Loftus Junction railway signal box | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Loftus Junction railway signal box

Item details

Name of item: Loftus Junction railway signal box
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Signal Box
Location: Lat: -34.048086 Long: 151.051427
Primary address: Illawarra Railway, Loftus, NSW 2232
Local govt. area: Sutherland
Local Aboriginal Land Council: La Perouse
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT2 DP1183944


The listing boundary is the area immediately around the box to a distance of approximately 10m to all sides including the points.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Illawarra RailwayLoftusSutherland  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government03 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

This is the best surviving example of a small signal box for a remote function from the Victorian period. The building is of excellent proportion, of high visual quality and in relation to the adjacent tramway museum forms an extremely important element of the south coast railway system. The box has a typically elevated floor to allow the signal equipment to operate under it and was designed to work the junction points and signals. The building has a pitched gable ended corrugated iron roof without eaves overhang. Access is through a door in the up end and a small timber staircase. Windows extend around three sides. The scale of the building is small reflecting the size of the location.
Date significance updated: 10 Jul 14
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Construction years: 1886-1886
Physical description: CONTEXT
The Loftus Signal Box and 2 concrete drop-slab location huts are on railway land within the railway corridor east of Loftus Avenue, opposite the intersection of Loftus Avenue and Nattai Street, Loftus.

Exterior: The signal box has painted brick foundations approx 1m in height. It is a small freestanding gabled weatherboard rectangular building with timber barge boards, and simple short finials with triangular tops. The building has a painted corrugated steel roof without any eaves overhang. A corrugated steel roofed and walled skillion section on the western side is at ground level. Window openings and door to the building have been covered over. On the north side of the building, outside the entry door, is a concrete deck with timber steps and a pipe railing. There is an old fluorescent light and a downpipe across the north elevation.

Interior: No equipment extant.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Signal Box: Moderate. The guttering to the building is deteriorated.
Date condition updated:23 Nov 12
Modifications and dates: 1891: Interlocking removed
1926: single line branch auto signalling
1991: frame removed
N.d: Corrugated steel addition to side.
Current use: Disused
Former use: Signal Box


Historical notes: The Illawarra Railway was opened from Sutherland to Waterfall in 1886, being constructed by William Rowe and W. Smith. The branch line was also opened in 1886 to a station named Loftus which was the terminus of a single line of 1.6 kilometres for military traffic, the National Park then being an army training reserve. The Loftus Junction Signal box was also constructed at this time.

The line was duplicated in 1890 and electrified in 1926.

Initially the timber signal box was built on the southern end of a small timber platform station named Loftus Junction and this was the first signal and track interlocked point on the Illawarra Line, though the National Park was not interlocked until the 1926 electrification. In 1888 the National Park was set aside for public recreation, and the station was then renamed ‘National Park’ undergoing various changes until finally becoming The Royal National Park in 1955. In 1899 a short length of double line was opened from Loftus Junction to a short distance along the branch line to cope with the growth of rail traffic, but in 1944 this was converted back to a single track connection.

Loftus Junction station was renamed Loftus in 1896 and because its location was difficult for starting ‘Down’ trains on the rising 1 in 40 grade, the platforms were moved back towards Sydney in 1917, leaving the original signal box in an isolated situation.

The concrete location huts are likely to have been constructed between 1917-1924 with precast panels manufactured at the Auburn cement works (Dawbin & Love, 2005).

After closure in 1991, most of the internal equipment was removed from the signal box and the windows boarded up.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements (none)-

Assessment of significance

Integrity/Intactness: The junction and trackage which related to the signal box have been removed, and therefore the context has lost significance. The signal box is now disused. The building has been repainted and windows covered over. Equipment has been removed from the interior. The integrity of the overall structure is low.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0118202 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5012083

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