Flinders Bay Branch Railway

Last updated

Flinders Bay Branch
Former rail line formation near Flinders Bay 02.jpg
Former rail line formation near Flinders Bay
Overview
Owner Public Transport Authority
City of Busselton
Shire of Augusta–Margaret River
Termini Boyanup
Flinders Bay
Service
Type Heavy rail
History
OpenedMay 1884 (Karridale-Boranup)
then in pieces until
1 April 1925 (Jarrahdene realignment)
Technical
Line length151 km (94 mi)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Route map

Contents

km
BSicon exdCONTgq.svg
BSicon exBHFq.svg
BSicon exABZq+r.svg
BSicon exdCONTfq.svg
0
Boyanup
BSicon exBS2+l.svg
BSicon exBS2c4.svg
BSicon exHST.svg
3.5
Trigwell
BSicon exHST.svg
9.9
Elgin
BSicon exBHF.svg
18.4
Capel
BSicon exBST.svg
21
RGC
BSicon exHST.svg
27.5
Ludlow
BSicon exLCONTgq.svg
BSicon exABZg+l.svg
BSicon exLSTRq.svg
BSicon exCONTfq.svg
BSicon exBHF.svg
33.2
Wonnerup
BSicon exBHF.svg
042.8
Busselton
BSicon nCONTgq.svg
BSicon exABZgnr.svg
BSicon exHST.svg
53.6
Vasse
BSicon exHST.svg
59.5
Marybrook
BSicon exHST.svg
64.5
Quindalup
BSicon exHST.svg
70.4
Yallingup
BSicon exHST.svg
76.3
Yelverton
BSicon exHST.svg
79.3
Metricup
BSicon exHST.svg
80.6
Walburra
BSicon exHST.svg
82.8
Harmans
BSicon exHST.svg
89.1
Cowaramup
BSicon exHST.svg
95.2
Bramley
BSicon exBHF.svg
103.5
Margaret River
BSicon exHST.svg
111.6
Witchcliffe
BSicon exABZgnl.svg
BSicon exnCONTfq.svg
BSicon exHST.svg
117.3
Forest Grove
BSicon exABZgLl.svg
BSicon exLSTR+r.svg
BSicon exABZg+Ll.svg
BSicon exLSTRr.svg
BSicon exHST.svg
Jarrahdene Mill
BSicon exHST.svg
Boranup Mill
BSicon exHST.svg
129.3
Arumvale
BSicon exHST.svg
130.5
Dianella
BSicon exHST.svg
132.9
Karridale
BSicon exnCONTgq.svg
BSicon exABZgnr.svg
BSicon exHST.svg
141.0
Kudardup
BSicon exHST.svg
147.9
Augusta
BSicon exKHSTe.svg
150.9
Flinders Bay

The Flinders Bay Branch Railway, also known as the Boyanup to Flinders Bay Section ran between Boyanup and Flinders Bay, in South Western Western Australia.

History

The first section of this line was constructed between Karridale and Boranup in May 1884, forming part of the M.C. Davies Timber horse-drawn tramway system, which soon ran between the jetties at Hamelin Bay and Flinders Bay. [1] Access to both jetties allowed timber to be loaded onto ships in all seasons, as the original west-facing Hamelin Bay jetty typically experienced poor conditions during the winter. [1] Some parts of the system were originally constructed using wooden rails and along steep alignments, oriented towards lower cost, rough workings of the timber tramway system. [2] [1] Locomotives were used instead of horses from 1895 and by the 1900 the network spanned from Flinders Bay to Margaret River. [1]

Following the opening of the Bunbury to Boyanup Railway in 1891, a branch from Boyanup to Busselton was constructed by Smith & Tims, opening on 21 November 1894. [3]

The railway between Margaret River and Flinders Bay was purchased by the Government in 1912 and was run as an isolated system by the Public Works Department for a few years. [1] After some years of no service, the railway south of Witchcliffe was rehabilitated, including the construction of a realignment north of Jarrahdene. It was formally taken over by the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) and opened for service on 1 April 1925. [4] [5] [6] This followed the opening of the WAGR line between Busselton and Witchcliffe (along a new alignment between Margaret River and Witchcliffe) on 20 October 1924.

