Cresco - SignallingWA

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Signal Cabins in WA


WAGR - Eastern Railway (E. R.)

1938 WAGR MAP Mileage = 5

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? Levers


Fate: Unknown

During the 1920s, the need was recognised to spur on agricultural development in Western Australia. The use of chemical fertilisers was promoted, and land sufficient in size for a large factory, situated adjacent to an existing railway line to expediate the movement of large quantities of product was much sought after.

Just such a site was to be found at the beginning of the long, straight road or 'mad mile' between Bayswater and Bassendean stations. An announcement of this forthcoming establishment was made on Page 15 of The West Australian of Thursday, 18th of August 1927.

The WAGR was praised in their support for the project by the prompt work of providing a railway siding, as can be read in the Daily News of 8th December 1927.

Advice of the addition of shunting charges for the siding at 5 miles (Eastern Railway - Perth to Midland Section) for Cresco Ltd., were published in Weekly Notice 50 / 1927 - week ending 23/12/1927.

Some months later, an entry on page 241 of Weekly Notice 10 / 1928 (week ending 16/03/1928) advised:

Insert after Cavendish instructions:-
Cresco Siding. - Down Home and Distant signals are provided at this station.
The points and signals are worked from a small Interlocking Frame controlled by Annnett’s Key which is kept at Bayswater.
After shunting operations the signals must be returned to the Off position and key left at Bassendean to be returned to Bayswater by first available train.

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.

This siding must not be shunted at night except when the signals are lighted.

Instructions issued by the Deputy Chief Traffic Manager were updated for the working the siding by Down trains (only), being published on page 75 of Weekly Notice 4 of 1930. The instructions were:
CRESCO SIDING. - On Monday, January 27th, 1930, and until further notice, Down Goods trains which have to shunt Cresco may be accepted by Bassendean under “Section Clear but Station or Junction Blocked” regulations.
2. All other trains are to be signalled in the usual manner. The Signalman at Bayswater must advise Bassendean of all trains requiring to shunt at Cresco.

If any proof was required as to the success of the Cresco Fertiliser Works, it could be found by the approval being granted by the Bayswater Roads Board for the provision of a second railway siding being laid in across Railway Avenue, as the business grew.

As from Monday, the 27th of January, 1930, and until further notice, the Deputy Chief Traffic manager announced that "Down" Goods trains which have to shunt Cresco may be accepted by Bassendean under Section Clear but Station or Junction Blockedregulations. All other trains are to be signalled in the usual manner. The Signalman at Bayswater must advise Bassendean of all trains requiring to shunt at Cresco.

Page 229, of WAGR Weekly Notice 11 of 1930 subsequently announced the closure of one signal box and opening of a replacement signal box on the Eastern Railway:
CAVENDISH. - On Wednesday, March 12, 1930, the Signal Box at Cavendish was closed.

CRESCO. - On Wednesday, March 12, 1930, the new Signal Box at Cresco was opened. The signalling is now in accordance with Diagram of Signalling W. & W. Plan No. 27126. For Local Instructions see Additions and Amendments to General Appendix printed in this “Weekly Notice.”
These instructions were as follows :
CAVENDISH. - Delete Cavendish, and insert in lieu thereof the following :-
          Cresco. - This siding is interlocked. 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 box is “switched out.” When the Station-master ceases duty, the key will be obtainable from the Signalman.
         Up and Down, Home, Distant, and Starting Signals, and a Down Advance Starting Signal are provided. The Siding is connected to the Down Main Line only. A shunt set back (ground disc) is provided to control the entrance to the Siding.
          This Signal Box is “switched in” between 5 p.m. and 5. 30 p.m., Saturday. excepted, and when required. When it is necessary to work the Siding the Signal Box must be “switched in.”
          All previous instructions are hereby cancelled.

Being a "Block Box", the Cresco Signal box was very often opened on Saturdays to assist in the running of Special Race Trains for the Western Australia Turf Club and the Helena Vale Races. Open times were also published in connection with the Easter and Christmas holiday services as well as the Royal Agricultural Show at Claremont.

