Shire takes carriage of rail heritage

Published on Wednesday, 24 April 2024 at 10:23:15 AM

The Shire of Murray has been gifted nine heritage railway carriages and four heritage brake vans from long-term Pinjarra resident and a key player in establishing Hotham Valley Railway in 1974, Mr Colin Taylor, as a contribution towards the Pinjarra Heritage Railway Precinct Project.  

Shire President, David Bolt, said the generous donation means the Shire now owns assets that can be refurbished to live a new life as short-stay accommodation or food and beverage venues.

“Through the Pinjarra Heritage Railway Precinct Project, we are unlocking Murray’s potential as a central point for world-class heritage railway experiences. The donation of these heritage carriages represents another step towards this vision and we are incredibly grateful to Colin for this gift,” said President Bolt.

Mr Taylor’s lifelong passion for the railway and locomotives stems from his upbringing.

“My grandfather spent his working life as a steam engine driver on WA’s railways. Naturally, I became interested in locomotives as a small boy and had good grounding on how they worked from a young age.

“This passion followed me through to adulthood and I have been involved in railway heritage for many years. It will bring me great joy to see these carriages live again and witness their history shared and celebrated.”

The Murray Heritage Railway Project seeks to revitalise existing landmark sites and heritage assets within Murray to stimulate visitation, create jobs and attract significant new investment.

Through the project, the Pinjarra Railway Station is earmarked for an exciting revitalisation and - subject to funding - will be redeveloped as a thriving regional culture, arts and heritage destination.

“Inclusive of a heritage railway museum, visitor centre and café, event spaces, destination play space, community facilities the precinct will celebrate and pay respect to the past whilst enabling contemporary activities, legacies and stories to be created,” added Mr Bolt.

“Colin’s donation put us another step toward our aspirations for the area. On behalf of the Shire and my fellow councillors, I’d like to thank him for the incredible donation,” he said.

Another important element of the project is the reconnection of the Pinjarra to Dwellingup Heritage Rail Link.

Hotham Valley Railway General Manager, Ian Willis who has also been part of the 50 year journey with Hotham Valley, was the original owner of the carriages donated by Mr Taylor. They were purchased to be pulled behind the world’s most famous steam locomotive - Flying Scotsman - when it visited Western Australia for the Australian Bicentenary in 1988.

“These carriages are iconic not just for the Murray Heritage Railway Project, they are iconic in their own right. Being part of Australia’s Bicentenary, and having travelled across the country, they have a lot of stories to tell,” said Mr Willis.

 “Once refurbished the train carriages will add unique experiences for those that visit Pinjarra via the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway.

“Thanks to Colin’s kind donation, the future is bright for railway heritage in Murray,” added Mr WIllis

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