G'day Stevoid, MRFS and others,
I presume that the circulars mentioning the Special Receptacle are old, dated 1931, 1956. I have not encountered such a Special Receptacle. The mention of Automatic working hints at the reason.
Automatic working in the Down Direction. Indicating that Bomaderry was not continuously manned. Shunting outside of the Home Signal would require an ETS staff for the section to be removed from the instrument, this being prior to the addition of the Outer Home signal.
Originally only qualified traffic staff were permitted to work ETS instruments. Automatic working was much later extended to train loco crew at unmanned staff stations. I would presume that a staff was withdrawn to be kept in the Special Receptacle for use by train crew during unmanned periods, originally Guards being issued with the SL (standard lock) key.
In more recent years after the removal of the freight train guard, train loco crew being issued with the SL key. Also as mentioned in the General Appendix part 2, page 166, for the implementation of pilot working.
The emergency method of working when the ETS system failed was the Proceed Order. I have never suffered a Proceed Order. But, according to older employees, a Proceed Order was a bit of a nightmare. Subsequent emergency working paperwork were likewise a bit of a rigmarole. Pilot working also a method of working trains during periods when the normal safeworking system was not functioning, such working requiring a traffic employee to be on duty at each end of the section.
Divisible miniature ETS was also in operation in various regions of NSW. I have never worked under divisible ETS, and am not sure just where such working was implemented. The ETS staff being divided into Ticket and Staff portions after removal from the instrument. The first train was dispatched under the Ticket portion. The second train was dispatched under the Staff portion, once the following train sectional time had elapsed. When both trains had arrived at the end of the section, the portions of the ETS screwed back together and sunk in the instrument. Train failure under divisible ETS was apparently also a nightmare.
I have worked under Bank Engine Key ETS working. This working was employed here near Bathurst for Tumulla bank. When the assisting engine was attached to the rear and only proceeded to the top of Tumulla, the Key was utilized, removal of the key locking the ETS instruments until the banker had returned and the key restored. The train loco crew being issued the ETS staff for the section, then the Key removed and issued to the bank engine crew.
ETS instrument failure was rare. But, I do know of incidents where an ETS staff was either stolen or misplaced. Plus, one amazing incident when an entire ETS instrument was stolen from an unmanned staff station. The things are very heavy, so would definitely require more than one culprit. Regardless, ETS is still my favourite NSWR safeworking system.
The most recent track diagram of Bomaderry that I possess (2015) indicates that the four frames still exist. Though, naturally ETS working has gone to history, replaced by Rail Vehicle Detection system. Some basic photos of Bomaderry can be found at http://www.nswrail.net/locations/show.p ... t:0#tabs-2