Bennett Brook Railway

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Bennett Brook Railway
Bennett Brook Railway logo.png
Bbrng15123logo.jpg
Overview
StatusOperating as a tourist railway
OwnerWest Australian Light Rail Preservation Association
LocaleWhiteman, Western Australia
Stations
  • Whiteman Village Junction (formerly Central)
  • Mussel Pool
  • Kangaroo Flats
  • Zamia (formerly Maine)
Websitebbr.org.au Edit this at Wikidata
Service
TypeLight Rail
Operator(s)West Australian Light Rail Preservation Association (WALRPA)
Depot(s)Mussel Pool Workshops
History
Opened1984
Technical
Line lengthApprox 6 kilometres (3.7 mi)
Track gauge2 ft (610 mm)
Operating speed20 km/h (12 mph)
Bennett Brook Railway
Mussel Pool
railway yard
& workshops
pedestrian path
Bennett Brook
Whiteman Drive West
Whiteman Village Junction
park management track
pedestrian path
park management track
park management track
park management track
One Duck Lagoon
Kangaroo Flats station
pedestrian path
pedestrian path
Zamia station

The Bennett Brook Railway is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge tourist oriented railway operated by the West Australian Light Railway Preservation Association and is located within the boundaries of Whiteman Park, 19 kilometres (12 mi) from Perth.

History[edit]

The Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association (WALRPA) was formed on 26 April 1976 by a group of rail enthusiasts who shared an interest in less well known railways of Western Australia.[1]

Following the closing of the Lake View and Star Gold Mine in Kalgoorlie in the mid-1970s, four of the founding members purchased the railway's first locomotive - an LV&S 'Planet' Locomotive (which still operates at the railway - the Atlantic Planet). The Planet first was located at a member's property in the Perth Hills, on 17 September 1976.

In 1977, the group proposed to develop a railway at Whiteman Park. Five submissions were received in total, 3 for a 610 mm (2 ft) railway, one for a 7+14 in (184 mm) railway, similar to the railway located at Castledare, and finally a submission to re-locate the Australian Railway Historical Society.

From 1977 to 1982, referred to as the negotiation period, the group also submitted proposals for an operational railway to El Caballo Blanco in Wundowie, The Maylands Peninsula Redevelopment, the former Upper Darling Range Railway (From Kalamunda to Goosberry Hill, and a Mandurah tourist development.

The closure of the Bristile & Wunderlich Brickworks in Belmont saw the donation of a number of hoppers and other rail items. The railway acquired a locomotive and a number of hoppers from the Maylands Brickworks.

In 1982, development and restoration continued in the Perth Hills, until 16 August, when the WALRPA was advised by Metropolitan Region Planning Authority that their submission for a 610 mm (2 ft) railway at Whiteman Park had been successful. On 18 September 1982, the first equipment was placed at Whiteman Park.

In 1983, two former Whiteman Brick locomotives - "Ridley 2" and "Yellow Rose" were acquired.

In June, the C passenger wagons (built on the Maylands Brickworks hoppers) and the Maylands locomotive were moved to Whiteman Park, hauling the first work train on 9 July, and the Planet Locomotive followed on 11 August.

Track laying began on 18 January 1984, and reached "Central" Station on 18 November the same year. Also in 1984, the WALRPA purchased the former Claisebrook railway station to be placed at Central Station (The building arrived in March of that year), acquired a 60 ft Turntable from Midland Workshops, and in March they were notified of their success in a tender for two SAR NG15 steam locomotives (#118 & #123).

8 December 1984 was the official opening of the Bennett Brook Railway, and Peter Dowding MLA (The Patron of the Organisation), with some assistance, drove the first passenger train out of Central Station.[2]

Operations[edit]

The railway operates passenger services primarily on weekends, public holidays and school holidays, with some midweek services during school terms.

Held biannually, the railway runs a Friends of Ashley Day (formerly known as Friends of Thomas the Tank Engine),[3] which sees most of the railway's volunteers, locomotives and passenger carriages in operation. This is usually held in May and September which sees the start and end of the railway's steam season.

