The iconic Prospector train service connecting Perth and Kalgoorlie has celebrated 50 years of travel.
The Prospector service commenced on November 29, 1971 and was the fastest trip with the largest railcars in Australia at the time.
Advertised as ‘sleek, shiny, fast and luxurious’ with the ‘very best in comfort and service’, the train set new standards in regional rail travel in the 70s, replacing the previous overnight sleeper service and cutting travel time from 14 to eight hours.
Major renovation works are also planned at Kalgoorlie Station, the end point of the Prospector’s journey through the outback.
The $2.7 million Kalgoorlie Railway Station renovation work includes remedial heritage stonework and air drains around the base of the station to combat rising damp. The metal platform canopy and gutters will be replaced and wooden posts repaired and painted, with the work supervised by a specialist heritage architect.
This follows renovations completed this year including refurbished internal staff areas and passenger toilets, installation of an accessible public toilet and landscaping.
Work is also underway to further improve the Prospector experience by delivering Wi-Fi on board the service for the first time. This 12-month trial, on track to commence in early 2022, will allow passengers to remain connected as they travel through some of the most remote regions in Australia.
This initiative will complement the on-demand personal entertainment already available on board.
The State Government continues to invest in rail safety improvements along the Prospector route.
In 2022, work is set to commence on a new raised, safe access platform at Merredin Railway Station to help people with mobility difficulties and an additional railway pedestrian crossing at Toodyay.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said riding the Prospector was like travelling in the Golden Age of rail travel – “it’s so enjoyable to sit, relax and watch the beautiful Western Australian outback go by.”
“We want to offer more people the opportunity to ride this iconic train. We want to continue to enhance the Prospector experience, which is why we are delivering Wi-Fi on board and upgrading the iconic Kalgoorlie Railway Station.
“We are also ensuring we maintain a focus on regional rail safety, with a new raised platform to be constructed at Merredin and a new pedestrian crossing delivered in Toodyay.”