AvonLink

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AvonLink
Avonlink Bellevue.jpg
AvonLink railcars going under the Great Eastern Highway bridge in Swan View in October 2009
Overview
Service typePassenger train
StatusOperational
LocaleWestern Australia
First service24 September 1995
Current operator(s)Transwa
Former operator(s)Westrail (1995-2000)
WAGR Commission (2000-2003)
Route
StartMidland
EndNortham
Distance travelled97 kilometres
Average journey time1 hour 20 minutes
Service frequencyDaily (weekdays only)
Line(s) usedEastern
Technical
Rolling stockWDA/WDB/WDC railcars
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The AvonLink is a passenger train in Western Australia operated by Transwa between Midland and Northam.

History[edit]

The consideration of revitalising passenger services in 1993 saw the Avonlink Ministerial Committee formed by Minister for Transport Eric Charlton.[1]

The first AvonLink service departed Northam for East Perth on 24 September 1995, and was significant, as it was the first new country passenger rail service in Western Australia for 47 years.[dubious ][2][3] From July 2001 the Perth terminus moved from East Perth to Midland where a connection is made with Transperth Midland line services.[4]

In June 2004 the AvonLink was extended to Merredin on three days a week, operating as the MerredinLink.[5] In September 2006, Transwa trialed a day trip Sunday service to Northam.[6] The six-week trial proved popular with each service being fully booked out weeks in advance. However, due to overall lack of passengers at other times the service was discontinued.

In August 2013, Transwa announced the AvonLink would cease on 30 December 2013 due to poor patronage and be replaced by a road coach.[7] However, this announcement generated significant criticism. On 19 November 2013, two Wheatbelt region MLAs, Mia Davies and Shane Love, presented petitions to the WA State Parliament calling for the retention of the AvonLink. The petitions bore a total of more than 3,000 signatures of Avon Valley residents.[8][9][10]

On 3 December 2013, Minister for Transport Troy Buswell announced the AvonLink service would be retained, initially for a period of six months, while Transwa and the Wheatbelt Development Commission worked through the funding solution required to keep the service running beyond that initial period.[10][11]

In May 2014, it was announced that an enhanced service would continue until at least June 2017.[12][13]

In December 2014, an enhanced service was introduced with services increased from one to three trains on certain days.[14] From July 2017, the AvonLink was reduced back to one service in each direction on weekdays only.[15]

Services[edit]

As at November 2018, one Avonlink service operates on weekdays in each direction between Midland and Northam stopping at Toodyay.[16]

Rolling stock[edit]

The service commenced with WCA/WCE railcars built in 1971 to operate The Prospector.[17][18]

In December 2000 Westrail awarded a contract to United Goninan, Broadmeadow for nine WDA/WDB/WDC railcars to replace the 1971 built stock. Seven were for The Prospector and two for the AvonLink service.[19][20] The new train entered service on 1 August 2005.[3]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ page 7Whiteford, David (2015). A History of the AvonLink Train Service. Toodyay, WA: Shire of Toodyay. ISBN 9780646944258.
  2. ^ Gray, Bill; May, Andrew (2006). A History of WAGR Passenger Carriages. Perth: Bill Gray. p. 341. ISBN 0-646-45902-3.
  3. ^ a b AvonLink and MerredinLink Transwa
  4. ^ Here & There Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin issue 765 July 2001 page 272
  5. ^ Easy to train for Avon Descent Avon Advocate 18 July 2016
  6. ^ Spring into the Avon Valley by rail Minister for Transport 4 September 2006
  7. ^ Ducey, Liam (20 August 2013). "Transwa cancels AvonLink train service". WA Today. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Keep AvonLink: residents petition Parliament". Central Midlands & Coastal Advocate. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  9. ^ Predovnik, Rashelle (21 November 2013). "Petitioning to keep the AvonLink". Echo News. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  10. ^ a b Strutt, Jessica; Bembridge, Courtney (3 December 2013). "The State Government has backflipped on its decision to scrap the AvonLink train service". ABC News. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  11. ^ Robertson, Katie (3 December 2013). "AvonLink train service will stay open until mid-2014 after community outrage". Perth Now. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  12. ^ AvonLink Trial Receives Go Ahead Archived 20 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Shire of Toodyay 8 May 2014
  13. ^ Rail link back on track Archived 20 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Avon Valley Gazette 20 May 2014
  14. ^ New AvonLink services start today Minister for Transport 1 December 2014
  15. ^ AvonLink train service to be saved Minister for Transport 1 June 2017
  16. ^ Avonlink & MerredinLink timetable Transwa 3 July 2017
  17. ^ "Westrail Commences Avonlink Service" Railway Digest December 1995 page 22
  18. ^ "Future prospects for the Prospector" Railway Digest October 1997 pages 18-19
  19. ^ New 'world-class' Goldfields and Avon trains move closer Government of Western Australia 7 December 2000
  20. ^ "WA Short Lines" Railway Digest February 2001

External links[edit]

Media related to Transwa Avonlink at Wikimedia Commons