Enthusiast's days are also held occasionally. They are held in winter so there are no restrictions on steam operations. Most operating engines are involved in interesting freight and passenger trains.

Locomotives[edit]

September to May is fire season, so diesel engines will operate all services.

May to September is steam season, steam engines may operate weekend services when available and diesel engines will operate all other services.

Dates are approximate and are dependent on park conditions and approval.

Model Name Former operator Condition Wheel arrangement Comments Coupler(s) Image
SAR NG15 123 Fremantle South African Railways Operational 2-8-2 Returned to service 2022 steam season Jones couplers BBRNG15123Fremantle.jpg
SAR NG15 118 Elizabeth South African Railways Stored 2-8-2 Stored with major work required Jones couplers A large preserved steam engine.
Perry Betty Thompson Inkerman Sugar Mill, QLD Operational 0-4-2T Privately owned. Current steam mainstay Jones couplers BBRPerryBT1Perry(2013).JPG
Perry Marian Sugar Mill, QLD Maintenance 0-6-2T

Overhaul in progress

Steam engine with a sugarcane train.
O&K Mallet No. 3 Magnet Tramway, TAS Maintenance 0-4-4-0T Restoration in progress Men pose in front of an old steam engine.
Krauss Multiple. Previous - Western Machinery, WA Storage 0-4-0WT Awaiting restoration Link and pin

Large diesel locomotives[edit]

Model Name Former operator Condition Wheel arrangement Comments Coupler(s) Image
1938 Planet (Atlantic Engine) Planet Lake View and Star Gold Mine, WA Operational 0-4-0 Jones couplers, Link and pin BBRplanet1FOTTEM2010.JPG
1968 Planet (Dorman Engine) Lake View and Star Gold Mine, WA Maintenance 0-4-0 Privately owned, needs axles repaired BBRdormanplanetwvj.jpg
Gemco Funkey PW27 Wyndham Wyndham Jetty, WA Operational 0-4-0 Recently returned to service after gearbox overhaul Jones couplers BBRGemcoPW27.jpg
Fowler #2 Rosalie Isis Central Sugar Mill, QLD Operational 0-6-0 New Drive Train, Motor and Transmission and Livery (Garbage Truck donated it's motor to the locomotive) Jones couplers BBRFowler Rosalie(2013).JPG

Small locomotives[edit]

Builder Model Name Former operator Condition Wheel arrangement Comments Couplers Fuel
Kless Ashley "The Big Orange", WA Operational 0-4-0D Link and pin Diesel
Ruston & Hornsby LBT Manjimup Mill, WA Operational 4wdDM Jones couplers, Link and pin Diesel
Maylands Brickworks Maylands Maylands Brickworks, WA Operational Maylands was the first Operational locomotive at the BBR, Powered by a Holden Red 6 Cylinder Engine and an automatic car transmition Link and pin Petrol
Planet Yellow Rose Whiteman Brickworks, WA Maintenance 4wPM Link and pin Petrol
Ridley Whiteman Brick Maintenance 4wPM Link and pin
Ridley #2 Whiteman Brick Storage 2-2w + 2w-2PM

Carriages and wagons[edit]

Passenger carriages[edit]

Large stock[edit]

