Gosnells signal cabin was situated on the suburban section of the South Western Railway between Maddington and Kelmscott. Interlocking was installed on 3rd July 1903. Sidings previously at this location were know as Imperial Firewood Siding; 25 Mile Siding and Gosnell's Siding. Over the years, the apostrophy in the station's final name was omitted and eventually the station became known simply as Gosnells.
Although Gosnells was provided with interlocked points and signals to protect trains stopping or shunting there, the station staff seemed to have no other form of control over the trains traversing the sections between Maddington and Kelmscott.
At the time, these were still single line sections, being worked by the large Electric Staff system. The very long section being from Cannington to Armadale - Shape of Staff Head - OBLONG - Colour - Blue.
Additional facilities were provided, as the 1901 General Appendix states:
"These Sections will only be cut in on special occasions as advised in Weekly Notices or Circulars:
Cannington to Maddington - Shape of Staff Head - TRIANGLE - Colour - White;
Maddington to Armadale - Shape of Staff Head - SQUARE - Colour - Green"
This 1976 view of the Gosnells Signal Cabin tucked under the main station roof was taken six years after the closure of the cabin.
In the year 2002 new plans called for the the station to be relocated to the opposite side of the nearby Dorothy Street levelcrossing - to the left of the station as seen in this photo.
Duplication of the Armadale suburban line was completed on Sunday, 3rd July 1904. Absolute Block working was introduced, with the Block stations being Cannington and Armadale. The instruments used were of the Winter's two-position Block type originally developed for use on the Indian Railways.
The following extract from W. A. G. R. Circular No. 564 published on Page 30 of Weekly Notice No. 28 / 1904 Cites:
"The double line between Maddington and Armadale will be opened by No. 13, Mixed, which will travel on the new (Down) road from Maddington to Armadale, after which electric staff working will be cancelled and absolute block working introduced. The Block Stations will be Cannington - Armadale. Temporary Block stations will also be established at Maddington and Kelmscott on special occasions, due notice of which will be given. Up trains may be worked under "Section clear, but Station or Junction blocked" regulations Armadale to Cannington or Kelmscott when switched in."
Evidently, it was to be some time before Gosnells became an 'Absolute Block' station with instruments of its own).
Editor's note: At this point in time, due to omissions in the official record card for Gosnells, SignallingWA has been unable to determine the exact opening date of the Gosnells signal cabin, or the date when Winter's block was brought into use here - SignallingWA would be most interested to hear from anyone who can furnish these pieces of information, they will be very welcome).
The sidings at Gosnells and Maddington were secured by the use of an Annetts' Key. Instructions published in Weekly Notice No. 35 of 1908. give the following instructions to all concerned:
"When Maddington is to be opened as a Block Signal Box, the Annett’s Key controlling the Up sidings Gosnells and Maddington must be sent to Cannington in sufficient time to admit of it being delivered to the Signalman appointed to open the Maddington Junction Signal Box."
Following the installation of flashing light warning signals to protect the Dorothy Street Level Crossing at 13 mile 5 chains, the 1963 General Appendix tells us that:
"A track indicator is provided in the signal-box to show when a Down train enters the track circuit".
(Editor's Note: ...for when a Down train was a quarter of a mile from the crossing and No. 9 signal was at proceed. This 'track indicator' is shown in Dr. J. W. F. Scrimgeour's fine photo of the Gosnells instrument shelf. A closer image of this type of indicator can be seen here: G. R. S. Track Indicator.)
With less than two years to go before closure, Gosnells signal cabin was provided with: "an annunciator to provide an audible and visual indication of train approaching the Up Distant Signal".
The fine photo taken by the much-travelled signalling enthusiast Dr. J. W. F. Scrimgeour shows the Gosnells signal cabin instrument shelf; the Winter's Block instruments; the simple 'drawn type' diagram; a signal repeater (presumably for the Up Distant) and the 'Down Track indicator'. The device between the latter and the Winter's Block to Kelmscott may have been the annunciator for the Up Distant. Anyone know for certain?
With the installation of Automatic Colour light signalling on the 12th of July 1970 the signal cabin at Gosnells was closed and the station relegated to the status of 'stopping place only'. A small Traffic Annexe was however provided near the switchlock controlled crossover points south of the station. Inside this annexe was placed a selection of appropriate Safeworking Forms; a control telephone and indicators to monitor the track sections either side of these points. The author spent a weekend shift at that location acting as Hand Signalman to assist in the termination of trains and sending them back to Perth via the crossover during a period of engineering works at Armadale in preparation for electrification of the line. The crossover at Gosnells is now worked remotely via electric point machines which are operated by the Metropolitan Train Controllers. Of the signal cabin itself, nothing remains to be seen, as this was swept away by the station redevelopment - such is progress.
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
Thanks to Ric. Edwards for additional information used in the compilation of this page.
Photographs: Use of Dr. J. W. F. Scrimgeour's photo is courtesy of John Hinson of 'The Signal Box' and by W. A. G. R.
This list may not be complete and does not yet include employees who worked here without being appointed