Trackside Infrastructure

The museum's train order signal
Train Order Signal

Train order signals were used at stations on the South Australian Railways to indicate to an approaching train if it needed to stop to pickup a new train order. If the arm was up the train did not need to stop, if it was down it would need to stop and pick up a new order.

The Glenelg line signal on display in the main pavilion
Glenelg Line Signal

This wooden signal was originally set up at Thebarton to control trains on the now closed North Glenelg Railway Line. A plaque is now located on the site of the original Thebarton platform at Mile End.

A disc signal at the museum
Disc Signal

Some station yards had disc signals. The museum has a variety of this type of signal on display.

A dwarf signal used on our 451mm guage railway at the museum
Dwarf signal

Dwarf signals were a modern replacement for disc signals in some yards.

A switch stand at the museum

A switch stand is device which enabled a set of points (leads) to be changed by a lever being turned 90 degrees.


A switch lock is used in rail safety procedures to ensure that safe working practice was applied in the operation of manually changed switches. Its purpose is to prevent the switch from being moved manually as a train approaches.

The former Eurelia water column

Water columns were erected at stations, yards and stopping points for the dispensing of water to steam locomotives. The museum has two columns on display - the old Appamurra water column (located between the book shop and the main pavilion) which is now used to top up the tanks of our narrow gauge steam locomotive 'Peronne' when it is in use for special events, and the old Eurelia column which is located outside of the Commonwealth Railways Museum pavilion.


Pre-stressed concrete sleepers were used on the standard gauge line between Tarcoola and Alice Springs when it was constructed from June 1978. On display are the first and the 500,000th sleeper manufactured by the Readymix Costain Joint Venture.

A whistle sign at the museum

Whistle signs were used to instruct locomotive drivers to blow their whistles or horns at an appropriate safe distance from level crossings, blind junctions, sidings, stations etc.