All fitted with Jones couplers

Class Number Original class Original operator Description Comments Entered service
AQ 4745 QBB WAGR Fitted with window glazing. Concertina fitted at both ends BBR Built on QBB Chassis. Part of Winter Stock. 1986
AQ 1788 QBB WAGR Mostly in original construction condition, no glazing of the windows. Rebuilt doors, concertina fitted at both ends BBR Built on QBB Chassis. Part of Winter Stock. 1986
AQB 2790 QBB WAGR Fitted With Guards Compartment BBR Built on QBB Chassis. Part of Winter Stock 1986
AV 3251 V WAGR Party Coach. Fitted with tables and seats, a Bar servery area and a Brake Instrument BBR Built on V Chassis 1989
AR 1638 R WAGR Wheelchair access. Fitted with "Roll Up" windows. Fitted with concertinas at both end. No fixed seating BBR Built on R Chassis. Part of Winter Stock 1995
R 3644 R WAGR Fitted with a Roof wooden seats for passenger seating. Fitted with concertinas at both ends. "Drop" side doors modified for passenger access Part of Summer Stock 1990
RP 1783 R WAGR Fitted with a Roof, wooden seats for passenger seating. Fitted with concertinas at both ends. "Drop" side doors modified for passenger access Part of Summer Stock 1990
RP 4461 R WAGR Fitted with a Roof, wooden seats for passenger seating. "Drop" side doors modified for passenger access Reputed to be the only remaining example of a WAGR 4 Door R wagon. Part of Summer Stock 1990
Z 63 WAGR Brake Van Replica Z wagon, built by BBR on an ex WAGR V Wagon (V3263) Chassis. Brake van on Summer Stock.

Small stock[edit]

All fitted with link and pin couplers

Designator Built from/on Description Comments Entered service
ALV4 Maylands Clay Pit chassis 4 Wheelchair Accessible Passenger Carriage Currently used for wheelchairs 2021
C3 Maylands Clay Pit chassis 4 Wheel Passenger Carriage Restored to operational service on a "Citra" chassis for BBR's 21st Birthday celebrations in 2005 1983
BV1 Lake View and Star Goldmine Ore hopper Chassis 4 Wheel Passenger Brake Carriage Fitted with Brake wheel in Guards Compartment. Still operational 1984
ALV11 Lake View and Star Goldmine Ore hopper Chassis 4 Wheel Passenger Carriage Still operational 1985
ALV12 Lake View and Star Goldmine Ore hopper Chassis 4 Wheel Passenger Carriage Still operational 1985
ADL101 Toast Rack Style Passenger Carriages Originally built in Harvey for the Big Orange Railway. Transported to BBR in 2004 on a long-term loan agreement 2006
ADL102 Toast Rack Style Passenger Carriages Originally built in Harvey for the Big Orange Railway. Transported to BBR in 2004 on a long-term loan agreement 2006
ADL103 Toast Rack Style Passenger Carriages Originally built in Harvey for the Big Orange Railway. Transported to BBR in 2004 on a long-term loan agreement 2006

Freight/industrial wagons[edit]

All Wagons are fitted with Jones couplers, unless said otherwise.

Class Number Original operator Description Comments
D 33 WAGR Covered Goods Van Restored, and reinstalled on LA Chassis (Used on work trains)
QBB 2889 WAGR Flat Wagon, used to carry heavy and often large loads about the railway To Carry Coal Bunkers for BT1 Betty Thompson
LA 23778 WAGR Ballast Hopper Used on work trains
JOA 12051 WAGR Distillate Fuel Tanker Used as a water tanker Needs Maintenance
J 11374 WAGR Water Tanker Used as a water gin for NG15 123 Fremantle
V 3326 WAGR Goods Van Currently to store equipment in and used on work trains

For more information, please Visit the BBR Pages [1][2]

Buildings[edit]

Whiteman Village Junction Station, with the former Subiaco Signal Cabin in the background

At the Bennett Brook Railway, all buildings used on the line (with the exclusion of the yards) are former WAGR/Westrail Station Buildings.

Whiteman Village Junction Station houses the former station buildings from Claisebrook Station (Platform 1/Ticket Office), Subiaco Station (Platform 2/3, Party Room), and Signal cabins from Subiaco and Fremantle (Both are currently not operational). Down at Mussel Pool: The station building is from Nungarin (And was transported to BBR in 1989 with assistance from the Australian Army's 22nd Construction Squadron. There are also two signal Cabins, Collie (No longer operational, now located at parker siding), and Cottesloe, which is fully operational located at the northern end of the Mussel Pool platform.

