Chidlow - SignallingWA

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Chidlow

Signal Cabins in WA

CHIDLOW

WAGR - Eastern Railway (E. R.)

1938 WAGR MAP Mileage = 27

Lat: 31.863073 S

Long:  116.266701 E

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BEECHINA

MT HELENA

Quick Facts

Opened

Closed

1901

1966

Mechanical

Electrical

30 Levers

Illuminated Diagram

Demolished - Site is part of Railway Reserves Trail


Chidlow signal cabin was situated on the Eastern Railway between Lion Mill (later named Mount Helena) and Wooroloo on the eastern side of the Darling Range.


Signals were first used here prior to 1898 and interlocking was installed on 14th October 1901. The station was originally know as Chidlow's Well, the name given to the location when William Chidlow sank a well for those travelling along the then dirt track to Northam. In 1919, the name was requested to be altered slightly by local residents who wished the name Chidlows, the matter was settled by the Under Secretary of Lands removing the 's' - hence the final name of Chidlow was bestowed in 1920. This photo shows a view of the Chidlow Signal Cabin after closure of the old Eastern line, and unfortunately after much vandalism. The Signal Cabin was very much a 'standard' W. A. G. R. design but one can see where the cabin was extended (on the left hand side in the above view). The extension was necessary when the lever frame was expanded to 40 levers in 1950.

The railway through Chidlow was originally built as a single line, worked under the rules governing the "Electric Train Staff system". The Appendix to the Working Timetable of 1901 reveals that the Staff for section Lion Mill (later named M
ount Helena) to Chidlow (27miles 23 chains) was coloured RED with a Round shaped head, whilst the Staff for the section Chidlow to Wooroloo was coloured BLUE with an Oblong shaped head. At this time, only the Large Staff instruments were in use.


Following the Eastern Railway duplication through Chidlow's Well in 1904, Winter's Block instruments were used. An example of one of these instruments which had been used on the line can be seen affixed to the wall in the nearby Chidlow Hotel. The Hotel overlooks a grassed park which was once the station site.









Virtually nothing of the station remains today. Between 1926 and 1928 the method of operating trains through Chidlow changed with the introduction of Automatic signalling. This involved replacing the lower quadrant 'Up' (No. 8) and 'Down' (No. 26) Main Line Advance Starting signals with three position upper quadrant semaphore signals which worked as 'Semi-Automatic' signals.

With the diversion of rail traffic to the Avon Valley Route, the record card shows that on the 13th of February 1966 the station was closed and deleted. The card file was additionally endorsed that all material was to be removed. Evidently, this did not happen for some time as this photo of the interior of the Chidlows Signal Cabin clearly shows its condition well after closure and the seemingly inevitable vandalism. Despite this, it would seem that the levers were still workable!


Train crews at Chidlow always had to be mindful of the balanced catch points situated on the Down Main line as these were not worked by the signalman. In regard to these points the 1922 General Appendix cites: "...Runaway Catch Points exist midway between Nos. 15 and 20 points on the Down Main Line to protect the traffic in the rear in the event of a breakaway of a Goods train when standing on Down Main. A Point Indicator works in conjunction with blade and only exhibits a target or light for a train setting back in the wrong direction. These points are independent, and not controlled by Signalmen in any way..."
further adding "...Setting back on the Main Line in the direction of Lion Mill should, as far as practicable, be avoided. When it is necessary to dispose of a train from the Down road, it should be drawn forward, or set back into the dead end siding through 15 and 17 points..."


This Driver's Sketch type diagram, taken from W. A. G. R. Drawing 10964 dated 15th May, 1928 shows the station layout at the time of completion of the installation of Double line Automatic Upper Quadrant semaphore signalling. Note the use of lower quadrant (somersault) signals for all but the Advanced Starting Signals which were Semi-Automatic upper quadrant signals.

The official WAGR Signalling Record Card for Chidlow notes that this signal cabin was the first on the W. A. G. R. system to be supplied with an Illuminated Track Diagram, this device being installed on 4th December, 1951. This seems to have coincided with the removal of mechanical Lock Bars on the facing points and the provision of track locking - a precursor of things to come at many suburban area cabins in the 1960s and 1970s. Along with many others on the 'old Eastern line', Chidlow was closed on 13/2/1966 with the opening of the Avon Valley Route.


Any additional information on this signal cabin would 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 Peter Ipkendanz, D. C. Curtis and W. A. G. R.

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CHIDLOW Employees

This list may not be complete and does not yet include employees who worked here without being appointed

Name

Appointed

Position

Cass, William
24/06/1906
Signalman
Priest, William J.
24/06/1906
Junior Porter
Mann, Robert A.
  10/07/1906  
Signalman
Hewson, Horace
30/08/1908
Signalman
Norton, Walter M.
03/01/1910
Signalman
Priest, William J.
29/11/1914
Signalman
Biddle, Wilfred R. V.
30/01/1918
Signalman
Stevens, Sidney
13/02/1924
Signalman
Priest, William J.
11/08/1927
Signalman
Hocking, Henry A.
12/12/1927
Signalman
Thompson, Harold F.
20/05/1928
Signalman
Kensell, Joseph R.
27/05/1928
Signalman
O'Brien, Stephen
03/12/1929
Signalman
Morcom, Hugh J.
30/08/1931
Signalman
Johnsen, Frank B.
05/01/1932
Signalman
Ryan, William J.
13/03/1947
Signalman
Cardinal, Basil E.
16/09/1948
Signalman
Clark, Allan F.
21/12/1952
Junior Worker
Hale, Norman R.
14/06/1953
Signalman
Johnsen, Frank B.
21/03/1954
Signalman
Clark, Allan F.
23/08/1959
Signalman
Kent, F. D.
24/01/1966
Station Master (4)



Memories

02/07/2013 - Passenger Lettie H. remembers:
"
I remember travelling to W. A. in 1961 on the train and stopping at Chidlow station for a delicious meat pie at the station tea rooms. Its a shame nothing has been retained for heritage value."


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