Western Australia was the last of the five mainland states to build a railway; this didn't happen until 1879, in the Geraldton area. Since then, Westrail has grown to now have around 90 locos on some 5200 km of track. Like other operators, most of Westrail's freight tonnage is made up of minerals, as well as some grain traffic. Westrail was all narrow gauge until the mid-60's, when the discovery of iron-ore deposits at Koolyanobbing made a standard gauge line linking Kalgoorlie and Perth viable.
As well as the government-owned WAGR/Westrail, a private company, the Midland Railway, operated a line from Walkaway (near Geraldton) to Midland (Perth), from the 1890s to 1964, when the WA Government took it over. There are now around 85 locos in service.
The freight section of Westrail was sold in October 2000 to Genesee and Wyoming, who then merged Westrail with Australia Southern Railroad to become Australian Rail Group (ARG). The former Westrail portion is known as Australia Western Railroad (AWR).
ARG's locos with alphanumeric numbers are likely to be renumbered to an all-numeric numbering system.
The locos in AWR/ARG livery are: 1203-1204, A1202; AB1501, 1503; 1907, DAZ1902, 1904, 1905; DBZ2301-2305, 2307-2308, 2312-2313; 3101-3104, LZ3105-3107, 3109, 3111-3112, 3117, L3110; P2501, 2503, 2505-2506, 2508-2510, 2513, 2515-2517; Q4001-4006, 4009-4010, 4012, 4014-4016, 4019; S2109, 3304, 3307, 3310; 901 and 907.
Passenger services will stay in government hands.
In early 2006, QRNational bought out the operational section of ARG/AWR, the infrastructure was bought by Babcock & Brown.
Some of QRN's locos have been moved from Queensland to WA.
Locomotive Page Introduction
© Copyright John Cleverdon