Signalling and safeworking[edit]

The former Mussel Pool Signal Cabin, from Collie, in use
The ex Wagin lever frame, now installed in the Cottesloe Cabin at Mussel Pool

Located at Mussel Pool, the Cottesloe Cabin is in place on the Station Platform, and is fully operational. In the Cottesloe Cabin, stands the former Wagin Lever frame, with 15 levers, this frame turned out to be the perfect size for the Mussel Pool Station. 13 of the 15 levers in the frame are used, for 3 sets of points & Locks, and 12 Signals. The cabin is used mostly on weekends during run-arounds at Mussel Pool station, however during large events the cabin is used to assist sorting and preparing trains at the start of the event.

BBR primarily uses the Staff and Ticket System for section authority. The railway is split in 2 sections, and has 2 staffs - Mussel Pool to WVJ (Blue Staff), and the Loop (Red Staff). To travel on a section of line, the driver of a locomotive must be in possession of the relevant Staff. In the case of multiple trains needing to use 1 section of track, the Staff unlocks a box located in the signal cabins at each end of the section, which hold the tickets. A ticket would be filled out and given to the driver of the lead consist, who would also be shown the staff. After the average time to complete the section has passed, the second train can depart the station, proceeding with caution in case the train ahead has broken down, holding both the staff (or another ticket) and a notice of train ahead.

In late 2012 an Electric Staff system was re-introduced on the Mussel Pool to Whiteman Village Junction, with staff instruments located in the signal cabins at both stations. At the same time a wired telephone line was re-introduced between the two stations, using telegraph poles.

BBR has recently completed installation of electric point motors and electrically operated semaphore signals at the north end of Whiteman Village Junction. Work has now started on the installation of searchlight coloured light signals and additional point motors to the south end of Whiteman Village Junction.

Publications of BBR/WALRPA[edit]

  • Western Rails (1977-1990)[4]
  • Rusty Rails (1982-1994)[5]
  • Bennett Brook Railway (2003-) electronic resource[6]
  • Swan Valley's Bennett Brook Railway members newsletter (1998-2004) and (2007-2010)[7]
  • Shed : the newsletter of the Bennett Brook Railway. (undated one edition 2007 or 2006 ?)[8]
  • The Bennett Brook railway worker (2004-2006)[9]
  • Bennett Brook Railway newsletter (2011- ?)[10]
  • The Bennett Brooklet (2012 ? - present )[11]

External links[edit]

A & J Inglis Crane of 1855 at Bennett Brook Railway[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whiteford, David; Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association (2005), From back yard to Bennett Brook : a history of the Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association and the Bennett Brook Railway, Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association, ISBN 978-0-646-49941-3
  2. ^ Grierson, Lynn (15 July 2014). "Train for the train run". Midland Reporter. Community News Group. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  3. ^ Friends of Ashley - Bennett Brook Railway - Friends of Ashle[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association (1977), Western rails, Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association, retrieved 20 February 2021 - not to be confused with Jim Bisdee's online publication - Bisdee, Jim (2009), Western rails electronic edition, Jim Bisdee, retrieved 20 February 2021
  5. ^ Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association (1900), Rusty rails, The Association, retrieved 20 February 2021 - supplemented with : Members newsletter (Bennett Brook Railway) 1991-1998
  6. ^ Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association (2003), Bennett Brook Railway, WA Light Rail Preservation Association, retrieved 20 February 2021
  7. ^ Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association (1998), The Swan Valley's Bennett Brook Railway members newsletter, Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association, retrieved 20 February 2021
  8. ^ Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association; Bennett Brook Railway (2006), The shed : the newsletter of the Bennett Brook Railway, Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association, retrieved 20 February 2021
  9. ^ Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association; Bennett Brook Railway (2004), The Bennett Brook railway worker, Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association, retrieved 20 February 2021
  10. ^ Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association (2011), Bennett Brook Railway newsletter, Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association, retrieved 20 February 2021
  11. ^ The Bennett Brooklet, Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association Inc, 2012, retrieved 20 February 2021 Irregular reports or extracts occur in the 'Heritage & Tourist News' section of Light Railways
  12. ^ A & J Inglis Crane in Whiteman Park, Western Australia Archived 22 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine

Coordinates: 31°50′43″S 115°56′38″E / 31.8452°S 115.944°E / -31.8452; 115.944 (Bennett Brook Railway)