Eastern Railway (Western Australia)

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Eastern Railway (Western Australia)
0 mi Fremantle
0.5 mi Fremantle North
1.25 mi Fremantle East
6 mi Claremont
9 mi Subiaco
11.5 mi Perth, North
12 mi Perth
12.5 mi Perth, East
20 mi Guildford
Forrestfield freight line
Upper Darling Range Railway
Bellevue
Helena Vale Racecourse
First Route
Greenmount
Boya
Darlington
29 mi Glen Forrest
Nyaania
Mahogany Creek
Zamia
Mundaring
Mundaring Weir Branch Line
35 mi Sawyers Valley
Second Route - 1st half
Swan View
Tunnel Junction
Swan View Tunnel
National Park
Hovea
Parkerville
Stoneville
Second Route - 2nd half
38.75 mi Mount Helena
41.23 mi Chidlow
Wooroloo
Werribee
Wundowie
Coates
Baker's Hill
Clackline
Mokine
Spencer's Brook
Spring Hill
Northam
Eastern Goldfields Railway
Kalgoorlie
to Port Augusta via Trans-Australian Railway
Current line where it leaves the Swan coastal plain, and follows the Avon River through the Darling Scarp to Toodyay

Eastern Railway was the name given to the railway constructed east of Fremantle, Western Australia, through Perth to Guildford in the period 1879-1881.

First section[edit]

Eastern Rail reserve in Bellevue. Looking east from near the site of the Bellevue station, behind is Greenmount

The first sod of the Fremantle-Guildford Railway was turned by Governor Ord at Guildford on 3 June 1879. The event coincided with the celebration of the 50th Jubilee of settlement of Western Australia.[1] The alignment of the first section of the railway, from Fremantle to Guildford, has remained generally unchanged since it opened on 1 March 1881.

The centenary of the railway was celebrated on 1 March 1981 [2][3]

Station Miles Notes
Fremantle 0
Fremantle East 0.5
Fremantle North 1.25
Claremont 6
Subiaco 9
Perth, North 11.5
Perth 12
Perth, East 12.5
Guildford 20

Source: West Australian Government Gazette of 1885, 5 January

First Route[edit]

The First Route was opened on 11 March 1884. The route ascended the escarpment around Greenmount Hill passing through Boya, Darlington, Glen Forrest, Mundaring and Sawyers Valley before turning north to White's Mill. A significant delay in construction was experienced at a site which became popularly known as 'Devil's Terror' - a location between Darlington and Glen Forrest. Clay was struck when a cutting was under construction followed by an underground stream. The resulting flooding turned the clay into a bottomless bog. The rail had to be moved 100 metres south, along the bed of Nyaania Creek which was diverted into a specially constructed channel.

Station Miles Notes
Greenmount 24
Cape Horn Location of December 1885 of the 'C' class locomotive accident[4]
Smith's Mill 29 Later known as Glen Forrest
Sawyers Valley 35
White's Mill 38.75 Later known as Lion Mill, and then Mount Helena
Chidlow's Well 41.23

Source: West Australian Government Gazette of 1885, 5 January

It soon became apparent that this route was too steep for the increasingly heavier trains and engines required for the route. As a result, another route was quickly devised in the 1890s.

After the completion of the Second Route, this line became known in Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) records as the Smith's Mill Branch, then the Mundaring Branch, and later as the Mundaring Loop.

Eastern Railway 1897 detail.JPG

Passenger traffic ceased between Boya and Mount Helena on 24 January 1954 and the route was closed from Koongamia - Mount Helena on 12 March 1965.

The current condition of the stations on this route today are as follows:

Station Notes
Bellevue The station platform and buildings were removed during the construction of the third route.
Greenmount The station platform and buildings were removed in the 1960s.
Boya (including Mountain Quarries siding) The station buildings (and the Cape Horn alignment) were removed by Mundaring shire during the re-alignment of Coulston Road. The goods shed was removed by the Glen Forrest Primary School P&C in November 1962.
Darlington The station buildings were removed in the 1960s - the platform and grounds are now part of a reserve.
Glen Forrest The station platform and buildings were removed in the 1960s. One signal remains. The station masters house is used by the local historical society.
Nyaania Nothing remains of this stopping place.
Mahogany Creek Nothing remains of this stopping place.
Zamia Nothing remains of this stopping place
Mundaring (21 miles 3 chains, 30.86 km) Platform and grounds have been turned into part of the Mundaring Community Sculpture Park
Sawyers Valley
Mount Helena (25 miles 37 chains, 40.98 km)
Chidlow (29 miles 6 chains, 46.79 km)

The Eastern Railway was then later extended beyond Northam to the Kalgoorlie goldfields. The line was known as the Eastern Goldfields Railway.

Second Route[edit]

An ADE/ADE class railcar/trailer combination operating a Katanning to Perth service near Clackline, 1944.

Also known as the Parkerville deviation, Second Route via Swan View, John Forrest National Park, Hovea, Parkerville and Stoneville, through to Mount Helena opened on 1 July 1896, within a decade after the First Route. Its grades were less strenuous and the line didn't suffer from the more serious problems of the first route. The line was originally only a single track and featured Western Australia's first (and only until 1990) railway tunnel. As traffic increased the newer route was duplicated, with the second track bypassing the tunnel, resulting in a slightly longer journey for trains heading across the Darling Scarp. The Second Route eventually closed on 13 February 1966.

