Somerton Signal Box

Mornington Railway

Somerton Signal Box

Mount Eliza, Victoria 3930, Australia

Created By: Mornington Railway Preservation Socicety Inc.


For general information about signal boxes, please see here


The Somerton signal box was originally located on the extension of the Coburg line from Fawkner to Somerton. This line was built at the end of the 1880's to promote more suburban development during the then land boom with supposed advantage of direct connection to country and Sydney trains. However, the line extension was not a success - opening in 1880 and closing to passenger traffic in 1904.

The first Somerton signal box was constructed in 1889 and closed in 1904. An auxiliary box was built in 1902, possibly to serve as a goods only box and for Somerton Station. Use of the section of line between Fawkner and Somerton was discontinued in the 1910's but in the 1930s a rail-motor was used to provide a shuttle service to the station at Fawkner, Campbellfield (now Closed) and North Campbellfield (now Upfield). A branch line into the Ford Manufacturing plant was also fed from this line.

In 1959 the line was electrified up to the new Upfield station. At the same time, the old Somerton auxiliary box was closed and Somerton signal box was re-opened (19th July 1959).

When the box was built it had line side front and side windows, vandals repeatedly smashed them with ballast so the side windows were also replaced with Perspex and the front ones boarded up.

Once the Centralised Train Control (CTC) system came into use 1962, the box was only used part time. It ceased being used completely 25th July 2007.

The lever frame used was a - VR A Pattern Cam and Tappet style.

Transfer to Moorooduc

Once no longer in use, major upgrades in the area required the box to be removed. The Department of Transport decided the best place for the box following its removal from Somerton was with the Mornington Railway. In mid-2007 the Emerald Tourist Railway Board (Puffing Billy) was granted the contract to relocate it to Moorooduc. The box was internally stripped of mechanical and electrical interlocking apparatus and a removalist firm was engaged to transport the box to Moorooduc.

After arrival, the lower level, staircase and weatherboards were replaced. The upper level, roof framing and its floor are original although the box required a new metal roof. In early 2008 the mechanical apparatus was re-installed with the former interlocking mechanism remaining in storage in the lower level.

The building is heritage listed and is still owned by the State Government. Recent discussions have been taking place to get the windows re-instated.

The box is not currently connected to any signals or points but it is hoped that it will be able to control the Moorooduc site.

The Somerton status board can still be seen above the lever frame. This displayed location of rolling stock, the lie of turnouts and signals are provided on an illuminated Track Indication Panel.

References and Acknowledgements

This point of interest is part of the tour: Mornington Railway


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