Hutt Valley Signals

Bits and pieces of railway information of interest to me - mainly signalling and the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa Lines. The Hutt Valley is a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand.

From time to time I test this site with Firefox and Opera (Linux and XP) and also with IE8. I do not have access to a Mac. I now have a video card and monitor that runs at 1600X900 but I tend to restrict the page width to about 900.

I have a theory that the amount of information on a page is inversely proportional to the number of bells and whistles so I do NOT use Javascript or Java. There is no fancy formatting on this site but there is LOTS and LOTS of information. As I am a a Grumpy Old Man you will not find any references to Facebook or Twitter or any of the other things that seem to clutter most sites these days - just plain pages with lots of information. It is the World Wide Web as I like it.

I try and make my pages W3C HTML 4.01 compliant and I support the Viewable With Any Browser campaign.

Contact me at:   signalman at valleysignals dot org dot nz


Signalling Principles

Study the principles of New Zealand railway signalling with particular reference to the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa. Diagrams and photo sequences describe speed signalling, junction signalling, aspects, low-speed lights, marker lights, overlaps, advance caution, permissive working and other aspects of railway signalling. 19th century signalling extant at Masterton is explained.

Signalling Principles

Safe Working

A page dedicated to the safe-working systems used by the New Zealand Government Railways (NZGR) and its successors.

Browse various safe-working documents including the Rule Book; Electric Train Tablet; Train Staff and Ticket; Track Warrant and Automatic Signalling.

PDF versions of the documents can also be downloaded.

Safe Working

Train Running

Study the operation of specific trains in detail, with the emphasis on signalling and safeworking.

Trains described include a Red (English Electric) EMU travelling to Wellington; Bankers on the Daffodil Express; a Masterton Passenger Train running Wrong Line; Race Trains to Trentham; Q2 Gracefield Shunt; EMUs reversing at South Junction; a 25kv Electric Locomotive departing Woburn and trains to the WestpacTrust Stadium.

Train Running

Hutt Valley Signalling History

Study the history of signalling on the Hutt Valley line, including the extension of the line from Hutt Valley Junction to Waterloo, Taita and Haywards; the Gracefield Branch; and the Rimutaka Tunnel route to Featherston. Diagrams show the progression from two-position mechanical signalling to three-position upper quadrant semaphores to automatic signalling with colour light signals.

Observe the extent of the interlockings once controlled by the Petone, Woburn and Taita signal boxes - very little of which now remains.

Signalling History

Hutt Valley Timetables

An analysis of Hutt Valley timetables. The period from the opening of the Hutt Valley Branch in the 1920s until the present day is covered.

Hutt Valley Train Timetables

Masterton Signalling Relics

Some relics of late 19th/early 20th century signalling practice were still in regular use on the commercial railway at Masterton in 2006. This page records Masterton signalling in 2004.

Masterton is the only location I know of where a Woods key is still used and is one of only two or three stations that have two-position signals.

Masterton

Featherston Station

Featherston is familiar to motorists because the town marks the end of their journey over the Rimutaka Hill.

Today a quiet station on the Wellington - Masterton railway, Featherston's main claim to fame is that it is where patrons on their way to the annual Toast Martinborough wine and food festival transfer from locomotive hauled Ganz EMUs to buses, to complete their journey.

Featherston

Upper Hutt Station

Upper Hutt is the terminus of electrified commuter services from Wellington. Until early 2007 it was manned 24 hours a day because the single line Trentham - Upper Hutt - Featherston section was controlled from a signal panel and time code CTC machine in the Upper Hutt station building.

Study the operation and history of Upper Hutt, with emphasis on the signalling.

Upper Hutt Signal Panel

Trentham Station

Trentham is a single to double-line junction. The little used Racecourse Platform (loop) gives punters easy access to the racecourse. A bow-string bridge is a prominent feature of the station.

I document signalling, race trains and rare workings, including a freight train using the loop. I also describe Trentham as it is for most of the year.

Trentham railway station

Taita Box

Taita signal box, dating from the early 1950s, is switched in during the morning and evening peaks, Monday to Friday, to terminate Wellington - Taita EMUs.

I describe the operation of Taita Box in 2013 and provide some history.

Taita Box will close in early 2014.

Taita Box

Gracefield & Woburn

The Gracefield Industrial Line, now the Gracefield Industrial Siding, served Gracefield and Seaview. This industrial area was developed after the passing of the Hutt Valley Lands Settlement Act 1925. The line also served the Hutt Railway Workshops and Hutt Park Racecourse. The junction was at Woburn.

Diagrams and photographs provide a historical perspective and describe the operation of Woburn and the Industrial Siding today.

Waiwhetu Stream

Melling Branch

An introduction to the Melling Branch with a diagram providing geographical and historical perspective. The 1949 suburban steam timetable is compared with later electric timetables.

Photographs show the line as it is today.

Melling Branch

Petone Box

Petone was one of a small number of stand-alone signal boxes extant in the network in 2013. It was switched in for just under thirteen hours per day, Monday to Friday, to signal Melling trains.

It was also sometimes switched in at night and on weekends so trains could terminate at Petone during a network upgrade.

Petone Box was switched out for the final time at 1835 hours on Tuesday 24th December 2013. At 0600 on Thursday 26th December Petone Box ceased to be an operational site.



Petone

Hutt Park Railway Company

From 1885 until 1905 the Hutt Park Railway Company carried passengers on its Esplanade railway to meetings of the Wellington Racing Club at Hutt Park.

In 1915 the line was sold to the Gear Meat Company and the Hutt Park Railway Company went into liquidation in 1918.

Photo Graeme Bennett

Hutt park Railway Co

Johnsonville Line Signalling

The Wellington - Johnsonville Line has some unique signalling features. Therefore, although the branch is not in the Hutt Valley, I have created a Johnsonville Line Signalling site.

The site includes details current and earlier signalling practice on the branch, including starting signals at Ngaio and Khandallah to allow trains to be divided and mechanical signalling at Thorndon, Ngaio and Johnsonville.

Johnsonille Line Signalling

A-Box

A record of the track and signalling changes at Wellington during the installation of the third track in 2009/10.

A-Box

Hutt Valley Documents

Browse the text of various documents relating to Hutt Valley services.

Hutt Valley Documents

Track And Lineside Structures

Study various track and lineside structures in detail. I have documented all extant trap points between Woburn and Upper Hutt; an Economical Facing Point Lock (FPL); the Wynn-Williams spring point mechanism; Fletcher Siding at Ava and all location cabinets between Petone and Ava.

Diagrams and photographs describe these and other structures in detail.

Track and Lineside Structures

Miscellaneous

Browse various miscellaneous pages, including the BR Mk2 cars at Hutt Workshops, a residential subdivision next to a railway workshops, sightings of De508 at Palmerston North, a cab ride to Masterton, commuter train myths and a locomotive in Sri Lanka that reminded me of an Interisland Ferry.

This page is also an index to the many miscellaneous images that I have posted over the past two years.

Miscellaneous

Valleysignals status April 2014.......

When I started this site in February 2001 I had one aim - to document passenger timetables and signalling and safeworking on the Hutt Valley Deviation Line from its opening in 1927 to the present day. After three years work I finally achieved my aim - going down many interesting side tracks in the process.

I have updated my Johnsonville Branch Signalling page and added a page documenting crossings on the Branch.

Petone Box has been switched out for the final time.   I have documented the Petone resignalling project and also all you ever wanted to know about Petone Box.

(Right, Upper) That is me in the very early 1970s. I have not flown a hang glider for forty years.

(Right, Lower) I survey Petone station in 2013. This was one day before Petone Box closed permanently.



Contact me :

signalman at valleysignals dot org dot nz

Me on a Hang Glider Surveying Station

Last Updated: Wednesday 9th April 2014

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