Kalgoorlie celebrates launch of new Prospector
Kalgoorlie will today celebrate the launch of Transwa's new Prospector train, which comes into service tomorrow.
Kalgoorlie-Boulder joined Premier Geoff Gallop, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan and special guests from Perth in a day of celebration.
Launching the new Prospector, Dr Gallop said the Government was pleased to be giving something back to the people of the Goldfields region, which had played such a huge part in the development of the State.
"Making rail travel so fast and so comfortable gives back to the region as a whole and to the communities along the line, not only in providing the most modern public transport, but also in promoting tourism to the area," Dr Gallop said.
The two 2-car trains unveiled today are part of a nine-railcar order placed with NSW-based United Goninan. The remaining 3-car Prospector and a 2-car AvonLink are expected to be delivered in the next few months. The total cost of the new trains is more than $56million.
Dr Gallop said the State Government was proud of its investment in public transport in the regions.
"We have provided a fleet of 21 new Transwa road coaches, this new Prospector, and soon a new AvonLink train.
"This is a total investment of almost $69million in regional WA, complementing our investment in urban public transport with the expansion of the rail network.
"It also reaffirms our determination to build and connect communities rather than see them become fractured and isolated.
"Our commitment to give the regions a fair go is based on the provision of infrastructure that is comparable with the metropolitan area and encourages economic growth and social viability.
"This magnificent new train is tangible evidence of that commitment."
Ms MacTiernan said the Prospector had held a special place in the hearts of all Western Australians since the old train went into service 33 years ago.
The new Prospector would boast modern facilities such as personal air conditioning controls, personal music channels, new release movies, access to power points for laptop computers, and phone and facsimile services.
"The first passenger rail services to Kalgoorlie began more than 100 years ago when the narrow-gauge line first reached the booming gold town in 1896," Ms MacTiernan said.
"Regular services between Perth and Kalgoorlie started in 1934 with the steam-driven Westland Express, which took 14 hours and was an overnight trip.
"The Prospector passenger service was introduced in 1971, and has carried more than 2.6 million passengers during its three decades of service.
"We want the local community to join the celebrations to welcome the new service, as its going to benefit the whole town - bringing more tourism and more jobs as well as more access."
Among the passengers on the first two trips (from Perth and from Kalgoorlie) were 50 double-ticket winners (25 doubles on each train). Transwa, the Public Transport Authority's regional passenger division, ran competitions in Perth and Kalgoorlie which attracted more than 15,000 entries.
Kalgoorlie-Boulder Railway Station took on a party atmosphere with bands, dancers, a sausage sizzle and family activities, and a live broadcast on local radio.
Revellers were able to look over the train, which will travel at speeds of up to 160kmh and will compete with car travel to Kalgoorlie-Boulder for the first time.
The family fun day was followed by a civic reception for invited guests held at the Kalgoorlie Town Hall and hosted by the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
About 3500 people have booked tickets on the new train since booking opened on May 17.