New South Wales Government Railways

by John Hinson

Polona Crossing signal cabin
Photograph 27/9/67, by Dr J W F Scrimgeour,

Polona Loop opened around 1916 as an intermediate crossing point on the single Main Western line of the New South Wales Government Railway , located between Bathurst and Orange.

This view, looking in the Up direction towards Sydney, shows the prefabricated box built from concrete slabs.

Small platforms are provided to help the signalman exchange the staffs with drivers, for the working on this section of line was miniature Electric Train Staff - to Blayney and Millthorpe boxes, although for a short time after opening full-sized staffs were used. The Millthorpe instrument was fitted for automatic working, so that staffs could be withdrawn here without the signalman present at Millthorpe. This allowed Millthorpe box to close at times of light traffic, and the crews would surrender and withdraw the staffs there themselves. The way this system worked is detailed on the page for Merredin in Western Australia.

In early days. Polona had a two-platform station (not that there was much civilisation within easy reach!) and the loops were laid out in the British style of separate Up and Down working. After the station closed, the arrangement was changed to the more convenient two-direction Main and Loop arrangement.

It is here that, in the film A Steam Train Passes, the scene showing the signalman extracting the staff from the instrument and exchanging with the driver was filmed.

Polona Loop closed in February 1977. In a different location, a single loop of about 900 yards in length controlled by a panel in Orange box replaced the two smaller loops (around 400 yards) at Polona and Millthorpe.

Additional notes by Graham Harper, Anthony Koch, Phil Paton and Bob Taafe

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson