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Swan Chamber of Commerce president Gerry Hanssen wants to use the existing freight line from Midland to provide diesel trains to Ellenbrook. By CLAIRE OTTAVIANO

Diesel trains to Ellenbrook?

DIESEL trains could service Ellenbrook by Christmas next year says Swan Chamber of Commerce president Gerry Hanssen but the Department of Transport says the plan’s budget is not realistic.

Mr Hanssen wants the existing freight line to Geraldton available for residents immediately rather than waiting for the Morley-Ellenbrook line proposed under the state government’s Metronet proposal.

“The railway line is already there, it’s been there the past 50 years and it hasn’t been utilised,” he said.

“Within a month, you could have the railway line up and running.”

Mr Hanssen described the amount needed to get diesel trains running as “petty cash” compared to the $700 million needed for the new Morley-Ellenbrook line.
“There’s not a single reason this can’t be done… It frustrates me that nobody wants to listen,” he said.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the department was committed to its Metronet plan.

Metronet is a $2.5 billion federal and state government investment that includes the Forrestfield-Airport Link, extension of the Joondalup line to Yanchep, extension of the Armadale line to Byford, the relocation of the Midland station and a new station at Karnup on the Mandurah line.

Ms Saffioti said the Metronet team was undertaking planning for the McGowan Government’s election commitment to build the Morley-Ellenbrook line,” she said.

“The $30m quoted by the Swan Chamber of Commerce would not realistically deliver their proposed project,” she said.

Protections on the Swan Valley, amongst other reasons, would also conflict with the use of the freight line according to a Metronet team spokesman.

“It would not be possible for the Public Transport Authority’s electrified passenger trains to share the same tracks with container freight trains due to differing operational requirements,” he said.

“Unless purchasing a full fleet of new rolling stock, a diesel passenger train service would only be able to operate a low frequency of service that is unlikely to be viewed as a competitive travel option for the community.”

The spokesman said the bus services from Ellenbrook to Whitfords Station or Bassendean Station offered a faster route than the freight line.

According to Mr Hanssen no formal consultation on his plan was necessary but he would coordinate a community forum with residents and businesses in Ellenbrook and surrounding areas.

“I don’t think there’s a single person in Ellenbrook who doesn’t want a rail line… people are asking for it everyday,” he said.

Tender applications for detailed design work of the Morley-
Ellenbrook line have closed while tenders for the planning and concept design
of the new Midland
station and line extension to Bellevue remains open until December 19.

By Claire Ottaviano

About The Editorial Team

Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.


  1. I think Gerrys plan has merit. At least let the Government organise some due diligence on the project. Gerry can plan and build a Multi Story building turn key in anywhere from 10-16 months. I think he deserves a little more ear time.

  2. The government has made up it’s mind and no one outside of government will change it, even if it’s a more practical and cheaper plan.
    If one looks at a roadmap it’s not hard to see the benefits of this option. It would provide an option for a station to service The Vines as well as Ellenbrook.
    Gotta love government lateral thinking.

  3. And what happens when a CBH grain train or a bauxite train from the mines gets stuck behind a passenger train? Do you know how long those trains are? Over 100 trucks and two engines. The freight line runs behind my house. In fact the back half of the property was resumed for the line before it was laid.

    Suburban Passenger trains cannot safely share the same lines as heavy freight trains. The passenger trains to Kalgoorlie and Bunbury are not the same. They do not stop every couple of kms, as do surburban passenger trains. You cannot lay new tracks alongside the freight lines, there is not enough room under the bridge over the railway line at Great Eastern Highway, Bellevue.

    Looking at a road map is of no use, you need to study the railway lines tracks and discover what the problems are alsong its pathway.

  4. John from Stratton

    Back in 1992 we were promised a train line with stations at swan view, Stratton, Millendon, Middles swan and all along the freight route. It would be easy to extend that to Ellenbrook and the vines by going over the bridge which is in Upper Swan and curve around. I have the original page as a screen print of the original decalration by Richard Court if required.

    • Your point about freight trains being stuck behind passenger trains doesn’t pass the pub test. How many stations do you envisage being between Ellenbrook and Midland? And what about train scheduling, it’s not as though these trains show up without notice.
      There are two lines as far as Millendon, from there there is three almost until Haddrill Road. From there it is a single line to Upper Swan. None of this would be a major problem for competent engineers.
      Your other point about the bridge: It can be widened if necessary, all it needs is some good engineers on the job. The volume of train traffic is not such that scheduling would not overcome that problem anyway and what about crossovers. How many services per day would you expect to/from Ellenbrook anyway?

    • Totally agree John. If they wanted to do it they could and would. Our planners/engineers should check out the Alpine Railway from Christchurch to Greymouth in NZ. Who was the engineer, C Y O’connor of course and that was 120 years ago.

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