Swindon Panel Society and Didcot Railway Centre help Network Rail during Coronavirus Crisis

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Credit: Didcot Railway Centre

The Didcot Railway Centre and the Swindon Panel Society have announced that they are helping Network Rail during the Coronavirus period.

The two charities have made their signalling facilities available to enable Network Rail to prepare a train service delivery in the event of a shortage of regular signallers.

Former Network Rail signallers started a series of refresher courses on 31 March using the preserved Swindon Panel, which is found at the 21-acre Didcot Railway Centre.

The Panel was used to control trains on the Great Western mainline from 1968 until 2016 when it was bought by Swindon Panel Society and restored as part of the Didcot Railway Centre’s Signalling Centre.

The simulator equipment was installed by volunteers to ensure the panels controls work exactly as they did when in service and means that Network Rail trainers can use the panel to simulate various scenarios including signal failures, train breakdowns, signals passed at danger and rescuing failed trains.

You can see our full Coronavirus coverage here

What did the officials say?

Danny Scroggins, Swindon Panel Society Chairman said

“We are delighted that we have been able to help out Network Rail at these unprecedented times”.

DRC’s Chief Executive, Emma Jhita, added

“It’s brilliant the Panel has proved such a useful resource for the re-training and upskilling of additional Network Rail staff – a real credit to the volunteers and the remarkable restoration work they have done.  It is particularly rewarding that the Centre can make a positive contribution during this time that we are unfortunately closed to the public.”

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