All Aboard The Time Machine

 

STEAMING AHEAD

Author Image Amy Roberts

Explore with Kate

The Hotham Valley tourist railway is one of the most popular attractions in the region. It’s not hard to see why, when you have the chance to hop aboard and experience a ride on a heritage train in the heart of the forest. Making memorable moments like this is what the stunning Dwellingup region is all about!

In 1974, a small group of enthusiasts met with one simple aim: to preserve steam locomotives and the railway line from Pinjarra to Dwellingup. After the devastating fire of 1961, the thriving timber industry was brought to a halt. The original station building at Dwellingup, along with most of the town, was destroyed, and the mill towns of Holyoak and Nanga Brook were both also devastated. The mills fell silent for the first time and Dwellingup’s future was in question. Without timber at its heart, what would become of the locomotives which transported the timber out to the rest of the state?

Thanks to the countless hours spent restoring and maintaining the Mountain type ‘W’ class of locomotives, by the train-loving locals who had lived with the familiar sound of historic trains coming and going, the railway came to life again on September 12, 1976. The line was finally handed over to the society in 1985 and since then, the crew of volunteer engineers has maintained the line to a high standard.

As a remnant of the early pioneering days, the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway as it is now known, gives visitors access to some of the state’s most picturesque views from their carriage windows, and is a reminder of the region’s living history.

For children, the thrill of seeing Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends – for real – is an unmissable treat, something they’ll never forget. There’s also the unique opportunity for a very special Saturday night supper – a five course meal aboard the 1919 Vintage Dining Car and 1884 Club Car. On these special evenings, guests can enjoy an all-Australian five-course roast dinner, served from the onboard wood stove as the train meanders through the night forest, softly floodlit from the train. From May to October, the Steam Ranger train offers a spectacular opportunity to climb aboard for the steepest and most spectacular section of railway, through the Darling Range Escarpment as the locomotive travels from Dwellingup to Isandra Siding, and back again to Dwellingup.

 

A TRULY REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE

Where else is it possible to travel back in time aboard a forest train, enjoying the views from Dwellingup to Etmilyn along the state’s last surviving lightly built developmental railway? Hauled by historic diesel locos, at the end of the trip, guests take a 25-minute walk along a trail in the heart of a rare jarrah forest. You won’t want to miss the train for this one!