The Signal (archive)
These older newsletters can still be accessed:
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!
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.
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.
Issue 4, headlined by the plans for the re-opening celebrations on 17 October 1992.
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.
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.
Issue 7, reporting on the arrival of the Southern Railway meat containers from Timsbury for our new visitor centre, along with general progress.
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.
Issue 9, and a more optimistic tone, with a successful appeal to volunteers, an agreement with the school, and a new plan of action.
Issue 10, and the forthcoming 48-hour marathon operation of the box, together with a positive visit by the Building Preservation Trust committee.
Issue 11, reporting principally on the marathon operating weekend, and the arrival of the first two external painted display boards.
Issue 12, focusing on the work programme and future plans, and reporting on work on the signal box structure arranged by the Trust.
Issue 13, focusing on a 48-hour marathon at Exeter West box at Crewe, attended by four members of the Romsey team.
Issue 14, with news of the planned 150th Celebrations, and full details of the current work programme.
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.
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.
Issue 17, with news of the plan for a new lever frame for Cowley Bridge Junction, and observations about Open Days.
Issue 18, and the second crisis for the Project, with a lack of local active volunteers and an appeal for a new Project Manager.
Issue 19, and a more optimistic tone after crisis meetings with the school, the Trust, and members of the Friends.
Issue 20, and as Colin Meheux takes on the Project Manager role, an EGM reinvigorates the Project.
Issue 21, in a new format, produced by Colin Meheux.
Issue 22, back to Dick Hewett as editor, with the introduction of photos, including one of the new frame (finally installed in 2015!).
Issue 23, with news of the shed being acquired from a garden in Romsey, and an extensive AGM report.
Issue 24, focused on removal of the shed for use as the new pavilion (now the café).
Issue 25, almost exclusively devoted to the recent AGM.
Issue 26, the most serious crisis looms, and a full report of the consultation with the members.
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!
Issue 28, and with the future secured, and a new team developing, another 48-hour marathon is planned.
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.
Issue 30, the last on green paper as colour photos were about to start. Essentially a report of “slow progress” being maintained.
Issue 31, with news of celebrations planned for 2005 and the imminent closure of the school, and the 2004 AGM report.
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.
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 (!).
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.
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.
Issue 36, when founder Bill Tyndall left Romsey for pastures new, and much general progress was reported.
Issue 37, with further progress on many fronts, that year’s AGM minutes, and news about outline planning permission for the school site.
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.
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.
Issue 40, with an official VIP opening of the pavilion, the school demolished, AGM minutes and progress report, and further information about Exminster.
Issue 41, featuring the Chairman’s report, “Where now for the Signal box?”, and an article on West Moors Signal Box.
Issue 42, featuring the Chairman’s report, S&T news, and AGM minutes.
Issue 43, featuring the Chairman’s report, S&T news, a site report, an article entitled “30 years ago”, and a young members report.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Issue 54, with Chairman’s Report, updates on progress and plans, signalling on the LSWR, and the 10,000th visitor.
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.
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)