Bennett Brook Railway

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Bennett Brook Railway
Bennettbrookrailway25yrlogo.jpg
Bbrng15123logo.jpg
Overview
Type Light Rail
Status Operating as a tourist railway
Locale Whiteman, Western Australia
Stations Whiteman Village Junction
(Formerly Central)
Mussel Pool
Kangaroo Flats
Zamia (Formerly Maine)
Website http://www.bbr.org.au
Operation
Opened 1984
Owner West Australian Light Rail Preservation Association
Operator(s) West Australian Light Rail Preservation Association (WALRPA)
Depot(s) Mussel Pool Workshops
Technical
Line length Approx 6 kilometres (3.7 mi)
Track gauge 2 ft (610 mm)
Operating speed 20 km/h (12 mph)

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, nineteen kilometres from Perth. In 2009, the Bennett Brook Railway celebrated its 25th year of operation.

History[edit]

Bennett Brook Railway Map
Mussel Pool
Railway Yard & Workshops
Pedestrian Path
Bennett Brook
Whiteman Drive West
Park Management Track
Whiteman Village Junction
Pedestrian Path
Park Management Track
Park Management Track
One Duck Lagoon
Park Management Track
Pedestrian Path
Kangaroo Flats Station
Zamia Station
Pedestrian Path

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.

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.[1]

Operations[edit]

The railway operates passenger services during the following times:

Operating Time Note
Weekends & Public Holidays 11:00am to 4:00pm
W.A. School Holidays 11:00am to 3:00pm Monday-Friday during the holidays
Mid-Week 11:00 am - 1.00 pm half hourly Only Operating Wed & Thu

Held Biannually, the railway runs a Friends of Ashley (FOA) Day (Formerly known as Friends of Thomas the Tank Engine),[2] which sees most of volunteers, Locomotive & Steam Engines operating. 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 annually. They are held in winter so there are no restrictions on steam operations. Most operating engines are involved in some interesting freight and passenger trains.

Locomotives[edit]

September to May is fire season, 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
These dates are approximate and are dependent on park conditions and approval

Steam Locomotives[edit]

Model Name Former Operator Condition Wheel arrangement Comments Coupler(s) Image
SAR NG15 123 Fremantle South African Railways Maintenance 2-8-2 To be re-tubed (Possibly 2016) Jones Couplers BBRNG15123Fremantle.jpg
SAR NG15 118 Elizabeth South African Railways Maintenance 2-8-2 To be re-tubed (Possibly 2016) Jones Couplers BBRNG15118shed.jpg
Perry Betty Thompson Inkerman Sugar Mill, QLD Operational 0-4-2T Will appear in Ashley Day 2015 May 25 Jones Couplers BBRPerryBT1Perry(2013).JPG
Perry Marian Sugar Mill, QLD Maintenance 0-6-2T
O&K Mallet No. 3 Magnet Tramway, TAS Maintenance 0-4-4-0T To be re-tubed (Possibly 2013)
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 Operational 0-4-0 BBRdormanplanetwvj.jpg
Gemco Funkey PW27 Wyndham Wyndham Jetty, WA Operational 0-4-0 Jones Couplers BBRGemcoPW27.jpg
Fowler #2 Rosalie Isis Sugar Mill, QLD Operational 0-6-0 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 0-4-0 Link and Pin Diesel
Ruston & Hornsby LBT Manjimup Mill, WA Operational 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 Operational 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 and is concertina fitted at one end 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 (Brake instrument and Handbrake Wheel) BBR Built on QBB Chassis. Part of Winter Stock 1986
AV 3273 V WAGR Buffet/Party Car. 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 ?
R 3644 R WAGR Fitted with Bus seats for passenger seating. "Drop" side doors modified for passenger access Part of Summer Stock ?
RP 1783 R WAGR Fitted with a Roof, Bus seats for passenger seating. "Drop" side doors modified for passenger access Part of Summer Stock ?
RP 4461 R WAGR Fitted with a Roof, Bus 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 ?

Small Stock[edit]

All fitted with Link and Pin Couplers

Designator Built from/on Description Comments Entered Service
C1 Maylands Clay Pit chassis 4 Wheel Passenger Carriage Currently out of service and derelict in storage yard 1983
C2 Maylands Clay Pit chassis 4 Wheel Passenger Carriage Currently out of service and derelict in storage yard 1983
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
C4 Lake View and Star Goldmine Ore hopper Chassis 4 Wheel Passenger Carriage Ran for 4 years, then scrapped. Access only available from platform side 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
ALX12 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
R 1751 WAGR Completely Rebuilt by Bennett Brook Railway Crews
QBB 2889 WAGR Flat Wagon, used to carry heavy and often large loads about the railway
LA 23778 WAGR Ballast Hopper
JOA 12051 WAGR Distillate Fuel Tanker Used as a water tanker
J 11374 WAGR Water Tanker
V 3326 WAGR Goods Van
Z 63 WAGR Brake Van Replica Z wagon, built by BBR on an ex WAGR V Wagon (V3263) Chassis. Brake van on Summer Stock.
LV 8 Lake View and Star Goldmine Side dump ore hoppers Classified by the National Trust (WA). Link and Pin Coupler
LV 9 Lake View and Star Goldmine Side dump ore hoppers Classified by the National Trust (WA). Link and Pin Coupler

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). In order 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.

External links[edit]

A & J Inglis Crane of 1855 at Bennett Brook Railway[3]

Further reading[edit]

  • Whiteford, David (2005) From Back Yard to Bennett Brook 1976 - 2005 - ISBN 0-646-49941-6

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grierson, Lynn (15 July 2014). "Train for the train run". Midland Reporter. Community News Group. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Friends of Ashley - Bennett Brook Railway - Friends of Ashle[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ 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 115.9438°E / -31.8452; 115.9438