Although a slow service due to the lighter rails and steep gradients, the branch was important for the dairy industry in the region. [7] Usually known as the Flinders Bay branch, it ran until 1957. [8] It was one of three branches in the WAGR system that relied on the important Msa garratt steam engine to be able to move the loads over steep and difficult gradients.
Most of the railway formation and structures were removed close to closure. The Flinders Bay engine shed, and some parts of the railway yard were not immediately removed and remained intact until the late 1950s. A limited number of photographs exist of the stopping platform at Flinders Bay, but very few exist of the Flinders Bay Jetty. At one stage in the 1970s, Railway Bus Drivers had the opportunity to stay overnight in a small railway cottage/shed at the bay-side edge of the Flinders Bay yard.

Alignment

former railway formation near Flinders Bay Former rail line formation near Flinders Bay 01.jpg
former railway formation near Flinders Bay

As operated by the WAGR, the line was 93 miles 61  chains (150.90 km) from Boyanup to Flinders Bay. [9] Only the first section of the line (Boyanup to RGC) remains in place, although disused, with few changes since it was last operated. [10] The remainder of the line has been lifted, although the rail reserve as far as Busselton remains under the control of the Public Transport Authority and is theoretically available for future rail uses. [11]

Like all railways outside of Perth, the line was not electrified and predominantly single-track, with passing loops at various locations. The remnant section, from Boyanup to RGC, is controlled by Arc Infrastructure. [10]

Heading south west from Boyanup, the line traverses predominantly agricultural land to a few kilometres beyond Capel, where it terminates at the former Iluka Resources RGC site. [10] From here, the line continued through a mix of agricultural and forested land to Busselton. Part of the corridor west of Wonnerup has been used to accommodate the widening of the Bussell Highway. [12] Within Busselton the line ran past the jetty and along the foreshore, turning south through what is now the Busselton Health Campus. [13] Heading west again along the route of what is now the Bussell Highway, the line served Vasse and Quindalup before turning south towards Flinders Bay. [14] The line passed through forested and agricultural areas, including several municipally heritage-registered mill sites in the M.C. Davies timber concession area south of Margaret River. [15]

Branches

This line was the first branch from the Northcliffe line, at Boyanup, linking Busselton to the WAGR network. [3] The only WAGR line to branch from this one is the Nannup Branch, which runs south from Wonnerup to Nannup. [11] This section of this line from Wonnerup to Maryvale follows the alignment of Western Australia's first railway - the Ballaarat Tramway. [16]

Timber Tramways

Several timber mills used to operate along the railway, each with their own access to the mainline. Many of these mills operated extensive timber tramways that fed significant quantities of timber to the railway. [16] The section from Witchcliffe to Flinders Bay was originally built as an M.C. Davies horse-drawn tramway, before being bought by the Government and upgraded to a WAGR line in 1925. [1]

former steep incline near Flinders Bay Former rail line formation near Flinders Bay 03.jpg
former steep incline near Flinders Bay

Rail trail

The City of Busselton and the Shire of Augusta–Margaret River are developing the rail alignment beyond Busselton into the Wadandi Track rail trail. [17] The sections from Busselton Jetty to Carbunup River (east of Marybrook) and Cowaramup to Witchcliffe are currently completed. [13] [14]
In 2012 the Adelaide-based firm Mulloway was creating an interpretation plan for the Busselton to Flinders Bay Railway Rail Trail project – that will convert the former railway reserve into a recreational, tourism, and educational trail. [18]

