Esperance & Railway
The Museum Park is located on what was the town’s original railway yard. It is set in the former Esperance Railway shed. Expansions led to the construction of the Good Shed in 1896, and expansions continued into the 1900s.
Today, the museum is home to the Esperance W919 Railway. The train ran across the tracks between Esperance and Kalgoorlie between the years 1951 and 1969. The train worked for the West Australian Government for eighteen years, running back and forth between Esperance and Kalgoorlie.
While the train still ran, she travelled a total distance of 559,076 kilometres. She was able to carry up to four hundred and forty-two tonnes (442) of weight. It was a narrow-gauge railway; that is, it was narrower than the standard 1435 millimetres. It was less than four feet, eight and a half inches of the standard railway.
The W919 burned six tonnes of coal and used eight thousand gallons of water on each of its trips between Esperance and Kalgoorlie. The 482 locomotive steam train no longer runs the course but is statically displayed in the Esperance Museum.
The W919 steam locomotive train represents how rail transportation worked in the country areas of Western Australia between the year 1950 and the 1970s. It provides a throwback into history, displaying how far the world has come when it comes to rail means of transportation. There is no doubt that it is a sight to behold as it brings euphoria and nostalgia to its viewers.
The W919 locomotive was designed by Charles Clarke, Frederick Mills, and Beyer, Peacock & Co. It was constructed by Beyer Peacock & Co. Ltd. In Manchester, England. The train was constructed in 1951. Over the course of its functional life, it delivered value and performed efficiently for its time.
It is a 4-8-2 train. This represents the arrangement of the wheels of the train. It has four wheels leading in front, has eight coupled and powered driving wheels, and finally, has two trailing wheels. This type of train is commonly known as the mountain type.
Westrail, the company that owned the railway, indicated that they were neither ready to subsidise the commercial operators nor enter any agreement unless by the government’s instruction. Therefore, the Kalgoorlie to Esperance journey was stopped in 1996. The train was purchased from Westrail with money raised by Esperance Bay. This is how it has found its way as part of the remarkable offerings from Esperance.
Visit the Esperance Museum to see our display of the old Esperance railway from the late 1900s. Our display is one of the few W919 trains left. So, you can be sure that you will treat yourself to the view of a classic when you go for this option. The museum is open daily between 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm except on Good Friday, the 25th of December, and a short maintenance winter break. Entry fees apply.