East Avon was a temporary signal cabin provided during the construction of the Standard and Narrow Gauge facilities at the then new Avon Yard marshalling yard complex. Unlike other "temporary" signal cabins, East Avon did live up to it's role, lasting a mere six months, and together with West Avon had possibly the shortest working lives of any fixed signal cabins in Western Australia.
East Avon signal cabin was situated on the new "Avon Valley" dual-gauge route between East Northam and Bellevue which opened on 13/02/1966. On that date most of the old "Eastern Railway" between East Northam and Bellevue was abandoned in favour of the new, more easily graded dual gauge line which for the most part followed the course of the Avon River.
(Editor's Note: Western Australians pronounce the name Avon with a 'hard' A - and therefore not the same as the English river of the same name.)
This 1966 view of the East Avon Signal Cabin was taken from the back platform of a narrow gauge train from East Northam en route to Central Avon and then West Avon. Note the recently hewn rock cutting and the lamp porter (or photographer?) atop No. 2 Up Home Signal.
Upon opening of East Avon, this signal cabin became the Junction of the Eastern Goldfields Railway and the Great Southern Railway and replaced Spencers Brook in this role.
Both East Avon and West Avon worked with a location within the Avon Yard complex called Central Avon, however this was merely an "Auxiliary Staff Cabin" with no full-time Signalman appointed. Further afield though, West Avon controlled the entrance to, and exit from, the dual gauge double line to Bellevue. East Avon worked to East Northam on the Eastern Goldfields Railway and Spring Hill on the Great Southern Railway.
The Supplement to Weekly Notice No. 4 of 1966 states:
Avon Yard - East Northam - Spring Hill Signalling. Temporary Signalling will be brought into use between the Western entrance to Avon Yard through to East Northam and Spring Hill.
Signal Boxes have been erected at the Western and Eastern Entrances to Avon Yard, the one at the Western entrance being known as WEST AVON and the one at the Eastern entrance being known as EAST AVON. The narrow gauge main line between WEST AVON and EAST AVON will be single line working under Electric Staff Block Regulations, miniature staff, Colour, RED."
Railway Signal Company 'miniature' instruments were used, and, as there was a set of staff locked points which gave access to the Narrow Gauge 'Up Arrival' line at Central Avon, an Auxilliary Instrument was positioned in the Auxiliary Staff Cabin there.
Page 5 of the Supplement to Weekly Notice No. 4 of 1966 adds:
"Duplicate staff instruments are provided at EAST AVON and also in the auxiliary staff cabin at CENTRAL AVON. These duplicate staff instruments are out of phase so that only one staff can be obtained from all the staff instruments for the section at the one time."
The same system of Duplicate staff instruments was used for the section between East Avon and Spring Hill for the intermediate staff locked points leading to the Old Northam Yard and Loco depot.
Page 6 of the Supplement to Weekly Notice No. 4 of 1966 cites:
"The points leading from the G. S. R. Main line between East AVON and SPRING HILL into the old Northam Yard and Loco. are staff locked. Duplicate staff instruments are provided at EAST AVON and also in the auxiliary staff cabin located adjacent to the points. These duplicate staff instruments are out of phase so that only one staff can be obtained from all the staff instruments for the section at the one time."
Perhaps the most interesting arrangement for train working fell to the lot of the Signalman in East Avon signal cabin. In addition to the main, and auxiliary, miniature RED staff instruments to West Avon, & Central Avon, respectively - and the main, and auxiliary, miniature GREEN staff instruments to Spring Hill, & the auxiliary staff cabin at the entrance to the old Northam Yard and Loco. respectively, there was also a miniature BLUE instrument for the section East Avon to East Northam and a Winter's two-position Block to East Northam. The miniature BLUE instrument was used to control Up and Down Standard guage train movements and Narrow guage Up train movements, whilst the Winter's two-position Block instrument was used to contol only narrow gauge Down train movements. As can be imagined, the East Avon Signalman had to really have his wits about him!
East Avon signal cabin was closed on the 14/08/1966 with the opening of the Avon Yard Panel situated atop the newly constructed Yard Master's building. The fate of the East Avon signal cabin is unknown.
Editor's note: At this point in time, no photos are available of the interior of East Avon signal cabin - the Editor would be most interested to hear from anyone who can furnish these photos or other pieces of information as they will be most welcome). Please use the e-mail form provided on this page.
Information researched and interpreted by Chris. J. E. French of SignallingWA
Photographs © by Chris French and K. Raynes courtesy of RHWA Archives (image T2386) and Diagram of Signalling and Photograph © by W. A. G. R. Circa 1966.
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EAST AVON Employees
|This list may not be complete and does not yet include employees who worked here without being appointed|