Koojedda signal cabin also appears elsewhere on this site as Kwinana - although the cabin has now spent many more years at Kwinana than it ever did at Koojedda. When this new Koojedda Cabin opened on 14th June 1959 it was positioned much closer to ground level than it's later incarnation at Kwinana.
The photo above, taken from the 'Up' Main shows the Koojedda cabin in it's hey-day. Note the the slatted timber awning suspended above the windows; the stove pipe, and the large pile of wood to the right of the cabin. The awning was provided as the cabin faced into the rising sun, but our guess is that it must have been pretty cold up in the hills during winter! The 'Down' Main Line is in the foreground, with the 'Down' Loop and access road to the 'Down' Sidings next to the cabin.
This location was first interlocked on 7th January 1926. The first Koojedda cabin was a weatherboard and iron structure and was in use from 30th June 1936 when the station was known as 45 1/4 Mile Crossing. Signalling on this line, (following duplication in 1907 / 1908), was by two-position lower-quadrant signals at stations, with trains being 'offered and accepted' by Signalmen at signal cabins either end of the sections using Winters two-position Block instruments.
Block working gave way to 'permissive' working when three position 'Automatic' upper-quadrant semaphores were installed between stations - these being progressively installed between 1936 and 1937. This installation did not proceed smoothly however, and there was some problems with the Driver's Union regarding the interpretation of the Rules applicable.
In one instance, the "Great Western Express" was delayed some hours between Mount Helena and Chidlow.
These signals were the American produced General Railway Signal Co. (GRS) signals, similar to those still to be found in use in Victoria, Australia but the multi-arm 'speed signalling' concept used in other states was not adopted here in the West. Two-position lower-quadrant signals returned for a while at Koojedda in 1957 when C.C.E. Plan No. 46601 shows Koojedda as nothing more than a crossover between the two main lines with access to both the Up and Down sidings - evidently as a result of the next resignalling scheme. Finally, all these signals were replaced with three-aspect colour-light (searchlight) signalling with the completion of the final cabin in 1959.
Adjacent stations and cabins along the line over the years were - on the west side: Coates (formerly Karrijine); Wundowie; Werribee; Wooroloo; Beechina and Chidlow (formerly Chidlow's Well). On the eastern side - was: Baker's Hill (formerly Mount Baker); Clackline; 54 1/4 Mile Signal Box (a Block Box rendered obsolete with the coming of colour-light signalling); Mokine and Spencers Brook - the junction station for lines to Northam and York.
These days, Koojedda is nothing more than an overgrown trackbed as the line between Bellevue and Wundowie was closed and abandoned in 1966 when the dual-guage 'Avon Valley' route opened. However, the line remained in use from Wundowie through Spencers Brook and Spring Hill for about 15 years after the closure for ore trains to service the Wundowie Foundry. This portion of the otherwise 'closed' line even saw a ARHS rail tour in 1968 using two of the then new ADK railcars (power cars 684 & 690 coupled together) and again in 1972 when Metropolitan Vickers built X1019 hauled a set of coaches over this line. During this period, both Koojedda and Spencers Brook had been downgraded to emergency crossing loop status, a far cry from their previous role as major marshalling stations.
In the photo of the interior of the Koojedda Cabin one can clearly see the cut-down lever handles. These were so treated to signify to the Signalman that those levers merely activated a switch below the floor, and no undue force was needed to operate them. Even today at Kwinana you can still see which levers were affected even though those levers had extension pieces welded back on. The chap on the right is none other than SIGWA member Robert (Bob) Pearce. The stove, just visible behind Bob, is a "Metters No.2 Pioneer" - typical of may signal cabins, including Fremantle Box 'B' and Claremont.
The keen hiker or signalling enthusiast with a 1959 Diagram of Koojedda for guidance, can find several clues to the location of the cabin, equipment and signal locations etc. The site is readily accessible, being only metres from the Great Eastern Highway - heading east after passing the Wooroloo turn-off, just look for a farm house on the right which has a sign KOOJEDDA on posts just inside the fence - the cabin was directly opposite, on the left hand side of the highway.
Information researched and interpreted by Chris. J. E. French of SignallingWA
Photographs © by SIGWA member Ric. Edwards
Diagram of Signalling by W. A. G. R.
KOOJEDDA (3) Employees
This list may not be complete and does not yet include employees who worked here without being appointed