Signal Box Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation
The decommissioning of the Newcastle Signal Box at the end of December 2014 marked the end of an era. Built in 1936, the Signal Box was advanced for its time, featuring electro-pneumatic levers for track switching and compressed air for the manipulation of the switching gear. Following its decommissioning the signal box was converted to an upscale restaurant, https://signalbox.com.au/, in the heritage Newcastle Railway Station and Market Street Lawn precinct, with the internal equipment preserved in-situ. O’Sullivan Conservation (OSC) was engaged by the Hunter & Central Coast Development Corporation (HCCDC), https://www.hccdc.nsw.gov.au/revitalising-newcastle, in 2018 to conserve the movable equipment in the signal box’s interior, including the illuminated signal board, the indicator box and associated pressure gauge, the circuit diagram box, the cast-iron spiral staircase, and the original Westinghouse electro-pneumatic miniature lever power interlocking machine with its two oil cans. The power interlocking machine proved to be a particular challenge, as an elevated work platform (EWP) was required for access from below, and access from above necessitated the placement of aluminium planks across the upper floor’s steel support beams and the use of a fall arrest system.
Following treatment, O’Sullivan Conservation provided a full report to the client with details of the treatment carried out. OSC’s services were retained for regular maintenance of the signal box’s movable components; this contract is ongoing.
Members of the public are encouraged to visit the state heritage listed site, through the visit Newcastle website https://www.visitnewcastle.com.au/see-do/things-to-do/newcastle-signal-box.