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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Addington Signalbox Closes

More news from the land down below down under.  On August 1, 2015 the last manned signal box (aka interlocking tower) on the southern island of New Zealand closed.  Addington signalbox is located in Christchurch, NZ and over the years it had come to control much of the Christchurch terminal area.  Centerpiece of the tower was a 1930's vintage McKenzie and Holland Style A electro-mechanical interlocking machine with the extended territory being controlled from unit lever CTC panels. The tower is also responsible for gate operation at a number of nearby level crossings.  Here is the diagram of the Addington area with the original territory located at the lower right.

Since it was built Addington interlocking has changed dramatically leaving only a handful of active levers on the old interlocking machine. There is comprehensive gallery of interior photos located on Facebook, but for those of you without FB accounts you'll need to settle for this 2008 video posted on Youtube as I was unable to find any other photos.  According to my count there are 11 active levers, 8 signal, 3 switch and 1 lock. The frame looks similar to GRS Model 5 just with miniature levers replacing the pistol grip slides.  The model board covers the territory from Linwood through Middletown South including intervening interlockings at Middleton North and Christchurch.

The New Zealand signaling methodology is more similar to North American practice than to UK practice with speed signaling, permissive signals, CTC and atomic interlockings.  Unfortunately NZ is also like North America in its general abandonment of manned interlocking towers.  Today all signaling on the south island is now remote controlled from Wellington on the North Island.  Remaining north island towers like Petone are also closing at a steady clip.  I urge anyone who may be traveling to New Zealand to check out some of its fading railway heritage in addition to its natural beauty.


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  2. Seven months after Petone closed Taita, which is also in the Wellington metro area, also closed. The original plan was to commission a solid state interlocking similar to Petone but due to a lack of money a telemetry system was installed and the relay interlocking controlled remotely. See

    On a different tack there has been a progressive replacement of searchlight signals with LEDs in the New Zealand network. I have recorded the change in the Hutt Valley which is part of the Wellington metro network. Three types of searchlights were used - Metropoliitan Vickers GRS Ltd (MVGRS), Siemans and General Electric Railway Signal Co (SGE) and Westinghouse Brake and Signal Co. See: