Wye Signal Cabin at Adelaide railyards mooted as centrepiece in new riverside park plan

 
  witsend Chief Commissioner

Location: Front RH Seat of a School Bus
THE historic signal station in the Adelaide railyards would be restored as the centrepiece of a new riverside park under a proposal to be put to the City Council.

The multi-million plan would see the dilapidated, state heritage-listed signal box turned into a cafe, set in a triangular park with a playground bounded by the rail lines east of the Adelaide Gaol.

Cr Mark Hamilton, who will pitch the plan to a council committee next month, said the park would be accessed by an underpass beneath the rail lines from the riverbank path by the weir. "It could be a great cafe and a focal point for the weir area and a terrific city tourist attraction," he said. "You would plant plenty of Australian trees and put seating in there. "It would become a bit of a breakfast spot on Saturdays and Sundays." The plan would rely on the State Government ceding control of the land to the council. Cr Hamilton said the park would have to be bounded by "heritage style" fencing for safety, replacing the current high barbed wire fences. He estimated $5.5 million for the project and a further $1.5 million for a second underpass linking the park to the Adelaide Gaol.

Known as the Wye Signal Cabin, the century old signal box was made redundant in the 1980s when a new rail control centre was built. Cr Hamilton said there were precedents in England of signal stations being saved as cafes. He said the riverside "sanctuary" would be well used, being only a short walk from both the Morphett St bridge and Bonython Park. He also favoured the council eventually taking over and running the gaol as a tourist complex.

City planning general manager David Chick told the City Messenger the council wanted to take control of the land but had no firm position on what to do with it. In an email to Cr Hamilton, Mr Chick said restoring the signal box would be "relatively straightforward" but a site bounded by rail lines was problematic. "Safe access will be an issue (and) as such, active reuse opportunities are limited," he said. "However, interpretative art or lighting could be suggested to the State Government as a possible restoration or interpretation initiative." A spokeswoman for Planning Minister John Rau said: "We will look forward to receiving a proposal from the council." How important is it to restore this historic site?
Tim Williams/City Messenger
Source: AdelaideNow

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  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Not a bad idea, but one thing that he has not worked out fully how are you going to get to it safely. On one side you have the gaol loop and Standard Gauge interstate mainline, on the other two sides you have busy Adelaide metro tracks. Which ever way you get into it is dicing with death really, people in cars and even pedestrians these days just don't look anymore before crossing railway lines. Even flashing lights and gong's and safety gates are no assurance of safety these days. As I said good idea, but bad location though! It would also have to be fenced off securely if it is going to be a playground, a kid wandering off and you have the potential for a disaster. I can see more things wrong with this idea than I can see right actually.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
Source: AdelaideNow
witsend
David, that point was covered in the article. Councillor Hamilton mentioned the need for underpasses from the riverbank to give access to the signal cabin and proposed well fenced park and thence to the gaol precinct which the City Council would take over as a tourist attraction.
I have long considered the old gaol gardens to be an eyesore that lets Adelaide down badly, particularly for travellers on the Great Southern Rail tourist trains, and only yesterday as I passed it on a trip to Outer Harbour and Semaphore decided to suggest a garden, or flooding it for a lake and planting the banks with shrubs
This idea is still better though its cost seems, like most of those today, to be very much too high for what needs to be done. Perhaps it is a measure of how the speculation on the stock exchanges of the world, which gives enormous and unwarranted profits to the few with nothing of worth to show for it, has devalued our currency. There's a hell (just maybe literally for the profiteers) of a difference between speculation and investment in worthwhile value producing enterprises.
I'd like to see something in the rail bounded triangle that can make us proud, and a swan or two gliding about on a small lake with well tended greenery that doesn't hide the city skyline may be all that is necessary.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

The signal cabin is about 4 levels off the garden level. How would you get DDA access to a coffee lounge in the top, it would need a modern glass encased lift tower linked to it.

It would be a good place for watching trains. Smile
  witsend Chief Commissioner

Location: Front RH Seat of a School Bus
The signal cabin is about 4 levels off the garden level. How would you get DDA access to a coffee lounge in the top, it would need a modern glass encased lift tower linked to it.

It would be a good place for watching trains. Smile
steam4ian
I'd so want to mount a Railpage webcam there. Three of them!
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
OK I did not read the Article before making that previous comment however putting in a pedestrian underpass under the current rail lines is not going to be that easy to do it will have to co-ordinated that the rail lines are not shut down for any length of time. But I am with Steam4ian it has to have wheelchair access if you use the top of the cabin for a coffee shop or what ever, it would also need a ramp or stairs to get out of it in an emergency as well as lifts are not to be used in an emergency as power might need to be shut off. So that will entail a lot more thought there. By the time you add the lift and emergency ramps etc you would hardly see the old cabin anymore except from the train going past.

