Mostly, railway signalling is an area of work - and therefore our working history, which was to a great extent 'hidden'. This was due to the necessity for a Signalman to work in uninterrupted concentration. Signalling has also been largely overlooked by railway preservationists, contemporary historians and railway researchers, who only seem to concentrate on the 'glamour' items such as locomotives.
Although 'traditional' signalling carried on in lever signal cabins has long since ceased here in Western Australia, we have already gathered information on many of these distinctive, yet long gone structures. Databases of photographs, signalling personnel and detailed studies of the cabins themselves are being undertaken. Other like-minded individuals both internationally and in other states of Australia have already banded together in similar pursuits. They have set up groups to expedite the research process in their areas. Here in Western Australia however, we seem to have a scarcity of persons interested in this facinating field of railway study. If you'd like to help in any way - we'd like to hear from you!
SignallingWA is privately funded and assisted by the Signalling Interest Group of Western Australia which unfortunately has a very small number of members. The joint aim is to research the signalling of the railways of Western Australia and restore whatever we can of the signalling equipment used in this state.
To date, much of our efforts have been directed towards the continued research of the Claremont Signal Cabin with activities centered around providing the best possible display of this cabin's equipment. On the first Saturday of each month we provide the interpretation 'guides' for the Claremont Cabin public open days.
Whilst initially researching only the Claremont Cabin, it soon became apparent that information on a great many signal cabins could be collected at the same time. To this end, SignallingWA has begun developing and maintaining, number of filing systems; databases and spreadsheets, both in hard copy, and on a personal computer. This ambitious project will, we hope, lead to the production of a comprehensive resource, detailing all of the signal cabins, signalling equipment and safe working / operational procedures in the state of Western Australia.
Some of our work is now available in book form thanks to SignallingWA. In the meantime, we continue to conduct public open days in the Claremont Signal Cabin to educate the public about how a Signalman worked and of course railway signalling - Western Australian style.
Our small group is fighting a battle against time with limited resources and too few members and we welcome any assistance in salvaging the knowledge from the past before it is lost forever.
CAN YOU HELP? Your information may be just the piece of information needed to fill in the all too many blanks in our state's signalling history.
We are looking for the following:
- Copies of "Driver's sketch" drawings, or 'Weekly Notice' Diagrams of Signalling of any W. A. station;
- Photographs of the Signalmen, Safeworking Technicians, Interlocking Fitters and / or Maintainers, Signals and Signal Cabins of Western Australia;
- Assistance with compilation, processing and archiving of data about Signalling;
- Donations of signalling artifacts, or even photographs of signalling items currently held in private collections;
- Anecdotal stories or reminiscences of former Signalmen, or others with interesting stories to relate about signalling;
- Assistance with restoring equipment and artifacts already 'saved from the scrapyard'.
- All information and assistance forthcoming will be duly acknowledged, and will be gratefully appreciated.
The information used in the interpretation of the history of Signal Cabins featured in the Archive Pages may not yet be complete. From time to time, and sometimes as a result of a cabin being featured, additional information is subsequently submitted - in fact, this is actively encouraged. Needless to say that some of this information may not necessarily be reflected in the official signal cabin record cards to hand.
Whilst we strive to portray the signal cabins of Western Australia in as much detail as we can, we welcome any additional information which increases the accuracy of our presentations. Such is the lot of any work in progress.
A word on Copyright:
It is not our intent to infringe existing copyright on any existing work. Therefore, suppliers of any information will be required to state (in writing or via e-mail), their relationship to the material supplied, and where the material is not the copyright of the supplier, the name of the copyright holder - or the source (provided this is known) must be provided.
Photographs used on this site and in print:
My thanks are extended to fellow railway fans, signallling enthusiasts and groups such as Rail Heritage WA Archives, who have supported the original S. I. G. W. A. website over the years with photographs. Many 'new' photographs have recently become available, and when such photos have signalling interest I hope to showcase them here. Whilst these photos will be made available on this site (with the owners consent) the new photos appearing on this site will not be present in the original publication "Signal Cabins in Western Australia" by Chris. J. E. French.
A little about location Mileages:
The mileages used on these pages are, unless stated to the contrary, taken from the "Railway Map of Western Australia - 1938" produced by the Western Australian Government Railways a copy of which can be obtained from the Rail Heritage WA Museum Shop.
A little about location co-ordinates:
The co-ordinates used in the Signal Cabin pages, and elsewhere on this site are taken primarily from Google Maps combined with visual clues based on personal rememberances, and in some cases using data from a Navman N40i GPS unit taken on field trips to known locations.
In providing the pages on this website, I hope to make it informative, especially to those who may not have had prior knowledge of railway signalling, yet with enough interest for signalling enthusiasts as well.
It is my hope that with your help, SignallingWA will enable a concise history of signalling to be compiled, and due recognition will be given to those supplying information, which may be used in future publications. Can YOU help?
Chris. J. E. French