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Walking distance to town - is how the advertisement reads for the property for rent at 116 Williamson Street in Bendigo.
Maybe it should say - close to transport?
The double story faded yellow and brown weatherboard building is an old signal box built right next to the railway lines and was used to house the mechanical signalling equipment needed to guide trains.
The technology used to manually operate the lights and gates ceased to exist in the 1980s but some of the buildings still remain.
Advertised at $160 per week it is not far from the median rent of $165 per week for Greater Bendigo according to Craig Webster, chairman of the REIV Bendigo Division.
"Apartment living has become more popular in the key regional centres in recent years, with more supply becoming available," said Mr Webster.
With statistics showing that more people are now living alone than in the past, the demand for apartment living has increased.
"One bedroom units showed a bigger percentage rental increase in the March quarter than any other type of property in regional Victoria."
Eighteen year old university student Mitchell Wicks attended the open for inspection as he is looking to be closer to university.
"It's convenient and it's in the centre of town and it's pretty old, so it seems kind of cool," he said.
Having lived near train lines before, he wasn't bothered by the potential noise factor from the close proximity of trains.
But ex-signal box operator Ian Philpot who has worked in many signal boxes including the Williamson Street site, wasn't so keen.
"I wouldn't live there myself," he said.
Known as Bendigo C box, Ian spent six years working in the building from 1980 to 1986, when it was closed.
Classified by the National Trust it was filled with close to 30 levers, a gate wheel, and a telephone system operated by one staff member at a time over three shifts: the nightshift, midnight to 8am; day shift, 8am to 4pm and afternoon shift from 4pm to midnight.
"It was manned 24 hours except for the weekend when they had skeleton shifts," said Ian.
Because there was such a large amount of time between the infrequent trains, radio was often the only company for the lone worker on the eight-hour shift.
"It got a bit lonely at times," said Ian.
Others took to sleeping to get through the night shift as there were only two trains scheduled.
"We did what anyone else would do, we put a mattress down on the floor of the signal box and waited for the train to come," said Ian.
In this small environment, apart from the equipment there was only a toilet, sink and kettle so some workers embarked on more challenging pursuits to get through the shift.
"Some people actually studied for diplomas or degrees up there," said Ian.
Even though Ian could not imagine living in his former place of work, he is in favour of the building being available for rental.
"Normally what happens to these buildings is that once they become obsolete they get bulldozed," he said.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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