Petone Signalling History

This page documents signalling and track layout changes at Petone Station.

From 1927 Petone Box also controlled Hutt Valley Junction and from 1958 Lower Hutt and the Melling Branch. I have not included the junction and Lower Hutt in the diagrams on this page. See 1975 Petone Interlocking and  Local Instruction L71  for details of the Petone signalbox in 1975.

I have included Petone Junction in the diagrams on this page because it shows how the two boxes were linked with slot controls.

I have followed the conventions used in the original diagrams - sometimes north is on the left; other times it is on the right. On the 1952 panel north is on the right.

Petone locality diagram


The date is that on the S & I - not necessarily the date the changes were commissioned.

Pre 1905 Second Station west of Petone Workshops.

1905 - 1922 Third station, double line, Lock & Block.

March 1922 Automatic signalling with three-position upper quadrant semaphores.

S & I 460 Not located. Closure of Petone Workshops?

October 1940 Shunting line to Petone Junction.

October 1945 Changes at Petone Junction.

May 1951 Colour light signals replace semaphores. Beginning of project to commission new signalbox?

March 1952 New signalbox commissioned.

June 1952 Changes at Lower Hutt? Signal 66 gantry mounted.

October 1952 Signal 74 gantry mounted. East sidings installed.

July 1958 Hutt Road level crossing closed. Minor changes at Petone. Melling Branch singled (not shown).

March 1962 Minor changes.

May 1970 Metrication.

July 1975 Petone converted to switchout operation. North and South on diagram reversed.

August 1983 East Siding A removed. Gear Siding (north) connection rearranged.

June 1990. Yard and suburban siding closed.

October 1996 Track teleephones removed.

August 1999 North crossover removed.

November 2012 LED signal on folding mast replaces 14 signal.

Christmas 2013 Petone re-signalled.

Pre 1905

The second Petone Station was west of the Petone Railway Workshops. Sometime after 1891 Winter's Block was installed on the Te Aro - Lambton - Ngauranga - Petone - Lower Hutt sections. In 1901 tablet, the first such installation in New Zealand, replaced Winter's Block over the same sections.

Signals had been installed by 1898 as this Evening Post story about a large bush fire demonstrates. The Koro-koro bridge is that over the stream at the south end, opposite what is now Cornish St.

During yesterday the railway signals near the Koro-Koro bridge could not be seen for smoke, and trains had to be slowed down until they were clear of the smoke. (E. Post 13th Jan 1898).

1905 to 1922

In 1905 the line was double tracked from Lower Hutt to Petone and the line deviated to the east on the present alignment. The third Petone station was built on the present site. Lock & Block was installed, the Lower Hutt - Ngahauranga section being commissioned in July 1909. I do not have any information on the safeworking used between Lower Hutt and Petone in the 1905 to 1909 period. According to Semaphore To CTC double line Lock and Block was first used in New Zealand (in the Auckland area) in February 1909. I suspect that Petone to Ngahauranga remained Tablet until the duplication reached the latter station in 1909.

S & I 31 (25/9/05) has not been located. For an example of a station of this period go to my Lower Hutt Signalling History page where there is a 1905 diagram.

March 1922

Automatic signalling with three-position upper quadrant semaphores was installed, replacing lock & block. The text of S & I 377 contains some interesting informatiion about the operation of the various signal cabins in the area. Petone was a switchout signal cabin.

S & I 377

S & I 460

S & I 460. Cannot find a copy. Was this S & I issued for the closure of the Petone Workshops in the 1920s?

October 1940

A new S&I diagram was probably issued because of the introduction of the Prepare to Reduce to Medium Speed indication and other changes at Lower Hutt. Semaphore symbols changed. Shunting line to Petone Junction shown - the Petone Workshops had been closed in the 1920s. North now at left-hand side of diagram. Note the use of a dummy lower arm rather than a marker light. Petone was a switchout signal cabin. Motor operated single slip installed at 15 and 16 points.

S & I 557

Petone - Description of Levers


Down Control


Shunt from Gear Co's Siding


Down Inner Home


Crossover Up Main & Goods


Down Main Starter


Crossover Down Main & Goods


Low Speed to Goods Yard


Points & trap Down Main & Gear Co's Siding


Shunt Up Main to Goods Yard


Low Speed Up Main to Goods Yard


Down Main Junction Home


Shunt from Down Main


Down Branch Junction Home


Up Main Junction Home


Traps on Goods Shunting Line


Up Branch Junction Home


Crossover Up & Down Mains


Up Goods Starter


Crossover Up Main & Goods Yard


Shunt to North Backshunt


Shunt to Goods Loop


Up Main Starter


Shunt from Goods Loop


Up Main Home


Points Branch to Down Main


Up control


Points Up Main to Branch


Petone Junction Down Main Home Slot

Petone Junction - Description of Levers


Down Control


Crossover Up & Down Mains


Down Home


Crossover Up & Down Mains


Down Shunting Line Home


Low Speed from Up Main


Down Gear Co's Siding Home


Up Home/td>


Points & Trap Down Main & gear Co's Siding


Up Control


Crossover Up Main & Shunting Line.

October 1945

22 Up Main Starter converted to two-arm semaphore and can display the new Prepare to Reduce to Medium Speed indication. Semaphores at Petone Junction replaced by ground lights; I think that this may have been when the upper quadrant semaphores between Kaiwharawhara and Petone were replaced by colour lights - but I have not yet obtained all relevant S & Is. Petone was a Switchout signal cabin.

S & I 612

May 1951

Colour light signals replaced semaphores but the old box remained. Normal for signals was clear. Was this the start of the project to commission a new signal box? Petone Junction Cabin replaced with switchlocked siding. Signals were equipped with A-lights and Petone remained a Switch Out signal cabin. Mechanically operated points but colour light signals.

Petone 660

March 1952

New signal box commissioned, with change in designation from cabin to box. Petone became a permanent signal box. The text of S & I 665 is much less informative than earlier diagrams. A-lights removed. Motor points installed on main line points. Signals & points renumbered. Normal for signals is changed to Stop.

Petone 665

June 1952

Signal 66 gantry mounted. Northern Gear siding no longer off main line. Rearrangement of Suburban Siding and Goods Sidings. Shunt signals 68 and 70 installed. Single slip converted to a double slip. Second double slip added (on down main).
Petone 667

October 1952

Signal 74 now gantry mounted. East Siding A and East Siding B commissioned. Signal 6 converted to double unit. Permanent signal box.

Petone 669

July 1958

S & I issued because of singling of Melling Branch. Hutt Road level crossing now closed. 43 points changes - one set of points worked by rod. Permanent signal box.

Petone 824

March 1962

Shunting Indicator installed. Permanent signalbox.

S & I 976

May 1970

S & I 1444. Electrical detection of hand points in yard. Automatic signal numbers metricated. Changes in West sidings - rod operation of 43 and 41 points eliminated. Permanent signal box.

July 1975

A-lights installed and Petone became a switchout signalbox. North and South on diagram reversed - Wellington is now on the left. 11B co-acting signal added.

S & I 1467

August 1983

Co-acting 11BB shunt signal removed. 11B combines the functions of 11A and 11B. East siding A and Gear Siding (south) removed. Gear Siding (north) connection rearranged - connected to East Siding rather than Goods siding. Telephone changes on up platform. Shunt signal removed. Switchout signalbox.

Note that in 1981 the Petone yard was closed to all but private siding and motor vehicle traffic. (Rails Magazine June 1981). By 1982 private siding traffic had ceased and by the end of 1983 part of the Petone yard had been cleared and fenced. (Rails Magazine December 1983).

S & I 1969

September 1990

Both the yard and the suburban platform have been removed. I think that the Suburban platform remained in used after the yard closed but have no evidence. Switchout signalbox.

S & I 2142

October 1996

The yard telephones have been removed and 66 and 65 signals are no longer gantry mounted. Switchout signalbox.
Petone 2500

August 1999

North end cross-over removed. Switchout signalbox.

Petone 2629

November 2012

14 signal replaced with an LED signal on a folding mast due to rust in the pole.


Christmas 2013

It is planned to re-signal Petone with a computer based interlocking and LED signals. The tentative cutover date is the 2013/14 Christmas/New year holiday period.

Last Updated: Fri June 14 2013

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