Whatley - SignallingWA

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Signal Cabins in WA


WAGR - Eastern Railway (E. R.) - Belmont Branch

1938 WAGR MAP Mileage = 5 miles 10 chains

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Quick Facts







6 Levers


Fate: Unknown

Whatley Signal Cabin began life under the name 17 Mile Block Cabin, but this was confusing as there were two Signal Boxes with that name: 17-Mile Main Line Signal Box and 17-Mile Belmont Branch Signal Box. and it is the latter of those that is the subject of this page.

The box was of course, being situated on a line predominantly used for horse-racing traffice to the "Belmont" racecourse (now known as "Ascot", opened regularly to facilitate the large crowds of smartly dressed passengers going for an enjoyable 'Day at the Races'. No doubt the passengers would all be hopeful of 'backing a winner' and therefore return better off than than when they set out that day.

Of this 17-Mile Box, The WAGR Weekly Notice, No 21 of 1903 stated that:

17 Mile Block Cabin (Belmont Branch Junction) - Fixed signals at.
On Saturday next, 16th May, 1903, at 9 a.m. the following signals will be brought into use:-

           Up Distant. - 20 feet high, fixed on Up side of line, 500 yards outside the Home signal.
           Up Home. - 20 feet above rail level on Up side of line. This arm is on the back of the Down Home signal.
           Down Home. 31 feet above rail level on Up side of line. The lower arm on back of this post is Up Home.
           Down Distant. - Is fixed on the back of the Bayswater Station Up Distant for Main Line 24 feet above rail level.
The levers working these signals are fixed at the 17-Mile Block Cabin.
The normal position of these signals when the block is cut out will be all clear, and the levers must then be locked in the pulled-over position.

In sending the above information to SignallingWA you accept that it may be used in any SignallingWA or SIGWA display, publication and or web site.

The confusing nature of the names was finally sorted out in 1914 and was announced in Weekly Notice No. 8 of 1914 when it was proclaimed that in future, the present 17-Mile Main Line Signal Box will be known and distinguished by the name "Bassendean," and the 17-Mile Belmont Branch Signal Box as "Whatley."

In December 1922, a new description of the Signal Box and general instructions about the operation of the branch line were published in the General Appedix to the Book of Rules:

Whatley Signal Box.
(Belmont Branch).
This Signal Box is switched in when required.
Up and Down Starters, Home and Distant Signals, are provided. The position of these signals when the Signal Box is closed will be "All Clear," the levers will be locked in that position. The key of this Signal Box is in the possession of the Station-master at Bayswater, from whom it must be obtained, and to whom it must be returned when the Signal Box has been closed.
There is no Siding accommodation, and Cross-over roads are not provided.
Page 282, General Appendix to the Book of Rules and Regulations and to the Working Time Table Dec. 4, 1922

Belmont Branch Line.
On days when there is no one in charge of Belmont Signal Box, trains may be worked forward from Bayswater Junction under "Caution," but not more than one train must be allowed on the Branch at the same time (except by special authority of the Chief Traffic Manager); and Engine-drivers on returning on "Up" Line must approach the junction with extreme caution, as a Main Line train may be approaching from Guildford.

As from the 3rd of December 1923, all trains to and from Belmont were required to stop to pick-up and set-down passengers at Whatley

Between August and November of 1928, repairs to the River Bidge were necessary. This required that Single Line Working be introduced, on Monday 13th August 1928, which required all trains to be worked over the "Up" line by means of the Train Staff and Ticket system (Staff Only). Work was completed on the Down bridge and the working of the trains was carried out over the "Down" line from the 1st October 1928. The work on the Up bridge finally being completed and Double Line working restored on 21st November 1928.

Changes to the signalling at Bayswater and the Belmont Branch heralded the end for Whatley Signal Box as the entry on Page 359  of Weekly Notice 15 of 1954 advised that "...At Whatley all signals will be taken outof use..." Further  mention was made on page 363 of the same Weekly Notice, with the final notice being on page 396 of Weekly Notice 17 of 1954 which advised all and sundry:

"E.R., SUBURBAN. - Delete all reference· to “Whatley (Belmont Branch) 5m. 10ch.” on page 13 of Working Time Table."

One cannot wonder however, in its 50 years and 11 months of existance, just how many horse-racing 'punters' travelled under the watchful gaze of the Signalman, and how many of those won, or lost small fortunes backing the ponies?

NOTE: This page is under development - please check back later, however, if you have any additional information on this signal cabin, it would be most welcome - please use the e-mail form provided.

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

Photograph by
Pendon Museum courtesy of RHWA Archives and Diagram of Signalling by W. A. G. R. photographed by Justin Smith.

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WHATLEY Employees

This list may not be complete and does not yet include employees who worked here without being appointed.
Where an appointment date is unknown, the Weekly Notice (WN) date advising of the appointment or other official documentation, i.e. Certificate of Competency (CC) will be used.




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