If they have to do something like this then maybe pulling down the WYE cabin might be the better option and build a complex for a coffee shop or whatever that does not require too many ramps etc at closer to ground level. It was not meant to have good public acces to this cabin as the public were not supposed to go there. Also the cabin with operators was just big enough for them to work in comfort of sorts, these cabins are not very big inside though. Good idea to restore the cabin but lets face it it is not very big really up top and is almost at the back of that block as well out of sight to most people. The hole would need filling up a lot as well to get it to a height suitable for this.

I would be more inclined myself if I was designing it to place a new building closer to the actual jail and build into it a public observation area so you can sit and watch the trains go by while sipping on a coffee or having a meal etc. The cabin could then be restored to just stand there and look good though or you could also turn this into a observation type of tower like some American railroads have done for the public and gunzels and yes even have Web Cams on the building as well.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
I would be more inclined myself if I was designing it to place a new building closer to the actual jail and build into it a public observation area so you can sit and watch the trains go by while sipping on a coffee or having a meal etc. The cabin could then be restored to just stand there and look good though or you could also turn this into a observation type of tower like some American railroads have done for the public and gunzels and yes even have Web Cams on the building as well.
David Peters
I think that David's idea has a lot of merit. The cabin, as a railway relic, needs to be altered as little as possible. Perhaps the best option is to lease it to a rail enthusiast group, with the proviso that the cabin be externally restored with its original windows and properly maintained, leaving its interior to be decided by the members. The only access should be via a gated pedestrian crossing over the gaol loop which would also be used for maintenance of the triangle. This was how prisoners crossed to the former gaol vegetable garden.

We already have enough coffee parlours to serve New York, and the logical place for yet another is on the Torrens bank or, as David suggested, adjacent to the gaol. I am concerned primarily with making the area at the rail entrance to the city which all trains must pass something of which Adelaide can be proud. This proposal would also also by far the cheapest to construct and therefore the most likely to be implemented.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
On the surface this looks like a plan (and a cafe) destined to fail. I for one would be horrified if the state government or council of any colour or persuasion sank money into it. It might only be a short walk from the Morphett St bridge, but there would be dozens of cafés even closer, the restaurant at the weir is only marginally further and no one crosses the Morphett Street bridge to get there. It seems the continued solution to perceived needed upgrades in this state is 'I know, let's dress it up and stick a cafe there'... Un-imaginative and boring at best.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

It's called Wye Cabin because wye would you bother? Wye would anybody go there.

Oh I know, Holden workers could get jobs as barristers and waiters, better than skilled fitters and machinists being expected to become old people's bottom wipers.

What can happen early in the project is that the demolishers can be a bit careless with the angle grinder or oxy torch and burn the whole thing down.
  Guard Class 2 Chief Commissioner

Location: Elizabeth,South Australia
I would have thought Holden's workers would need a LOT of retraining to become barristers (aka hyped up lawyers).
Perhaps though, they could become baristas with minimal retraining.

Seriously, I agree that this is definitely a case of "Wrongplace, wrongtime"
No one would go out of their way to somewhere almost in the middle of nowhere just to get a coffee (and watch the trains go past).
  nm39 Chief Commissioner

Location: By a road taking pictures
to become barristers (aka hyped up lawyers).
Guard Class 2
Actually the term "barrister" is not just a hyped up "lawyer". A lawyer is someone who practices in law. There are two types of lawyers in this country- Barristers, who have passed the Bar exam and can represent people in court and Solicitors who haven't and just do a lot of lobbying to perhaps negotiate settlements or prepare a case for the barrister. However, I don't think either of them could have saved Holdens from closure- That decision was made by the man with the gold.

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE GOLDEN RULE- THE MAN WITH THE GOLD MAKES THE RULES.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
*Laughing at the result of a spelling mistake*

As a few have already mentioned, the last thing needed is yet another caffine dispensary in the middle of "nowhere"
  2001 Moderator The Snow Lord

Location: The road jump at Charlotte Pass. Paxman Valenta on two planks.

No one would go out of their way to somewhere almost in the middle of nowhere just to get a coffee (and watch the trains go past).
Guard Class 2
Spot on.

