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What's New

Rail Heritage WA's online Photo Archive Gallery is growing.

With the most recent addition of 500 scanned images the gallery currently contains more than 9500 images. You can access the gallery here.

Rail Heritage WA and Lotterywest launch new online Photo Archive Gallery.

Rail Heritage WA in conjunction with Lotterywest following the provision of a grant in 2010 which has allowed us to be able to scan a large collection of both prints and transparencies from our extensive archive collection and go on to make these images available online to allow interested people and the public to search through the growing database of over 9500 images (currently).

The gallery was launched on 28 March at the Railway Museum by Ms Faye Baxter of Lotterywest.
The gallery can now be viewed by clicking here.

New "West Guildford" platform unveiled.

The Mayor of Bassendean, Cr John Gangell, came on the 28th March to the Railway Museum to mark the completion of our new front platform. Over many months, the old front platform with its uneven and broken slab surface has been removed and replaced by a new concrete structure. Many improvements have been incorporated, including lowering the 'dock', improving drainage, removal of the former toilets block (no longer in use) to provide more function space, and opening a long space at the front of museum for grassing and future uses.

Seed money for this project was again provided by Lotterywest, supplemented by Rail Heritage WA and with hundreds of hours input by our volunteers. The project was complicated by the need to keep the museum running, by our very limited space for shunting vehicles out of construction areas, and two buildings needing to remain insitu - the entry station and signal box.

The platform is named 'West Guildford', with a traditional WAGR style name board - this was the original name of both the station and the township nearby before they were renamed Bassendean. We receive great cooperation and assistance from our local government, the Town of Bassendean, and it is appropriate that the Mayor of Bassendean, Cr John Gangell, came on the 28th March to unveil a plaque marking completion of 'West Guildford'.

Ms Faye Baxter of Lotterywest and Cr John Gangell, Mayor of Bassendean, at the launch celebration, 28th March, 2012.
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Rail Heritage WA launches Standard Gauge Appeal for loco GM 1.

Help RHWA bring GM1 to Western Australia, to build a fitting display, and ultimately to return GM1 to operation for special occasions.

  • All donations gratefully received
  • Deductable for income tax purposes
  • Opportunities for special donations to be recorded on the project

For more information, a donation, to read or print out a form about it click here.

Historic Locomotive R 174 arrives at the Museum

R 174 has been moved from Centrepoint Shopping Centre, Midland to the Bassendean Railway Museum on the 13th March 2011. See below for story and more photos.

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Rail Heritage WA awarded iconic locomotive

Rail Heritage WA (RHWA) have won the right to preserve, restore and own the former Commonwealth Railways' locomotive GM1. Read more about it and to make a donation, click here.

A National Award Win for Rail Heritage WA

Rail Heritage WA (RHWA) has just won the inaugural Passenger Vehicle Restoration award for its restoration carriage AG 14. See below for story and more photos.

G 233 "Leschenault Lady"

Returns to Boyanup. Click here for page.

Dowerin Railway Centenary Steam

Click here for page.

Sales Page

New books added, Railway Road Bus and Truck Services of Western Australia, Guide to the Collection and Trainee to Train-Controller.
Click here for page.

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Train Races to Miner's Rescue

The latest addition to The Railway Museum at Bassendean is locomotive R174.

In March 1907, this locomotive was involved in the WA's most epic mine rescue in which Italian miner Modesto Varischetti became trapped over 300m down in a flooded mine at Bonnie Vale, near Coolgardie. R174 pulled the special train, carrying two divers, their assistants and equipment plus 800ft of air piping, from Northam to Southern Cross.

The R class locomotives were the premier express passenger and mail locomotives in their day, and worked on the Eastern Goldfields and Northern Railways until the 1920s. Then they mainly worked on freight trains. The 4ft 9in (145cm) driving wheels were the largest ever used on the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR).

