South Western Railway, Western Australia

The South Western Railway is the main railway route between Perth and Bunbury in Western Australia opening in 1893.

South Western Railway
Opened22 May 1893 (Perth-Pinjarra)
22 August 1893 (Pinjarra-Bunbury)
OwnerPublic Transport Authority
Operator(s)Brookfield Rail
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)


South Western Railway
0 km Perth
For details of this section
see Armadale/Thornlie railway line
Eleventh Road
North Dandalup
Brunswick Junction

The South Western Railway was constructed for the Western Australian Government Railways by various private contractors from 1891.[1] Among these was the engineer and magistrate William W. L. Owen.[2]

Construction was completed in two parts.[3] The first, East Perth to Pinjarra, was undertaken by William Atkins (former mill manager of the Neil McNeil Co. at the Jarrahdale Timber Station)[4] and Robert Oswald Law (who built the Fremantle Long Jetty) from the end of 1891.[1] Work began in 1892 but was slowed by difficulties with building the bridge over the Swan River.[1][5] This section opened on 22 May 1893.[6][7]

The second phase of construction was also completed by Atkins and McNeil, starting at Bunbury and working north to Pinjarra opening on 22 August 1893.[1][3][7][6] Bunbury station was opened by Sir John Forrest on 14 November 1894.

Beyond Bunbury, the line previously continued south a further 200 kilometres to Northcliffe closing in stages from 1986.[8] Part of this section is now operated by the Pemberton Tramway Company.[9][10]


The Bunbury Bridge was the most significant engineering structure on the line. It was replaced by the Goongoongup Bridge in 1996.


Since November 1947, The Australind has traversed the length of the line from Perth to Bunbury.[11] Other named trains to have previously operated on the line were the Bunbury Belle and The Shopper. Aurizon operate coal trains on the line from Collie to Kwinana.


  1. Gunzburg, Adrian; Austin, Geff (2008). "Table Construction of the W.A Government Railways network, 1879-1931". Rails through the Bush: Timber and Firewood Tramways and Railway Contractors of Western Australia. Perth, Western Australia: Rail Heritage WA. pp. 208–210. ISBN 978-0-9803922-2-7. OL 12330925W.
  2. Owen, William Lambden (1933). Cossack Gold. Angus and Robertson. OL 16795671W.
  3. "Perth—Bunbury Railway". The Inquirer & Commercial News. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 6 April 1892. p. 4. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  4. Thomas, W. C. (1938). "Mills and Men". Australian Timber Journal.
  5. "The South-Western Railway: Mr Neil McNeil's Picnic". The West Australian. Perth, Western Australia. 19 December 1892. p. 2. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  6. Arnold, John (1993). Rails to Pinjarra 100. Pinjarra: 100 Planning Committee. p. 4. ISBN 0 646 14228 3.
  7. Newland, Andrew; Quinlan, Howard (2000). Australian Railway Routes 1854 - 2000. Redfern: Australian Railway Historical Society. p. 64. ISBN 0-909650-49-7.
  8. Brookfield Rail Network Map Brookfield Rail
  9. Home Pemberton Tramway Company
  10. Pemberton-Northcliffe Railway & Railway Station Heritage Council of WA
  11. Australind Timetable Transwa

Further reading

  • Affleck, Fred N. On track : the making of Westrail, 1950 to 1976 . Perth : Westrail, 1978. ISBN 978-0-7244-7560-5
  • May, Andrew and Gray, Bill. A History of WAGR Passenger Carriages. Perth:The Author, 2006. ISBN 978-0-646-45902-8
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