The triangle sits in isolation, and unless they have a plan to have free-range koalas and a giant waterslide, there ain't going to be anything to lure the citizens there. Merely a few hundred metres to the west is the immensely popular Bonython Park. Ample and free car parking, huge areas of lawn, modern play equipment and a kiosk. The car park is usually crammed to near capacity on weekends.

And this bloke in the council thinks Mum and Dad are going to drag the kiddies and picnic basket up along a path, through two pedestrian tunnel-urinals to arrive on a teeny parcel of land, for the sake of a few playthings and a coffee shop ?

I don't regard the triangle as an eyesore, as the area has recently been tidied, and whenever I'm on the train, the other passengers seem to prefer gawking at the new hospital and SAHMRI spaceship.  And it's we passengers who alone see that triangle. Out of sight for all else.

The estimate is $5.5 million. But then again, it seems the city council isn't short on cash. There's plenty being spent (some say"wasted") rebuilding Rundle Mall and Vic Square
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I have not seen the Mall yet with my own eyes but Victoria Square I have and it looks like it is going to be another Rundle Mall revamp, mostly concrete and brick and probably most uninviting. They have poured and awful lot of concrete into that square so far and it has a way to go till it is finished. But it is never going to look as good as the vast amount of green grass and trees that were there before the upgrade or is that downgrade, I reckon it might be the later. Bare and sterile!


I can see another project like this that could be doomed to failure before it even start's, the project at North Adelaide station, don't get me wrong I am not against this type of thing but just look at some facts it is again off the beaten track and isolated. No main roads anywhere near it bar, War Memorial Drive and that is only used by most motorist to park their cars to either go to work or to play golf or go jogging or similar or as a short cut to somewhere else. It is not a busy road at any time really. The restaurant that was there before closed because of not enough business was forth coming.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
It's called Wye Cabin because wye would you bother? Wye would anybody go there.

Oh I know, Holden workers could get jobs as barristers and waiters, better than skilled fitters and machinists being expected to become old people's bottom wipers.

What can happen early in the project is that the demolishers can be a bit careless with the angle grinder or oxy torch and burn the whole thing down.
"steam4ian"
Lease it to pigeon fanciers, they can use it as a race loft, pigeons don't care about DDA access, they hardly have a use for the lower levels.
  trainlover Assistant Commissioner

Location: Adelaide.
Has Anybody spoken to the occupents of the Wye cabin? about this.

It has been home to many pigeons over the years since its closure as a working signal cabin and probally require a lot of cleaning in their.

Evection notices coming soon?

I hope not.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
One question though that needs to be asked of the councillor how many people could fit into it with tables and chairs as well in there. Anyone who has been to the NRM and been into or even seen the Woodville signal cabin there would tell you the cabin up top is not very big, I estimate it is about as large as Woodville Cabin. You are not going to get many people in there at all without a lot of crowding and pushing and shoving. If it cannot be used for anything then really it wants to be demolished and got rid of, it will only get progressively worse over time till it reaches the stage of it has to be pulled down for safety's sake. Nothing last's for ever though out in the weather and the elements. If it could be pulled down and rebuilt somewhere else it would be a good idea but where, the NRM already have a working signal cabin and no room for another one. If no one can use it then demolishing it is the best thing before it collapses!
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Has Anybody spoken to the occupents of the Wye cabin? about this.

It has been home to many pigeons over the years since its closure as a working signal cabin and probally require a lot of cleaning in their.

Evection notices coming soon?

I hope not.
"trainlover"
The cricket was in town last week, somebody should have asked Bill Lawry to have chat.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
The only access should be via a gated pedestrian crossing over the gaol loop which would also be used for maintenance of the triangle.......
I am concerned primarily with making the area at the rail entrance to the city which all trains must pass something of which Adelaide can be proud. This proposal would also by far the cheapest to construct and therefore the most likely to be implemented.
SAR526
I am quoting myself. In the understandable desire to make fun of an impractical suggestion of coffee lounges and underpasses, there has been no comment by other members about the possibility that a substantial improvement in the appearance of the rail entrance to Adelaide could be reasonably cheap.

At present, it is an unkempt mess that is seen by half of the passengers of every train that passes it, including the Indian Pacific and the Ghan. A simple low maintenance  treatment of the area with shrubs and a possible water feature (there was once another impractical and expensive proposal to start boat races there by an extension of the Torrens lake) should be all that is necessary.

Perhaps the opinion of many interstate people that Adelaide is an insignificant large country town (of which I became only too well aware during the nearly 30 years that I lived in Melbourne) comes partly from such easily remedied deficiencies in the maintenance of our parklands and built environment.