Unfortunately, like so many other railway locations, there were several accidents and fatalities in the vicinity of the Cresco Signal Box. These were mostly around the vicinity of the road crossing. This crossing was on a short section of road, set between two long parallel roads either side of the railway lines, and in early days was merely 'protected' by the "Railway Crossing" notice boards. Electric flashing warning lights and half-boom gates were unheard of at that time. Events at or near this crossing occurred during the following years: 1930 (Fatality), 1933 (Fatality), 1934 (de-railment), 1942 (Fatality), 1946 (accident in sidings) and Level Crossing fatality, 1949 Level Crossing accident, 1950 Level Crossing - 2 Fatalities, 1950 (de-railment), 1952 Level Crossing Accident 2 Fatalities.

Weekly Notice 45 of 1937 advised that "On Wednesday, 17th of November, 1937, at Cresco, a new crossover from Main to Main will be connected to the lever frame, and a new disc signal, fixed to the mast of the Up Home signal, applying from the Up Main to the Sidings, will be brought into use. and that The ground disc applying from the Down Main to the Sidings will be moved Eastward a distance of approximately 22 yards."

This of course required new Instructions to be published for those who worked in and around the Signal Box:

PAGE 283 - CRESCO SIDING. - Delete all existing instructions for Cresco, and insert in lieu thereof the following:-
1. This siding is interlocked, and is opened as a Block Signal Box between certain
hours (see current time table) and when required. Access may be obtained to the Signal Box by means of a standard Yale padlock key.
2. When it is necessary to work the siding, the Signal Box must be opened as a Block Station.
3. Up and Down, Home, Distant and Starting signals, and a Down Advance Starting
signal are provided. The entrance to the Siding from the Down Main line is controlled by a shunt set back (ground disc) and from the Up Main line by a disc on the same post as the Up Home signal.
4. The levers are secured in the “off” position by means of chains and padlock.

During February, 1944, overcrowding on the Bus Service  spurred local requests for an unattended Passenger Halt near the Cresco Crossing with the suggested name of Nyalls. Evidently this was not successful.

The Chief Traffic Manager advise via Weekly Notice 45 of 1947, that additional security had been implemented at Cresco Box:
CRESCO - Signalling and Interlocking. - On Monday, November 10th, the signal lever frame at Cresco will be Annetta locked. The Annetta key, when not in use, being kept in the custody of the signalman at Bayswater.

Complaints were raised in the Western Australian Parliament during December 1950, about the proposed 'Welshpool - Bassendean Railway Bill', which, if it had succeeded, would have seen a connection at Cresco for a line to Welshpool. One wonders how that might have changed the railway operations?

Change of name: Weekly Notice 46 of 1954, carried instructions regarding the alteration of name for the Cresco Signal Box:
Ashfield (late Cresco), 18/11/1954, Down Distant signal, Down Starting signal and Down Advanced Starting signal and Up Starting signal removed; Down Home signal converted to Down Distant signal, new Down Home signal erected ahead of Down platform; existing Up Home signal and UP Distant signal remain in present positions, Diagram of Signalling 43557; in General Appendix Cresco instructions deleted and Ashfield inserted, noted no siding accommodation and no crossovers, Annett's key for frame kept at Bayswater.

A notification to employees to direct them into the correct passenger cars for those passengers travelling to the new stopping place named Ashfield was published in Weekly Notce 49 for 1954.

The end of this small signal Box's life was announced via the introducation of Automatic Colour Light Signalling between East Perth and Bassendean. This was brought into use on Sunday, the 8th of March 1964 and effectively ended the Three Position Block Signalling system which had been in use constatnly during the box's exisitence.

The structure was in use for 33 years, 11 months, 3 weeks and 4 days, or a total of 12,415 days.

NOTE: This page is under constant 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

This page is copyright, and permission must be sought from SignallingWA before this page is used for any purpose other than personal education.

CRESCO 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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