Station Notes
Bellevue Named 24 May 1897 - also branch line to Helena Vale Racecourse - the stopping place for Blackboy Hill Camp during World War I (not Swan View).
Swan View Station opened 1921, closed 1962. Some maps and plans include a stopping place east of the Swan View Tunnel known as Tunnel Junction(15 miles 41c.)
National Park
Hovea
Parkerville
Stoneville
Mount Helena
Chidlow
Wooroloo
Werribee
Wundowie
Coates
Baker's Hill
Clackline
Mokine
Spencer's Brook
Spring Hill
Northam

Third Route - Avon Valley[edit]

The Indian Pacific passing under Great Eastern Highway in Bellevue

In the 1940s, it became clear to the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) that the original Eastern Railway alignments were not suitable for future traffic and the loadings that were to be carried between the coast and the areas east of the Darling Scarp.

It was not until the 1960s that a new eastern railway route was commissioned to run through the Avon Valley, further north than existing Eastern Railway alignments. The Third route was originally built with timber sleepers and 94 lb rail. It was later upgraded using heavy (60 kg) continuously welded rail laid on new concrete sleepers during the late 1970s through into the early 1980s. It features much milder grades and is designed for faster train speeds.

It is a dual gauge standard gauge and 3' 6" narrow gauge) double line throughout its entirety, also including a few crossing loop sections, where there are 3 tracks. These loops are located at Jumperkine, Moondyne and Toodyay West. Numerous cuttings were also constructed, including the deep Windmill Hill Cutting east of Toodyay.

This new route was opened on 13 February 1966[5] and coincided with the closure of the earlier two routes of the Eastern Railway. The line is still operational and is used by all rail freight to the east as well as the Transwa Prospector and Transwa Avonlink running frequently on the route.

Current conditions[edit]

The original Eastern Railway alignments still survive today, in the form of a shared path used for cycling, horse riding and walking, see below re the built up are in the Mundaring area as the 'Rail Reserves Heritage Trail'. Further east and beyond that trail, is the Kep Trail,[6] from Mundaring through to Northam.

The original section from Fremantle to Perth to Midland is still in use as part of Transperth's suburban rail network and the Western Australian rail freight network.

Railway Reserves Heritage Trail[edit]

Cyclist preparing at the Bellevue end of the Railway Reserve Heritage trail
See also Railway Reserves Heritage Trail

The Railway Reserves Heritage Trail is the result of the Mundaring Shire Council being allocated funds from a number of external authorities to maintain and improve the old railway alignment as a walking trail. Between 2004–2006, the trail has had considerable signage and track maintenance conducted along the trail.

It is also utilised for the annual Trek the Trail event conducted in conjunction between Mundaring and Hills Historical Society, the Mundaring Shire Council and the Mundaring Visitor Centre. The event was conducted between Wooroloo and Chidlow in 2004,and Mount Helena and Parkerville in 2005, in 2006 event was between Mundaring and Darlington.

The Shire of Mundaring and the Mundaring Arts Centre in 2006 has conducted an invitational group art exhibition called From Track to Trail.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Jubilee". The Inquirer & Commercial News. 4 June 1879. p. 3. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  2. ^ Minchin, R. S; Higham, G. J; Australian Railway Historical Society. Western Australian Division (1981), Robb's railway : Fremantle to Guildford railway centenary 1881-1981, Australian Railway Historical Society, West Australian Division, ISBN 978-0-9599690-2-3 
  3. ^ for subsequent 125th seeHigham, G. J. (Geoffrey J.); Australian Railway Historical Society. Western Australian Division (2006), All stations to Guildford : 125 years of the Fremantle to Guildford railway, Rail Heritage WA (Australian Railway Historical Society, W.A. Division), retrieved 9 October 2012 
  4. ^ Gunzburg, Adrian (1984) A History of WAGR Steam Locomotives ARHS (WA Division) ISBN 0-9599690-3-9 - page 23 regarding accident of C class locomotive - and system - wide change of braking systems as a result.
  5. ^ Zeplin, N (1967) The Avon Valley Deviation Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, December 1967 pp253-265
  6. ^ http://www.keptrack.com.au/

Further reading[edit]

  • Affleck, Fred N.(1978) On track: the making of Westrail, 1950 to 1976 . Perth: Westrail. ISBN 0-7244-7560-5
  • Australian Railways Historical Society, W.A. Division The Kalgoorlie 1897-1971.
  • Elliot, Ian (1983) Mundaring a History of the Shire ISBN 0-9592776-0-9
  • Finlayson, Don (1986) Steam around Perth ARHS WA
  • Gunzburg, Adrian (1984) A History of WAGR Steam Locomotives ARHS WA ISBN 0-9599690-3-9
  • Quinlan, Howard & Newland, John R. (2000) Australian Railway Routes 1854-2000 ISBN 0-909650-49-7
  • Watson, Lindsay (1995) The Railway History of Midland Junction ISBN 0-646-24461-2