Wagga Wagga, and Bomen Signal boxes
The signal box, as the name suggests, is associated with the signalling. Its purpose though is to control the operation of trains through the station in a safe manner. It does that by interlocking the signals, pointwork, and controlling the access of trains onto the mainline and branchline with staffs or tokens
Both Wagga Wagga, and Bomen stations had signal boxes. These boxes lasted until 1983, when they were removed after the introduction of CTC.
|Wagga Wagga signal box|
|Original Wagga diagram, as displayed by the Wagga Wagga Rail Heritage Museum|
The main Wagga box was a standard design skillion roofed structure, although much extended than most on the NSWGR railway system. Excellent drawings of this general design are on Greg Edwards Data Sheet S3 – Platform signal boxes 1913. As I have been unable to find the exact dimensions, I have guesstimated the size from photos. Inside the box, there was a signal diagram, a blockshelf containing the repeater indicators, a number (3) staff instruments, a large lever frame, phone, plus heater, desk, chair, and other furniture. It is with much regret that I never managed to look inside the Wagga signal box, as I have only found one inside photo.
|.tif diagram of Wagga Wagga in 1941 - on the ARHS Signal Diagram CD ROM|
|Bomen Station, looking north towards Shepherds Siding. The signalbox looks like a standard platform box|
|Signal box diagram as it appeared inside the signal box. Picture from the internet|
|.tif diagram of Bomen dated 1952 (taken from the ARHS Signal diagram CD ROM)|
|A miniature "C" pattern staff from my own collection. Station names were stamped on each side, along with the pattern letter. This particular staff was previously used in Queensland, but the design was identical to NSW|
|A selection of block shelf instruments again from my own collection|
|Another trinket in my collection. The lever frame plate is solid brass, and often polished.|
|Inside Harden North signal box, during an ARHS tour in the 1990s. The white levers indicates that the levers have been taken out of service|
The lever frame at Wagga could accommodate 56 levers – although the reality was by 1983, only 41 levers remained functional. 2 others were painted white (out of use/spare), and the rest had either been removed, or never installed.
note: the model is scaled approximately 1:10 scale, although the spacing between the levers is greater than the prototypes approx 5” spacing to accommodate the 1:1 scale operators hands.
The first model constructed specific for my Wagga layout was a 56 lever cam and tappet frame. This was built over a few years when I was living in Queanbeyan, with guidance from Tony Kociuba (Mackenzie in H.O.Lland) . http://www.mckenzies.net.au/index.htm My frame is not yet completed. It has provision for mechanical interlocking just like the prototype (and I will spare you the details – it is not for the faint hearted. If you are interested, the “links” from the H.O.Lland web site has some excellent examples). At the rear of the frame, I also need to install electrical slide switches, which will activate the servo motors for the signals and pointwork. Tony recommended that I install all levers, just in case I needed some extra functions later.
The Bomen frame was a more modest 20 levers, and whilst I do not have a frame built, I may commission Dale Richards to build it for me. The other aspect of interest is the “staff exchange platform” – which was used by the signalman to exchange staffs giving permission to the train driver to enter the next section of line. In my operation, I hope to employ staff working over the Murrumbidgee River bridge
I have made a start on constructing the Bomen signal box. More details in a future blog post. But here is a teaser picture
|The 4 walls for Bomen Signal Box, and some scratchbuilt windows|
If you have read this far, and are wanting far more information on signal boxes, may I recommend that you contact Bob Taaffe. Bob Taaffe has done a number of presentations at the Modelling the Railways of NSW, and is extremely knowledgeable about NSW signal boxes, and workings. Bob is currently about to publish (in 4 volumes) a comprehensive guide to signal boxes throughout NSW. He is presently taking orders for the first volume, but you will need to be quick, as the cutoff is July 1st 2019. Bob is self publishing the book, so it is unlikely that the book will be re-run. Price including postage was $110. Contact Bob at email@example.com
Whilst on many home layouts, the signal box is an interesting piece of architecture, I am hoping to use them in a very prototypical manner.