Beech Forest was the original terminus of the line. The station was remarkable for having a delta crossover and a reversing loop with a tennis court in the middle. The yard has been built on, but the loop (in a shallow cutting) and the tennis court were evident when I last visited the site in 2001. I wonder how often rule 2(e) (see below) was broken?
Common belief has it that the balloon loop was built after the extension to Crowes. However according to Norman Houghton in The Beechy
"The balloon loop was an afterthought and not considered by VR engineers until 1902 when the problem of turning the rolling stock to even wheel wear was bought up. The engineers considered using either a turntable or a triangle before deciding on a loop. The plans for the loop were not drawn until late 1902 and even then the construction proceeded in fits and starts over the next four months."
Provided with up and down home signals.
Line to Crowes opened.
Special instructions for working of reversing loop.
The General Appendix to the Rules and Regulations states: (The punctuation is theirs WR)
At Beech Forest Station, there is a Reversing Loop at the Down end, and the following instructions must be observed in connection with the crossing of trains:-
When trains are to cross the first train to arrive must, after the Platform work has been completed, run round the Reversing Loop, and return on to the same road as that on which it arrived. The Station-master or person in charge must see that an employe is available to move the Points for this purpose. After the train has been brought to a stand, and it is seen that the line on which the second train will arrive is quite clear, the necessary Fixed Signal may be exhibited to admit the second train to the Station.
The Fixed Signal must not be exhibited to admit a train to the Station whilst a train is being run round the Loop.
The Loop must be regarded as a Running Line in the Station Yard, and must be kept clear for trains to cross. This order does not, however, prohibit it for being used for shunting purposes, but vehicles must not be left standing on it after shunting operations have been completed.
When trains are to cross the train from Colac should arrive on, and depart from No. 1 Road, and the train from Crowes should arrive on, and depart from, No. 2 Road. Trains must be placed so that passengers may easily join them.
Passengers must not be conveyed in any train whilst it is travelling round the Loop.
Distances to stations beyond Beech Forest were measured around the loop. Thus adding 22ch (440 m) to their distance.
The delta crossover (often incorrectly called a scissors crossover) was the only one on the V.R. Narrow Gauge lines. Puffing Billy has the crossover, but it is too worn to use.
Provision of siding to cattle yards.
I presume that this also included the link from the "main" line to Crowes as well. The main line end of this link was staff locked in spite of being within the yard limits.