Wheatbelt Heritage Rail - History of the Project

S Class GreenmountFollowing the success of the Dowerin 100 Years of Rail Celebration that took place in 2006, Rail Heritage WA in conjunction with the Shire of Dowerin proposed a long term plan to relocate the S Class Greenmount along with other items of rolling stock to the region on a full time basis.

This proposal stemmed from critical issues of limited storage space within the Rail Heritage WA Museum located in Bassendean.

vIt is believed that the Dowerin District is perfect for the relocation of this stock, Bosworth claims ‘the most significant development in transport during 1897-1914 was the arrival of the railway in 1906 to the Dowerin townsite and in 1911, to Minnivale, as it looped to Wyalkatchem and beyond’ as noted in the Dowerin Shire Heritage Inventory November 1995.

CBH Group and Brookfield Rail committed support to this project early on working with the Shire of Dowerin to establish a legal sub-lease agreement for the Minnivale Wheat Bin and a peppercorn lease of the Dowerin Station Building and Minnivale Gangers Shed.

With these parameters in place the Shire of Dowerin secured a lease agreement of the Minnivale Receival Point Site for the use of the area for a period of 99 years.

In 2007, the Shire of Dowerin obtained funding from Royalties for Regions which was utilised to employ a consultant in order for a Business Plan for this project to be developed.

MinnivaleEarly in 2014, paper work was submitted the Office of Rail safety for passenger accreditation on the main line whilst a significant volume of ground works are being completed on site at Minnivale with the laying of track, points and other elements of rail infrastructure.

The Wheatbelt Rail Heritage project is an innovative, unique and regional proposal that is anticipated to provide significant benefits for the Wheatbelt terms of increased tourism and visitor numbers, economic growth and possible population growth.

The Wheatbelt Heritage Rail project is run by the community for the community and has received a huge volume of community support throughout the three towns including existing museum groups, visitor’s centres, business associations, the Avon Regional Organisation of Councils, Dowerin Events Management Committee and more widely CBH Group, Arc Infrastructure Goldcon, Aurizon, WACC, the Wheatbelt Development Commission and the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure.

For further information regarding this exciting project or if you wish to be involved in its development please contact the Shire of Dowerin on 9631 1202.