Forest Railway History                         



History of the Dwellingup - Etmilyn Line

The Dwellingup to Holyoake railway was opened by the WAGR in 1910 and in 1911 work commenced on the extension onwards in an easterly direction. On the 8 August 1913 the extension through the Hotham Valley to Dwarda was declared open.

Holyoake was the site of a large mill built by the South West Timber Hewers Co-Operative Society in 1910. Logs were supplied to it over an expanding bush railway system to the North. The sawmill was acquired by the State Government in 1920 and became "State Sawmill No.5". A large community flourished around the mill until it closed during the late 1950's. In its heyday Holyoake was a busy station with sawn timber being railed out everyday. A Station Master was in full time attendance in the late 1920's. It was a safe-working staff station between 1911 and 1961. In 1964 the railway siding was eliminated.

During 1911-1915 the Millars Timber & Trading Co mill at Nanga Brook operated into a logging concession adjacent to Holyoake by way of a trestle bridge over the WAGR line. An abutment of this bridge is still visible today about 2 kilometers east of Holyoake.

Restoration of the Dwellingup Forest Railway

While the first 10 years of operations by Hotham Valley was primarily taken up by a program of consolidation in the motive power and rolling stock areas, the society never lost sight of a dream that the old disused railway in the forest east of Dwellingup might be activated as a tourist line. When Community Employment Program funds were made available in 1985 the project soon got under way.

A specialist Track master was employed to supervise the partial re-sleepering of the 8.5 kilometers intended for restoration.  The rehabilitation program was preceded by a team of voluntary workers who painstakingly "scrub-bashed" along the thoroughly overgrown track through the forest. Orders were placed for suitable sleepers while more volunteers went to the salvage yards at Midland Workshops to sift through huge piles of secondhand dog spikes to find the many tonnes of re-usable quality pieces needed for the project.

Ex Western Australian Government Railways light diesel mechanical locomotive Z 1152 hauled work trains, moving further each day into the bush. Eventually workers reached the selected terminus, a relatively flat piece of terrain at Etmilyn.

Etmilyn was first established in the early 1920's as a steam locomotive watering point with water coming from a small dam and gravity fed to an overhead tank at the railway siding. After the introduction of diesel locomotives the tank was removed.

In Welsh, Etmilyn means "small animal". When a run around loop of track had been installed and a short forest walk trail constructed, all was ready for the official "First Train" on the 17th August 1986.

In more recent times the walk trail at Etmilyn has been further developed by HVTR with assistance from CALM Dwellingup into what is now known as "The Etmilyn Forest Heritage Trail".  Commencing at the water tank foundations, the 1km loop trail through the Etmilyn Forest features excellent examples of Jarrah, Blackbutt, Red Gum, Blackboy, Banksia and a variety of palms and ferns unique to this area of forest.

Time is allowed at Etmilyn Siding for passengers to wander along the walk trail. Click here for PDF file of the walk trail brochure - 260kb 

The inauguration of the Etmilyn Forest Tramway (now known as the Dwellingup Forest Railway) was a tribute to the dedication of the group of society members who picked up the idea and made a dream come true.

A volunteer work party assembles handrails at Etmilyn siding on Anzac Day 1991

This service enables passengers to enjoy the beauty of the Jarrah Forest while riding a unique train service where they travel in either converted open freight wagons with tram seating or open saloon coaches with large picture windows hauled by HVTR's (non-main line) fleet of heritage Steam & Diesel locomotives and passenger carrying rolling stock. A regular restaurant train is also a feature on this Dwellingup Forest Railway.

Equipment used on the Dwellingup Forest Railway

Click on the items listed below for information

 Motive Power G123  Steam Locomotive
V4 & V5 Diesel Mechanical Locomotives
SEC 1 Diesel Mechanical Locomotives
Forest Railway SS  Tasmanian Coaches
RAP  Excursion Cars
Etmilyn Restaurant Train AL2 Club Coach
AV 426 Dining Car
ZJ 367 Passenger Brakevan



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