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Gunzburg, Adrian; Austin, Jeff (2008). "2. The Millars Empire". Rail through the Bush: Timber and Firewood Tramways and Railway Contractors of Western Australia. Perth: Rail Heritage WA. pp. 35–41. ISBN   978-0-9803922-2-7.
  2. McNess, Archibald E. J. (2005), Original railways of the southwest (Western Australia) : Busselton – Margaret River, Flinders Bay railway construction and Busselton – Wonnerup, Nannup railway line, A.E.J. McNess, retrieved 14 April 2012
  3. 1 2 Gunzburg, Adrian; Austin, Jeff (2008). "12. Construction of the W.A. Government Railways network, 1879-1931". Rail through the Bush: Timber and Firewood Tramways and Railway Contractors of Western Australia. Perth: Rail Heritage WA. pp. 208–210. ISBN   978-0-9803922-2-7.
  4. "Margaret River- Flinders Bay Railway: Recent Opening Ceremony by the Minister for Works (Mr. A. McCallum)". Western Mail . Perth: National Library of Australia. 28 May 1925. p. 7 Supplement: Regular supplement – Pictorial Section. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  5. Busselton-Flinders Bay Railway – history of the line opened 1924 Newsletter (Busselton Historical Society), Jan. 1992, p.1-2,
  6. "A NEW RAILWAY". The West Australian . Perth: National Library of Australia. 18 May 1925. p. 7. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  7. "BUSSELTON- FLINDERS BAY BRANCH TRAIN SERVICE". The Sunday Times . Perth: National Library of Australia. 28 August 1938. p. 13. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  8. Purcell, Len J.(1995) Flinders Bay Railway, Busselton – a look at aspects of the railway's development, opened on 10 April 1925 and closed on 1 July 1957Pinjarra steam express, July 1995, p.15-19,
  9. Western Australian Government Railways (1946). Time Table for passenger, mixed, and goods trains over all lines. Perth: Western Australian Government Railways.
  10. 1 2 3 Arc Infrastructure Network Map Arc Infrastructure
  11. 1 2 Public Transport Authority Network Map Public Transport Authority
  12. "Busselton Bypass open to traffic four months ahead of schedule". Government of Western Australia. 19 December 2000. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  13. 1 2 "Wadandi Track (Busselton - Flinders Bay Rail Trail) - Trail Description". Rail Trails Australia. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  14. 1 2 "Wadandi Track". Follow My Ride. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  15. "Boranup Mill". State Heritage Office. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  16. 1 2 Gunzburg, Adrian; Austin, Jeff (2008). Rails through the Bush: Timber and Firewood Tramways and Railway Contractors of Western Australia. Perth: Rail Heritage WA.
  17. "Wadandi Track - Busselton to Flinders Bay Rail Trail". City of Busselton. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  18. http://mulloway.com/2012/03/busselton-to-flinders-bay-rail-trail/

Related Research Articles

Busselton City in the South West region of Western Australia

Busselton is a city in the South West region of the state of Western Australia approximately 220 km (140 mi) south-west of Perth. Busselton has a long history as a popular holiday destination for Western Australians; however, the closure of the Busselton Port in 1972 and the contemporaneous establishment of the nearby Margaret River wine region have seen Tourism become the dominant source of investment and development, supplemented by services and retail. The Town is best known for the Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere.

Eastern Railway (Western Australia)

The Eastern Railway is the main railway route between Fremantle and Northam in Western Australia. It opened in stages between 1881 and 1893. The line continues east to Kalgoorlie as the Eastern Goldfields Railway.

Wonnerup, Western Australia Town in Western Australia

The townsite of Wonnerup is located 219 kilometres (136 mi) south of Perth and 10 kilometres (6 mi) east of Busselton. It was gazetted a townsite in 1856, deriving its name from the nearby Wonnerup Inlet.

Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) was the operator of railway services in the state of Western Australia between October 1890 and June 2003. Owned by the state government, it was renamed a number of times to reflect extra responsibility for tram and ferry operations that it assumed and later relinquished. Its freight operations were privatised in December 2000 with the remaining passenger operations transferred to the Public Transport Authority in July 2003.

South Fremantle, Western Australia Suburb of Perth, Western Australia

South Fremantle is a suburb of Perth, Western Australia, located within the City of Fremantle.

WAGR Msa class

The WAGR Msa class was a class of 2-6-0+0-6-2 Garratt-type articulated steam locomotives. The class was built at the Midland Railway Workshops and operated by the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) between 1930 and 1963. It was the first Garatt type to be designed and constructed entirely in Australia.

Maurice Coleman Davies was an Australian timber merchant and pastoralist. Born in London, he emigrated to Tasmania with his family as a child, and later moved to Blackwood in the Victorian goldfields, then to Melbourne and Adelaide. He then relocated to Western Australia, where he created the M. C. Davies Company, later the M. C. Davies Karri and Jarrah Timber Company, a timber empire that employed hundreds of men, laid over a hundred kilometres of private railway, including the Flinders Bay Branch Railway, and even built its own private ports for exporting of timber. He also formed the Kimberley Pastoral Company and was its managing director.

Rail transport in Western Australia

Railways in Western Australia were developed in the 19th century both by the Government of Western Australia and a number of private companies. Today passenger rail services are controlled by the Public Transport Authority through Transperth, which operates public transport in Perth, and Transwa, which operates country passenger services. Great Southern Rail operates the Indian Pacific.

South Western Railway, Western Australia

The South Western Railway, also known as the South West Main Line, is the main railway route between Perth and Bunbury in Western Australia.

Closed railway stations in Western Australia

List of Closed railway stations in Western Australia - this list deals with former railway stations in Western Australia, some of which only platforms or fences might be the only visual remains.

Witchcliffe, Western Australia Town in Western Australia

Witchcliffe is a small town in the South West region of Western Australia, located a few kilometres south of Margaret River on the Bussell Highway. The name originates from a cave in the area, Witchcliffe cave, that was recorded by a surveyor in 1900. It is believed the name was given by the Bussell family whose property, Wallcliffe, was established in the area in the 1850s.

WAGR H class

The H class was a class of two steam locomotives operated by the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) introduced in 1889.

Wilga, Western Australia Town in Western Australia

Wilga is a small town located between Donnybrook and Boyup Brook in the South West region of Western Australia.

W.A. Timber Company Syndicate of Victorian investors

W.A. Timber Company was a syndicate of Victorian investors granted a timber concession of 181,500 acres on Geographe Bay in the south west of Western Australia in 1870.

Western Australian Government Railway lines and operations centres

Western Australian Government Railways railway system during its peak operational time in the 1930s to 1950s was a large system of over 6,400 kilometres (4,000 mi) of railway line.

WAGR D class (1884)

The WAGR D class was a single member class of 0-4-0ST tank locomotive operated by the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) from 1884 until 1903.

Nannup Branch Railway former branch railway line in Western Australia

The Nannup Branch Railway, also known as the Wonnerup to Nannup Railway, was a branch line of the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) between Wonnerup and Nannup.

Agricultural railways in Western Australia were a system of railway lines that were built after the Western Australian 1905 Royal Commission on Immigration, which stated the need for a policy that "all considerable areas of agricultural land must have a 15 mile rail service." The lines were designed and constructed by the Public Works Department of Western Australia, for the Western Australian Government Railways.

Ballaarat Tramline

The Ballaarat Tramline, also known as the Lockville - Yoganup Railway, was the first railway in Western Australia, constructed in 1871 by the Western Australian Timber Company. The railway was used to transport timber from forests in the South West to the company's jetty at Lockville using the Ballaarat steam engine.

Northcliffe Branch railway

The Northcliffe Branch, also known as the Northcliffe Section or Picton to Northcliffe Line, is the railway route between Picton and Northcliffe in Western Australia.

References