A level crossing with a difference

by John Hinson

There are four surviving places in Melbourne where tram lines cross the railway on the level. One of these is at the suburban station of Kooyong, on the Glen Waverley line.

Kooyong signal cabinKooyong opened around 1916 when the tramway opened. It only served as a block post c1925 to c1955, at other times (as now) it has only been worked as(in British terms) a gate-keeper's box.

The box is a standard McKenzie & Holland design, and remains in remarkably original condition. Of particular note are the crossbeams in the gable ends which have not survived on most of the boxes still in use.

Level crossing at Koo YongThis view, looking in the other direction, shows clearly the intersecting overhead wires for the trams and the trains. As these run at different voltages, some complex switching arrangements are required, controlled from the signal box.

Signals are provide for both trains and trams! On the left can be seen, mounted on a post, a McKenzie & Holland revolving disc that applies to trams.

Koo Yong level crossingHere, we see the barriers lowered for a suburban train to cross the level crossing.

A traffic light shows red for the road traffic, although other vehicles emerge from a nearby junction and wait right at the barriers.

The flashing red lights and "X" signs are bracketed out over the wide road to give a good view to approaching motorists at this wide crossing.

Train passing across the crossingAlmost un-noticeable in the shadow of the awning is a disc signal applicable to trams, in the danger position. Run-off traps are also provided, controlled from the signal box.

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