R174 was restored for display outside the Railway Institute building at Midland. R174 was there from March 1956 until October 1972 when it was moved to the Centrepoint shopping mall. With imminent redevelopment of the shopping centre, proprietors the Stefanelli family offered R174 to our museum for preservation. Family representative Mr Joe Stefanelli explained that they understood the significance of R174 and wanted to ensure it's preservation. The proprietors generously offered to assist this move by donating transport costs.

The move was carried out on 13 March 2011. Although the R class needs some TLC, it will be available to see on guided tours during Enthusiasts Day on 15 May 2011 and in due course will take pride of place at the head of a train.

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A National Award Win for Rail Heritage WA

Rail Heritage WA (RHWA) has just won the inaugural 'Passenger Vehicle Restoration' award for its restoration of 1885 passenger carriage AG 14.

Ismail Julius and Graeme Vincent 'on the Job' of restoring AG 14.

AG 14 on stands.

The Association of Tourist and Heritage Railways of Australia (ATHRA) 'Passenger Vehicle Restoration' Award is awarded annually to encourage and recognise excellence in the restoration of passenger vehicles by individuals and groups operating in the railway and tramway tourist and heritage sector of Australia. The emphasis is on the restoration effort itself and the skills of the people undertaking the restoration work.

AG 14 entered service with the railways of the WA Government in 1885 - only six years after the first Government Railway was opened. The restoration of this 122 year old railway carriage ensures its rightful place as an important part of the state's railway heritage.

The project commenced with the relocation of the carriage (very carefully due to its condition) from the Railway Museum to the undercover restoration area then occupied by RHWA at the former Midland Workshops. People who undertook the work were all volunteers for Rail Heritage WA. Funding for materials was provided through the Lotterywest 'Conservation of Cultural Heritage' grants - from the first round in which moveable heritage items were eligible for support.

A view inside AG 14 showing the level of craftsmanship.

A heritage consultant and a former car & wagon builder guided the project, with mechanical work supervised by a former railway fitter. Many of the volunteers had gained appropriate skills in a heritage setting from the Federation Train project three years earlier and were able to apply this to an even older carriage. The restoration of AG 14 was a great way to share and demonstrate those 'rare trade' skills in which the Midland Workshops once excelled.

The carriage is highly significant as it is believed to be the sole survivor of the first class of the larger carriages in WA and represents the turn-of-the-century local passenger service in Kalgoorlie.

Another view inside AG 14.

AG 14 has now returned to be proudly on display at the Railway Museum and will be in pride of place when passenger rail travel is the theme of this year's RailFest open day on Sunday 14 October.

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Rail Heritage WA volunteers at the Midland Railway Workshops this week farewell two of their prized projects - a small four-wheel brake van and a steam tank locomotive with a combined age of 233 years.

Both vehicles are classified by the National Trust and have been magnificently restored.

The Onslow brake van, believed to be the oldest remaining in WA, dated from 1892 and served with WA Government Railways before transferring to the Public Works Department for use in north-west ports. In 1926 it began a new life in Onslow as a passenger car, brake van and freight van.

Onslow van on arrival

The van has been part of the Onslow Museum's tramway display for more than 30 years, but was severely damaged by a cyclone several years ago. The Onslow Museum, with the assistance of a grant from Lotterywest, contracted Rail Heritage WA to restore it. When the van arrived at Midland Workshops in August 2004 it looked terrible but structurally it was in surprisingly good shape.

A small group of volunteers carefully conserved the van's historic fabric and faithfully re-created it as it was in its early days at Onslow.

H18 and Onslow van

Steam tank engine H18 was built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1887 and used by WA Government Railways in various locations including the Boyanup to Bunbury railway, at Fremantle Harbour, on the Mundaring Weir line and at Esperance. It was presented to the Australian Railway Historical Society in 1962.

The volunteers have meticulously restored the locomotive, including giving it a mechanical overhaul, so that if a boiler becomes available in future the rest of the locomotive is ready for a return to steam operations.

H18 would be displayed at the Railway Museum at Bassendean. When the museum at Boyanup was revamped, it could go on display there as a link with the town's earliest history.

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