The Cottesloe signal cabin seen here, is the third and final cabin to carry the name at this station - it was also perhaps, the W. A. G. R.'s most 'modern' lever cabin. It was situated on the suburban section of the 'Eastern Railway' between North Fremantle and Claremont.
In additon to controlling the main lines, the cabin controlled the junction of the single track freight line to the narrow gauge portion of the Leighton marshalling yard. This line ran parallel to the Down Main line behind the Mosman Park (formerly Buckland Hill - originally named Cottesloe Beach) and Victoria Street stations.
The Signalman controlled a crossing loop between Jarrad Street and Salvado Road level crossings. An electric point machine, and McKenzie & Holland searchlight signals formed the "Departure Signals" for the single line to Leighton at this end of this loop. Two-aspect semaphore signals of the 'somersault' type (used widely on the W.A.G.R.) controlled the cabin end of the loop. Goods and parcel traffic was handled in the large Goods shed (seen just behind the cabin in the photo) and there were numerous yard roads, including a line to W. Thomas' Flour Mill.
An entry door at the platform level led into what could be described as a 'lobby'. To the left, was a built-in Signalman's 'convenience', whilst to the right were short flights of steps leading down to the interlocking room, and up to the operating floor.
The cabin was provided with 60 levers when built, but a timber-panelled floor section at the Fremantle end of the lever frame clearly showed an intention to extend this by up to twenty levers. Like most cabin's at the time, the polished floor was testimony to the Signalman's cleaning skills during quiet times!
The general 'modern' appearance of the cabin belies the fact that the Signalman worked with Sykes Lock and Block instruments on the Up and Down main lines when the cabin first opened in 1961. This method of working lasted until the main lines were converted to colour-light signalling in 1962. Interestingly, the Automatic Cut-out lever was No. 50, and not No.1 like most other cabins where Automatic Signalling was in use.
The policy of painting lever handles silver as in the Claremont cabin, was also in force here, although almost until the very last days of this cabin's life it was attended by two Signalmen, so there was no shortage of lever-cleaning staff! You will undoubtably notice that whilst the policy for painting lever handles in seldom used cabins was applied to the much attended Cottesloe - the policy of 'cutting down' lever handles to signify they were 'light' to pull, (which was NOT applied to the Claremont cabin) WAS applied here! Talk about standardisation!
The illuminated track diagram at Cottesloe was a typical example of the W.A.G.R. style diagrams. Pairs of lights fitted with Red bezels indicated the progress (or lack of progress) of trains over each of the track circuits. This particular diagram was quite long, and also included the Mosman Park and Victoria Street stopping places. The Brown (non-track circuited) tracks on the right hand end of 'the board' show the beginning of the Leighton yard with the 'Departure Signal' which marked the start of the single line section between Leighton and Cottesloe. Signal and point indications were not shown on the diagram, but were located on the instrument shelf above the levers which controlled their operation.
The Signalman's shifts covered Monday to Friday, between 05:35 until the last train of the night from Leighton (usually 20:30) with an 'overlap' of the two shifts of about an hour and a half. During the years of the closure to passenger traffic of the Perth to Fremantle line, the Signalman's day seemed to drag. This feeling was only heightened by the windows of the cabin being clad in expanded metal mesh to prevent vandalism.
The Cottesloe cabin was swept away with the electrification of the suburban lines - such is progress.
Any additional information on this signal cabin would be most welcome - please use the e-mail form provided on this page.
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COTTESLOE (3) Employees
This list may not be complete and does not yet include employees who worked here without being appointed