If horse racing is the sport of Kings, then it is fair to say that, historically, equine Australian Republicans have been a scarce breed. Australians have been among the most enthusiastic of equine monarchists, and to a 19th Century Antipodean, the presence of a racecourse in a town was as much a symbol of civilization as a post office, municipal chambers and a hotel.
Bayswater was opened as a junction intermittently to allow for race traffic: the 1896 Rule Book and Appendix providing that the Eastern Railway from Perth was normally worked Perth – Guildford, with the sections Perth - Bayswater and Bayswater - Guildford substituted to allow for race trains to travel to and from the branch.
What signalling arrangements graced Belmont in the first half decade of its existence is not entirely clear. The Weekly Notices record that in December 1902, a Down Home signal, , a Down Distant signal and an Up Advanced Starting signal were installed. The installation of an Advanced Starting signal suggests that a Starting signal was already in existence at the time. - however one cannot be too dogmatic in this assumption. Late 19th Century Western Australian Railway signalling practices were at times unusual, and one cannot blithely assume that the existence of an Advanced Starting signal was predicated by the existence of a matching Starter. In any event, the signals were operated from a ground frame at the Perth end of the platform. The station was not interlocked, and this was to be the subject of criticism over the next two decades.
Article researched and interpreted by Justin Smith © 2016
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