1992
Issue 3, with a report on the first public opening in September 1991, more progress reports, and an impressive list of events for Cowley Bridge Junction to attend.

Sept 1992
Issue 4, headlined by the plans for the re-opening celebrations on 17 October 1992.

Mar 1993
Issue 5, with the full report of the re-opening celebrations, and the news that the box will be opened regularly on the first Sunday every month from April to October.

Feb 1994
Issue 6, with the launch of the Friends of Romsey Signal Box, news of the use of the waiting room at Romsey Station for Cowley Bridge Junction, a celebration for Audrey Gebbie’s retirement as headteacher, and a visit by Eric Romaine, the foreman of the demolition gang.

Jun 1994
Issue 7, reporting on the arrival of the Southern Railway meat containers from Timsbury for our new visitor centre, along with general progress.

Dec 1994
Issue 8, and the first crisis for the project, with major relationship issues with the school and volunteers moving on: a host of issues are detailed.

Mar 1995
Issue 9, and a more optimistic tone, with a successful appeal to volunteers, an agreement with the school, and a new plan of action.

Jun 1995
Issue 10, and the forthcoming 48-hour marathon operation of the box, together with a positive visit by the Building Preservation Trust committee.

Sept 1995
Issue 11, reporting principally on the marathon operating weekend, and the arrival of the first two external painted display boards.

Feb 1996
Issue 12, focusing on the work programme and future plans, and reporting on work on the signal box structure arranged by the Trust.

Jun 1996
Issue 13, focusing on a 48-hour marathon at Exeter West box at Crewe, attended by four members of the Romsey team.

Sept 1996
Issue 14, with news of the planned 150th Celebrations, and full details of the current work programme.

Jan 1997
Issue 15, detailing plans for the 150th Celebrations as well as reports on visits to Crewe (with Cowley Bridge) and the Hillside Railway at Emery Down.

May 1997
Issue 16, focusing on the 150th Celebrations on 1st March, as well as the new guide book being prepared. The old container van opened as our display area.

Nov 1997
Issue 17, with news of the plan for a new lever frame for Cowley Bridge Junction, and observations about Open Days.

Feb 1998
Issue 18, and the second crisis for the Project, with a lack of local active volunteers and an appeal for a new Project Manager.

Mar 1998
Issue 19, and a more optimistic tone after crisis meetings with the school, the Trust, and members of the Friends.

Oct 1998
Issue 20, and as Colin Meheux takes on the Project Manager role, an EGM reinvigorates the Project.

May 1999
Issue 21, in a new format, produced by Colin Meheux.

Nov 1999
Issue 22, back to Dick Hewett as editor, with the introduction of photos, including one of the new frame (finally installed in 2015!).

Mar 2000
Issue 23, with news of the shed being acquired from a garden in Romsey, and an extensive AGM report.

Nov 2000
Issue 24, focused on removal of the shed for use as the new pavilion (now the café).

Mar 2001
Issue 25, almost exclusively devoted to the recent AGM.

Feb 2002
Issue 26, the most serious crisis looms, and a full report of the consultation with the members.

Oct 2002
Issue 27, and the crisis is at its height, with the potential plan for the signal box to go to Swanage, but an Extraordinary General Meeting resolves that the box should stay. Romsey Town Council had hosted a public meeting, generating 8 new volunteers; and several new members were attracted through the Signalling Record Society, including a future Chairman. A momentous turning point, from which we have never looked back!

May 2003
Issue 28, and with the future secured, and a new team developing, another 48-hour marathon is planned.

Nov 2003
Issue 29, and news of our first Heritage Lottery Grant for £4,500, towards the construction of a disability-friendly pavilion. Also a report on the 48-hour marathon, and a comment that work had stopped on the new Cowley Bridge due to other pressures. The first news about the St Albans box project appears.

May 2004
Issue 30, the last on green paper as colour photos were about to start. Essentially a report of “slow progress” being maintained.

Dec 2004
Issue 31, with news of celebrations planned for 2005 and the imminent closure of the school, and the 2004 AGM report.

Nov 2005
Issue 32, and “All Change!” with a new Chairman. The previous Chairman reviews his 16 years in charge, and there is more positive news for the future. Quentin Meheux had almost single-handedly completed the building of the pavilion.

Mar 2006
Issue 33, when the pavilion structure was nearing completion, the new corporate sweatshirts were available, and it was reported that we were unlikely to see the new Cowley Bridge completed and running until 2007 (!).

Jul 2006
Issue 34, with some people changes, as Dick Hewett was honoured to be made President (for life?), a new Membership Secretary as part of a restructuring of the committee, and the signal box electrics started to be logged and improved.

Dec 2006
Issue 35, when we welcomed our 5000th visitor, the Trust had new steps installed, the display boards were moved into the pavilion from the container van, and a comprehensive report on the signal box electrics.

Apr 2007
Issue 36, when founder Bill Tyndall left Romsey for pastures new, and much general progress was reported.

Aug 2007
Issue 37, with further progress on many fronts, that year’s AGM minutes, and news about outline planning permission for the school site.

Dec 2007
Issue 38, when the Trust added a second skin to the outside of the signal box. Ex-signalman Ron Bevan was filmed for TV on the site. Young members were shown operating the frame and simulator.

May 2008
Issue 39, and the final completion of the visitor pavilion with all it’s “permanent” displays (since removed!), paving slabs requisitioned from the school as it finally closed, signals moved around the site, and a long feature about the ultimately abortive scheme to save Exminster signal box.

Dec 2008
Issue 40, with an official VIP opening of the pavilion, the school demolished, AGM minutes and progress report, and further information about Exminster.

