Narrogin Signal Cabin was situated on the former Great Southern Railway to Albany and was provided to replace three other lever frame installations, namely: Narrogin Station Frame, Narrogin Frame 'A' and Narrogin Frame 'B' and was opened on the 21/11/1965. A small Control Panel provided in 1955 when Colour Light Signalling was installed at the Albany end of the yard was also moved into the Signal Cabin on this date, thereby centralising the signalling at this busy multiple junction.
The 1994 view of the Narrogin Signal Cabin above was taken after the cabin's closure and the introduction of "Train Order Working". Note the fact that the open areas of the stair well have been boarded up - except for the rather 'convenient' access for those not granted official sanction! The signal nearby stands forlorn, stripped of it's Directing Signal arm (No. 2) and Shunt Signal (No. 7) - See Diagram 52285c. Note also, the hatches in the front of the cabin. When opened, these were used for the extraction of the interlocking 'T-Irons' should replacement be required.
Narrogin signal cabin was one of the W.A.G.R.'s 'new-look' lever cabins, to a design dating from the 1950s to simplify cabin construction. Should circumstances require, these cabins could be dismantled and moved between locations so the building could be called a 'transportable' design. Similar cabins to this design could be found at the 'new' Perth 'A' Cabin; North Fremantle, and Koojedda.
Koojedda proved the point of the design by being moved to Kwinana in 1967 and it remains there to this day - it held the distinction of being the last lever cabin to work on the W. A. G. R. / Westrail system.
It has in fact, been at Kwinana far longer than it ever was at lt Koojedda! These cabins were constructed on timber framing (usually on steel support bases) with the exterior clad in fibro sheets. The interior was finished in vertical match-boarding to the waist rail and plasterboard up the remaining wall height and ceiling. North Fremantle and Narrogin cabins seemed to share the same window design - three smaller panes per window 'bay', whereas Kwinana and the 'new' Perth Box 'A' were provided with only two (larger) windows per bay, which made window cleaning a bit awkward!
Narrogin was the junction of the main single line from Perth, via York to Albany (the Great Southern Railway) and to the other single track branch lines to Wickepin and Collie. Due to traffic from all these lines converging at Narrogin it was a very busy re-marshalling site. Narrogin also boasted a busy Locomotive depot and Carriage sidings were also provided.
SignallingWA is much indebited to the photographers for being one of "those not granted official sanction" for this interior view of the Narrogin Signal Cabin on the same day as the exterior view. Note all the Staff instruments are present (although all the Staffs have been removed) as are the new style 'Staff Instrument Back Boards' with the block bells still atop. It is surprising that the Two-way Radio is still in place above the Train Register desk! The lever handles need a good polish and the whole interior looks very sad indeed - happily this was not an end...
Details from the official W. A. G. R. records show that immediately prior to the abolition of all Staff Working Systems along the Great Southern Railway these sections employed the following methods of train working:
Narrogin to Ponanyinning - Miniature Instrument - Colour BLUE;
Narrogin to Wagin - Miniature Instrument - Colour GREEN;
Narrogin to Yilliminning - Large Instrument - Colour RED;
Narrogin to Darkan - Staff and Ticket - Colour WHITE.
Unlike the North Fremantle cabin Narrogin cabin only housed a 40 lever McKenzie and Holland No. 9 Pattern frame typical of most W.A.G.R. cabins, but did of course have the panel to augment operations, the switches on which, gave the equivalent of another 22 levers.
As reported in Weekly Notice No. 47 of 1991, Narrogin was closed as an Electric Staff Station on 22/12/1991 when the mode of train operation was changed to Train Order working, the station then being deemed a 'Superior Train Order Crossing Station'.
It is this Editor's understanding that the control panel is still located somewhere at Narrogin. The signal cabin itself was completely relocated during the winter of the year 2000. Following the remedial work on the structure, it was looking resplendent in this photo taken in May 2001.
Information researched and interpreted by Chris. J. E. French of SignallingWA
Any additional information on this signal cabin would be most welcome - please use the e-mail form provided on this page.
Photographs © by Barry Keens and Chris. J. E. French
Graphic representations of Electric Staff Instruments and Staff and Ticket accoutrements by Chris. J. E. French.
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This list may not be complete and does not yet include employees who worked here without being appointed
20/10/2014 - Former W. A. G. R. Employee Wayne White remembers:
"I was a guard in Narrogin and qualified as a signalman in the Narrogin cabin. Graham Bell, Peter Zeba, and Brian Philpot were the full time signalmen. Along with about 3 or 4 other guys we covered them for leave. My father Colin White was a driver in Narrogin for many years."