THE SIGNAL BOX

OVERSEAS

BALLARAT "B"
Victorian Railways

by John Hinson

Ballarat 'B' cabin
Photograph by Dr J W F Scrimgeour, 2/10/67

The grandly designed station at Ballarat, between Melbourne and Adelaide, possessed two signal boxes; "B" cabin was at the Adelaide end. It was built by McKenzie & Holland in 1885, and was conventional in design other than being raised clear of the ground. Many taller boxes in Australia were built in this way, reminiscent of the 1860's British signal box design although there may have been a different purpose here - to reduce the effect of attention by wood-eating creatures. Boxes were still being built in this way as late as the 1960s - see Kwinana in Western Australia for a modern example.

Tram crossing the railway
Photograph by Dr J W F Scrimgeour, 2/10/67

A single-track tram line used to cross the railway at the level crossing, although no signals or trap points were provided as at Kooyong. Notice how the twin towers of Moody's Provinical compete in style with the tower on the station building seen in the previous view.

Signal gantry at Ballarat 'B'
Photograph by Dr J W F Scrimgeour, 2/10/67

The entry and exit to Ballarat station at the Adelaide end was guarded by this impressive gantry of somersault signals. The arm that has been cleared applies to the northbound platform.

Ballarat "B" cabin, the level crossing gates and the signal gantry all survive through having been "listed" as of historic value. Today, the arms all have the letter "X" applied to them to indicate that they are no longer operative, but they still straddle the line. The signal box is retained only in the capacity of crossing-keeper, to work the level crossing gates.


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