Are you content to leave it as it is, or not? If so, why? Remember that the only possibility that this forum may influence the opinions and actions of the relevant authorities lies in their respect for the quality of the ideas expressed in our discussions.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I am quoting myself. In the understandable desire to make fun of an impractical suggestion of coffee lounges and underpasses, there has been no comment by other members about the possibility that a substantial improvement in the appearance of the rail entrance to Adelaide could be reasonably cheap.

At present, it is an unkempt mess that is seen by half of the passengers of every train that passes it, including the Indian Pacific and the Ghan. A simple low maintenance  treatment of the area with shrubs and a possible water feature (there was once another impractical and expensive proposal to start boat races there by an extension of the Torrens lake) should be all that is necessary.

Perhaps the opinion of many interstate people that Adelaide is an insignificant large country town (of which I became only too well aware during the nearly 30 years that I lived in Melbourne) comes partly from such easily remedied deficiencies in the maintenance of our parklands and built environment.

Are you content to leave it as it is, or not? If so, why? Remember that the only possibility that this forum may influence the opinions and actions of the relevant authorities lies in their respect for the quality of the ideas expressed in our discussions.
SAR526
Trouble is making it look a bit better, will only attract undesirables to the location, homeless, drunks, drug users etc as 2001 said it is isolated so that would help the lot of them there. Might be better to just fill in the hole and plant some trees alongside the current jail loop to hide it. Or put up a wire mesh fence with green material on it and leave a strip of nicely cultivated area between the fence and the rail lines, trees and low shrubs etc. It could then still be used for storage of track components or whatever that are needed for Adelaide Yard maintenance. Having all this in one spot would look a lot neater than having it spread all over the place as is now. You could even put the track machines in there as well if you lay a few simple sidings off of the existing tracks.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
Trouble is making it look a bit better, will only attract undesirables.....
David Peters
If there's no shelter and the only access is via a gated path over the gaol loop, the only people who would need, or even want to be there, would be Adelaide City Council gardeners who would occasionally visit to tidy up. I envisage it being filled with very low maintenance flowering shrubs so that the city skyline and hospital will be visible over the space. It's a matter of a neat area against the present eyesore. A water feature would be nice, but not necessary.

As for the signal box, it should either be spruced up, have its windows restored and be used by a train watching group with a key to the gaol loop crossing as their only access, or be demolished. They would be responsible for maintaining it. It is an embarrassment as it is.
  Sojourner Train Controller

Cost would no doubt cause it to be a non starter, but if they wish to be rid of it because its an eyesore, it would be good to see it moved to SASSMEE or similar where people might enjoy and appreciate it, yet at the end of the day someone has to pay for that to happen, so the likely scenario is that it will continue to deteriorate sadly enough.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Ian might be better placed to tell us, but I can't see SASMEE having the requisite room to place the cabin. Just demolish it and be done with it. Too much is left standing in the name of 'heritage' or even worse 'preservation' without adequate thought as to where the upkeep funds will come from and who does the work.

I don't have a precise problem with the area remaining essentially as it is, the area lacks some visual amenity, but it's hardly a problem. Friends of mine on the journey on the IP commented on the Salisbury and Islington scenery and seemingly never noticed the loop at Adelaide. As they said 'guess you travel by rail and you'll get to see rail yards and loops and tracks and stuff'.

As I hinted before, I think there are more pressing locations for money expenditure, the loop area is not high on the priority list. If it were, and if it is to be spent to improve the amenity for Ghan and IP travelers then I think it would be uncontraversial to suggest the PRIVATE company operating those trains to cough up the dough for it from their own pockets.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I agree, the rotting shell of the cabin should be demolished. With the internals gutted and the exterior having no architectural merit, I fail to see how it could possibly contribute anything to the "heritage" movement. It could be argued that the abuse of the heritage listing schemes to preserve anything old regardless of merit gets in the way of good stuff being done with the items which deserve to have money and effort spent - both by the siphoning off of funds and by inducing the rolling of eyes every time the h-word is mentioned.

A small information/photo board next to Gaol Road would do a far better job of honouring the previous use of the wye cabin than leaving a decrepit eyesore there.

It has to be said that the railways in Australia are pretty poor at cleaning up after themselves when they abandon land, it would be good if they were forced to remediate the land they abandoned after they're done with it.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I too would rather see it demolished than left to fall down eventually, it is no longer a signal cabin anyway with the interior gutted out of it, it is simply a shell of a building that no one really wants in the first place. I am all for keeping old buildings, if a use can be found for them though, but in this instance the building is of no real use to anyone at all so demolish it and get it over with. It is only going to get worse as time goes on though.

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