For many Western Australians, yesterday was a usual Sunday. But for railway fanatics it’s a special weekend as the Rail Heritage WA marked its 60th anniversary.
Honorable dignitaries including WA Governor Kim Beazley, Government Ministers Michelle Roberts and Dave Kelly, and Opposition’s MLC Donna Faragher joined members of the public at the Bassendean Railway Museum to mark the occasion.
Historic railway locomotives manufactured from the era of Western Australian Government Railways and Westrail were on display.
The collection include locally manufactured steam engines, diesel RA class locomotives, long distance Australind coaches and the special Royal train carriages.
Some of the locomotives displayed in the museum dated back over 100 years.
As residents toured around the old West Guildford train station and took pictures of WA’s iconic trains, Mr Beazley recalled that his brother loved railways.
“From a very young age, he is a devoted train spotter and he would do it from the footbridge at Claremont Railway station,” Mr Beazley said.
“And then he got to know everybody, so he goes into the signal box and then he starts to go on to the platform, ask drivers if he can jump in the box and go down to Fremantle.”
“As he got older, he joined the society and got involved in all the volunteer activities, he is also a fanatical photographer of railways with a huge collection of photographs of trains.”
WA Government Minister and Midland MP Michelle Roberts also recalled her family’s connection to the WA’s rail industry.
“My great great grandfather came to WA, worked at Fremantle Railway Workshops before the Midland Railway Workshops opened at 1904,” she said.
“So he was among the first people to work in the workshops and that grew in strength to manufacture trains and maintain trains for the whole of Western Australia.”
Rail Heritage WA President Brian Williams said he was proud of everyone who’ve attended the special occasion.
He says the club is “endeavoring to preserve” the railway collection, and the next step is to increase roof cover to project the trains from WA’s harsh weather climate.
“At the moment we need more roof cover to protect the rolling stock, we’ve only got part of it protected … and we also need a new workshop,” Mr William said.
Mr Williams also hope the event can increase the club’s youth members in-order to continue the association’s work to preserve Western Australia’s railway history.