Ceylon Government Railway

by John Hinson

Polgahawela Junction
Photograph from the collection of Dr J W F Scrimgeour

The photograph shows the Station Master's control panel which oversees the operation of the two signal boxes at either end of the four-platform station at Polgahawela Junction. The instruments transmit releases to the signal boxes for the required movements. This method of operation relieves the signalmen of much of the responsibility of their work, a convenient arrangement for the earlier days of railway operation in Ceylon when many staff employed had little education.

Polgahawela Junction is on the double-track main Jaffna line of the Ceylon Government Railway, and is the junction for a branch to Kandy and Badulla. The branch was signalled by Tyer & Co's No7 Tablet. It is not known what method of block working applied on the main line, but the instruments would all have been in the Station Master's office.

The system in force here is an interesting mix of German-style supervision of satellite boxes by the Station Master and British principles of single-line signalling.

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson