Queensland Government Railways

by John Hinson

Yarongmulu signal cabin
Photograph by Dr J W F Scrimgeour, 22/9/67

Yarongmulu is an intermediate signal cabin at the western end of Victoria Tunnel and is the summit of the Ipswich - Toowoomba line, which opened in 1867. Originally just a single line passed through the station, but it became a crossing place in 1881. The line was doubled throughout between Ipswich and Helidon in 1910-1911 except for the Yarongmulu to Grandchester section.

This view of Yarongmulu signal cabin was taken from a passing Helidon to Brisbane railmotor train, which had just collected the staff for the single line section to Grandchester.

Yaringmulu signal cabin
Photograph by Frank Archer, 1990

Twenty-three years later, the signal cabin looked much the same. The first box here opened in 1891, but this one dates from 1914.

The architecture is very typical of McKenzie & Holland, and this example sports the extra canopy above all windows to act as a screen from the power of the sunshine.

There isn't an obvious reason why the box is set so far back from the line, but it is noticeable that the carefully grown hedge around the point rodding has gone, and the area has become untidy and overgrown.

Yaringmulu box in 1988
Photograph by Frank Archer, 1988

But as can be seen here, the hedge was still there only two years earlier, although starting to look a little unkempt.

signal cabin diagram at Yarongmulu
Photograph by Frank Archer, 1990

The signal cabin diagram shows the simplicity of the layout, worked from a ten lever frame.

The diagram appears to be the original from the opening of the box in 1914.

Tyer's block instrument at Yarongmulu
Photograph by Frank Archer, 1990

The double-line section to Laidley was signalled by Tyer's one-wire, three-position instruments. Like so many of Tyer's instruments, this example is mounted on a backing board, with its bell above, for easy mounting on walls rather than on an instrument shelf above the levers.

Delivering the staff at Yarongmulu
Photograph by Frank Archer, 1988

This view just bubbles with atmosphere. The Yarongmulu signalman holds the train staff out for the driver of the double-headed freight, which will be his authority to enter the single line section to Grandchester.

Control of the line was later taken over by Centralised Traffic Control from Brisbane, but after closure, Yarongmulu cabin was removed to Grandchester and is used by a model live steam group.

Additional notes by Frank Archer

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson