Wellington - Porirua Signals

On Friday 28th March 2014, a week after new computer based signalling was commissioned at Porirua, I travelled from Wellington to Porirua at the front of a Ganz-Mavag EMU. I was on the 1503 all-stops service to Porirua and I photographed signals as we approached them. This will not be possible when the second batch of Matangis enter service in a few years and the Ganz-Mavags are retired.

On this page I document some of these views.

(Right) The Porirua searchlight Up Home signal on Friday 21st March 2014 - its last day of operation. Beside it on a folding mast is the LED signal that will replace it.

Porirua Up Home

Wellington Throat Directors


101 Up Directing signal (left) is cleared for a train via the (U)p Main and 100 Up Directing signal (centre) is cleared for a train via the (M)iddle Main. Both indicate Clear Medium Speed. In this instance the 1505 service to Upper Hutt will use the Up Main and the 1503 service to Porirua the Middle Main, departing from platform 6.

Up Directing


96 Up directing (left) on the Up Main and and 98 Up Directing (right) on the Middle Main both show a Clear Normal Speed indication.

Up Directing Signals

Another director

35 Up Directing (left) on the Up Main and 37 Up Directing (right on the Middle Main. Both signals are displaying Caution Reduce to Medium Speed. 35 signal is the penultimate signal before a possible "wrong route" and is equipped with a route indicator showing (H)utt. On the Middle main there are two more signals before a possible "wrong route" and 37, which is gantry mounted for clearance purposes, does not have a route indicator.

Up Directing Signals At Junction


Approaching the Hutt Road Bridge and Distant Junction 8 Up Directing signal on the Up Main (left) is showing Clear Medium Speed. The route is set for the (H)utt line. In advance of the signal, just past the bridge, the Up Main splits into the Up Hutt and Up NIMT mains. The points can be just seen behind 6 signal.

6 Up Directing on the Middle Main (right) is also indicating Clear Medium Speed and the route is set for (T)awa i.e. the NIMT.   Medium speed is the only indication shown by 6 signal as all trains take the diverging route in advance of the signal to get to the Up NIMT. Hutt trains then use a second cross-over to get to the Up Hutt main.

Middle Main

Middle Main

All up trains on the Middle Main, wihich is signalled for bi-directional working, take the diverging route here because the straight ahead track is the NIMT Down Main.

On the left the Up Main has already split into the Up Hutt and Up NIMT. From left are the Hutt Up; NIMT Up and (past the points) the NIMT Down and Hutt Down. A cross-over (not visible) leads from the Up NIMT to the Up Hutt.

Up Starting Signals


36 Up Starting (left) is cleared for an Upper Hutt train which has departed via the Up Main. This is the only possible route so there is no route indicator.

34 Up Starting (right) is showing Clear Normal Speed with (T)awa on the route indicator. It is for a service to Porirua which departed Wellington on the Middle Main. If an Upper Hutt train departs on the Middle Main then 34 signal will show Clear Medium Speed with (H)utt on the route indicator.

In the distance can be seen the backs of two ground lights. These define Wellington Station Limits on the up mains.



We are out of Wellington Station Limits just past the closed Kaiwharawhara station and the Hutt and NIMT lines are separate. 266 Up intermediate (left) is cleared for the next train to Upper Hutt and 270 up intermediate (right) is cleared for the Porirua service which is about to begin the climb up through tunnels 1 and 2.

Trains that have not passed these intermediates can set back on the verbal authority of the A-Box signalman. Past these signals trains come under the control of the Wellington Controller (NIMT) or the Wairarapa Controller (Hutt). Setting back requires a mis 60. This will change when ASR is introduced.

Ground Based Running Signal

Not a ground light

Intermediate signal 522 at the exit from tunnel 1 is a ground based unit for clearance purposes. The signal is indicating Clear Normal Speed. There are several similar signals in the tunnel.

Express Goods

Express Goods Board

Between the northern portal of tunnel 2 and Takapu Road this board restricts freight trains to 70kph. The restriction is in place because of inadequate signal spacing. Approaching Kenepuru (a little later) we will see an alternative solution to this problem - advance caution.

Note that this must be a very old board because "Express Freight" has long since replaced "Express Goods".

Searchlight Signal

Searchlight signal

The Tawa 16 Up Home signal is one of only a few searchlight signals remaining on this section of the NIMT.

Advance Caution

Advance caution on Advance Caution

No, not Photoshopped!  Intermediate signal 1548 is showing Advance Caution (flashing top yellow). This tells the driver that two sections are clear - the next signal in advance 1640 intermediate is at yellow and the Porirua 702 Up Home signal is at Stop.

1640 Up Intermediate


Intermediate signal 1640 is indicating Caution Reduce to Medium Speed meaning that the Porirua Up Home signal has now been cleared for the approaching train and is displaying a medium speed indication. 1640 signal was installed as part of the Porirua re-signalling in 2014.

The standard in new installations is for intermediate signals to be Stop & Stay and fitted with an A-Light. The A-Light can be turned on to convert the signal to Stop & Proceed when the signal has failed or there is a disabled train in the section in advance. Prior to the re-signalling this was a Stop & Proceed double unit searchlight signal.

Porirua Up Home

Porirua Up Home

The Porirua 702 Up Home signal is showing Red/Yellow Caution Medium Speed Prepare to Stop. (The ambient lighting has confused the camera). The route indicator shows that the route is set for the (D)own Main so the train will berth on the down main. A medium speed move to the (L)oop can also be signalled.

Last Updated: Saturday 29th March 2014

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