Spring 2009
Issue 41, featuring the Chairman’s report, “Where now for the Signal box?”, and an article on West Moors Signal Box.

Autumn 2009
Issue 42, featuring the Chairman’s report, S&T news, and AGM minutes.

Spring 2010
Issue 43, featuring the Chairman’s report, S&T news, a site report, an article entitled “30 years ago”, and a young members report.

Autumn 2010
Issue 44, featuring a the Chairman’s report, an article entitled “The Celebration”, S&T and site reports, an article about Southampton area level crossings, and an article about Moors Valley.

Spring 2011
Issue 45, Featuring a tribute to Colin Meheux, a Chairman’s report, a site safety announcement, S&T, site and young members reports, and articles on G W S R Signalling and the Romsey Model Show.

Autumn 2011
Issue 46, Featuring a Chairman’s report, Heritage Open Days, Site, Younger Members and S&T Reports, finishing with an article about “Romsey of Yesterday”. The container van had gone to the MidHants, and the project received the Romsey Town Environmental Award.

Spring 2012
Issue 47, featuring a Chairman’s report, membership news, site, S&T and young members reports, information on Maintenance and the finances, and two articles on “Southern Counties” and “Romsey of yesterday”.

Autumn 2012
Issue 48, featuring a Chairman’s report, membership news, site maintenance, and an S&T report, information on the finances including our charitable status for Gift Aid donations, and articles on the visit to Romsey Signal Box of the friends of King Alfred buses and the forthcoming signalling gala on the Exeter West box at Crewe.

Spring 2013
Issue 49, featuring the special celebration event marking the 20th anniversary of our opening and a report on two busy days in March associated with the Romsey Model Railway Exhibition, as well as the regular Chairman’s report, membership news, site maintenance, an S&T report and information on how to donate or renew membership using on-line banking.

Special 50th Edition – Feb 2014
Issue 50, featuring the regular Chairman’s report, membership news, site development and maintenance news, and an S&T report, as well as a housing development update, group visit reports, an article on Unconsidered History and some hi-lights from some early editions of ‘The Signal’. AGM minutes are also included in this edition.

Aug 2014
Issue 51, featuring good news about progress with the “Cowley Bridge” roving exhibit, a report on the visit to St Albans and the second part of the “Unconsidered History” of the Southern Railway, looking at aspects not normally thought about, along with the regular Chairman’s report, membership news, site development and maintenance news. AGM 2014 minutes are also included in this edition.

April 2015
Issue 52, featuring celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Sprat & Winkle line and the new Heritage Lottery Funded building for the completed Cowley Bridge Junction, new arrangements for visitors, the development of Brick Lane, a visit to the Swanage Railway, and the railways around Bideford.

January 2016
Issue 53, with the grand opening of the new Cowley Bridge building and the site on a more regular basis, and site, S&T and publicity reports.

June 2016
Issue 54, with Chairman’s Report, updates on progress and plans, signalling on the LSWR, and the 10,000th visitor.

June 2017
Issue 55, featuring Chairman’s Report, further updates on the site, S&T, and maintenance, and a visit by members of the Swindon Panel Group.

Feb 2020
After a long break in production of newsletters, a new editor is appointed. Issue 56 has an editorial from new editor, plus an update on events and progress on site..

May 2020
Issue 57. This issue leads with the frustration of having to close down activities in response to the start of the Coronavirus shut-down in the UK. It includes a tribute to the late Ted Mason, and news from another signalbox preservation group who were able to help Network Rail re-certify staff as signallers to cover shortages caused by people isolating owing to the virus.

August 2020
Issue 58. Primarily dealing with the plans for reopening the site in line with the current Covid-19 control measures, this also highlights some of the work undertaken at the site to improve the facilities over the past few months.

November 2020
Issue 59. This covers the AGM of the Friends and the successful reopening to the public in September 2020. Also included is a two-page article on signalling at Ilfracombe Please note that the link on page 7 to the GDPR policy for members is broken, so you can CLICK HERE to download it.

February 2021
Issue 60. This is an update on what had been able to take place during the periods of lockdown. The newsletter references a supplement describing part 1 of the history of Cowley Bridge which now has been combined with part 2 and can be found on the Cowley Bridge page of this website.

May 2021
Issue 61. This gives details of the reopening of the Signal Box site from June 2021 and of other related attractions. There’s details of an urgent repair being undertaken on the steps to the operating floor. We also have some recollections of the late Peter Jordan who had been instrumental in the work of restoring Exeter West signal box at Crewe. The newsletter references a second supplement describing the history of the Cowley Bridge simulation which has been combined with part 1 describing the original box and can be found on the Cowley Bridge page of this website.

August 2021
Issue 62. The previous issue had reported problems with the stairs but this issue opens with news they have been completely replaced. There’s also positive news about the reopening including a record attendance in one day at the site. We’ve acquired some extra signalling equipment to add to our exhibits over the next few months. Finally volunteer Dave Trewern gives an insight into the running of the café and we acknowledge the support given by two other stalwarts, David & Marion Canning.

November 2021
Issue 63. Featuring an appropriately wintery view of the signalbox site, this edition reports on the successful reopening of the visitor attraction in the second half of the year. With membership numbers at a recent high (and with several new young members) there are extra volunteering opportunities described, and with the re-introduction of the “Knowing Me, Knowing You” feature we find out about two of these younger members. The newsletter also contains the minutes of our AGM where (amongst other things) revisions to our relationship with the Romsey Buildings Heritage Trust (with consequences for our Constitution) were discussed.


Guide Book (2004)

This was produced in 2004 before some of the current buildings and facilities on our site were introduced, but most of what it includes remains relevant.
Guide Book (2004)