Esperance Branch Railway

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The Esperance Branch Railway is a railway from Kalgoorlie to the port of Esperance in Western Australia.

It was lobbied for by Esperance residents to be linked into the WAGR railway network to provide land transport to their region.[1] [2] [3]

In the strictest terms it was an extension of the Eastern Goldfields Railway.[4]

Originally it was the Coolgardie - Esperance railway, but following the Standard Gauge project in the 1960s it became the Kalgoorlie - Esperance railway, as Coolgardie was no longer connected by rail.


  • Coolgardie - Widgiemooltha - 51 miles 38 chains (82.8 km), completed in 1908.
  • Widgiemooltha - Norseman - 56 miles 59 chains (91.3 km), completed in 1909
  • Norseman - Salmon Gums - 58 miles 46 chains (94.3 km), completed in 1927
  • Salmon Gums - Esperance - 65 miles 56 chains (105.7 km), completed in 1925.[5]

Steam era water supplies[edit]

During the time the narrow gauge railway was in operation, due to the distances through dry country, dams and tanks were of importance to supply the steam engines in operation. Between Coolgardie and Esperance, water supply sources were from Water Supply Department (Coolgardie), Mines Department Dam (Widgiemooltha),and WAGR dams - WAGR annual reports took into consideration: Catchment area, Capacity, Pumped or gravitation collection of water, estimated loss by evaporation and absoprtion, and total amount of water stored.

Gauge and Route[edit]

It was originally built as narrow gauge, but with gauge standardisation of the main interstate railway in the late 1960s, it was converted to standard gauge to, so as not to become a gauge orphan. The route was also changed somewhat with standardisation, with a junction at Kalgoorlie replacing the junction at Coolgardie.

Selected stopping locations[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Affleck, Fred N.(1978) On track: the making of Westrail, 1950 to 1976 . Perth: Westrail. ISBN 0-7244-7560-5
  • Quinlan, Howard & Newland, John R. (2000) Australian Railway Routes 1854-2000 ISBN 0-909650-49-7