South Indian Railway

by John Hinson

Signal cabin at Madras Beach
Photograph by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour 5/46

Madras Beach station was controlled by power-operated signalling from the cabin seen here. The station is the terminus of the double metre-gauge line from Tambaram which was electrified in 1931 with the 1500v DC overhead system. Automatic signalling was provided between here and Madras Egmore.

The broad gauge line of the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway from Rayapuram also serves this station but is not signalled by this cabin. It enters the station at the far end and is served by the platform on the far right of this view.

Theobald's Token instrument at Madras Beach
Photograph by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour 5/46,

The single line of the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, as noted above, is not controlled by Madras Beach cabin. The single line to Rayapuram was controlled by the Theobald's Token instrument illustrated here, housed in the station office.

This type of instrument was used extensively on the lines of both the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway and the South Indian Railway. It was invented by an engineer on the Madras Railway and manufactured locally in Madras by a firm called Orr & Co. Details on the mode of working will be found in Apurva Bahadur's article on India Railways Single Line Instruments.

General view during resignalling
Photograph by Abhishek of Madras, 2002

The cabin was closed and replaced some years ago. However it remained in situ until August 2002 when it was demolished during remodelling of the layout in connection with changing the gauge of the lines from metre to broad gauge.

This view, looking towards Tambaram, shows the recent box in the foreground. The part-demolished old box can be seen, middle right, with the base and staircase still standing. The old platform seen in the 1946 view above can also be seen.

About the photographs

Additional notes by "Abhishek of Madras"

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson