Written by Kaye Cochrane on 28 Aug, 2005
This is a railway manned by volunters which runs twice weekly. It was a steam train, pulled by two W-class engines. The line, which is the steepest in WA, runs up through the Darling Range escarpment, and was originally used for the timber…Read More
This is a railway manned by volunters which runs twice weekly. It was a steam train, pulled by two W-class engines. The line, which is the steepest in WA, runs up through the Darling Range escarpment, and was originally used for the timber industry until a huge bush fire in 1961, after which most of the mills closed down.
The Hotham Valley Tourist Railway started operating steam trains in 1976, using the steam locos which had stopped operating in 1971 but were in storage. I think the train we went on had come from Perth, with diesel engines pulling it to Pinjarra, where the steam locos were connected. Some of the track was very steep, the conductress commented on one section that it was not slipping today, often it goes up one and back two, as she described it – that must be freaky!
I would guess that Pinjarra is not much above sea level, Dwellingup is 840 feet above, so quite a climb in about 23 km (that’s the road distance, so I guess the rail line is similar as the road follows it for much of the way.) This we know because there were train spotters along the way. I imagine part of the reason they were there is that, as I discovered a couple of days later, the steam trains only run in the winter, as the risk of fire is too high in summer.
The trip up to Dwellingup took about 1½ hours, with about the same amount of time there before we returned. There are great photo opportunities as the train goes around the many curves on the track. It cost us about A$34 each, and the trip took about 90 minutes in each direction. A very pleasant outing, especially if you like trains!