Lamp, Railway Signalling; Unknown manufacturer; Unknown; WY.1988.57.1


Lamp, Railway Signalling

About this object

This is a railway guard's signalling lamp. A railway worker could use the lamp to signal the locomotive crew at night to let them know what to do i.e. move forwards, move backwards or right of way when leaving the station, goods yard or siding.

Construction of the railway line between Edendale and Wyndham began in 1879. The line was to extend all the way to Fortrose at the coast via Glenham. Many in the Toitois district (Tokonui, Waikawa etc) opposed the line going through Wyndham rather than through Seawards Bush. The Seawards Bush route was only 17 miles over level or gentle rolling hills at a cost of 2,000 pounds a mile, compared with 41 miles through Wyndham and a cost of 3,000 pounds per mile. Due to construction of the Wyndham line having already begun, the opposition got nowhere, however, the line never made it to the coast. This is likely due to a combination of factors including local politics, rivalries, who should get there first, and the fact that a large amount of government funding had been diverted to the war effort leaving little for the completion of many infrastructure projects which had began in the second half of the 19th century.


Unknown manufacturer

Maker Role


Date Made


Place Made


Medium and Materials

inorganic, processed material, metal, tin
inorganic, processed material, metal, steel
inorganic, processed material, glass

Inscription and Marks

Handwritten in white mark on the left side edge: 'WY8857'


h 350 mm x w 135 mm x d 220 mm

Subject and Association Keywords

Communication (including Diaries and Letters)

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

Attribution (cc) Attribution (cc)

The Project Ark Team 27 Apr 2020 22:58 PM,UTC

Thank you for your comment, we have incorporated some of your information into the cataloguing.
The Project Ark Team

23 Apr 2020 13:32 PM,UTC

The Wyndham and Tokanui railway lines were built almost concurrently - to a degree. The extension to Glenham opened in 1890, while Mokotua had been reached on the Tokanui railway line two years earlier. The Tokanui line extended to Gorge Road in 1895, Waimahaka in 1899, before finally reaching Tokanui in 1911. The Glenham branch line was all in all, only fifteen kilometres in length, compared to the Seaward Downs/Tokanui railway being fifty-four kilometres in length.

The war had nothing to do with construction, it was simply local politics, rivalries, and who-should-get-their-first. It seems ironic then, that the Wyndham railway and the Tokanui railway were to be felled by the same Government in the space of four years; Wyndham went in 1962, Tokanui in 1966.

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