After four years of planning and one year being built, the Busselton Jetty will receive its first new train in 22 years – an electric shining red masterpiece, just in time for Christmas.
The new electric train, costing just over $400,000 will accommodate up to 90 people, an upgrade on the existing 50 and will be powered by solar panels charging the train overnight in Railway House.
Busselton local businesses South West Machining Centre and GT Brakes, working with Jetty Operations Manager Ian Clarke and designer Neil Butler built the train, using local suppliers for paintwork, blinds, audio speakers, lights for night tours, electrics and a host of other fixtures and fittings.
“It was very important to BJECA as a non-profit community group that we involved the local business community so fabrication, construction and purchasing was undertaken locally wherever possible,” said Mr Clarke.
“What I was most impressed with is the attention to detail that the locals have contributed to the manufacturing of the train – they really have thought of everything for the passengers and the drivers – it has been a labour of love,” said BJECA CEO Lisa Shreeve.
The train compartments feature 18 seats per compartment and 6 seats per section so bigger groups can sit together. Another feature is the accessible carriages for wheelchairs and walkers, plus all of the seats flip up to allow more room. Secure see through blinds mean that the train is warmer to sit in during winter but you are still able to relax and watch the ocean as the train rolls along 1.7km of track.
Funded by the Busselton Jetty Environment and Conservation Association (BJECA) and $100,000 from the Commonwealth Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) Program operated by Tourism WA, the new electric Jetty Train is the first of its kind in Australia.
The new electric Busselton Jetty Train will be known as the ‘Stocker Preston Express’ after a partnership was created in May 2016 between the region’s largest real estate business Stocker Preston and the Jetty to be formalised with a train naming ceremony on the Busselton Jetty in March once the new locomotive is finished.
Plans are still being made for what will happen to the old Busselton Jetty Train with some ideas to sink it under the Jetty as a dive or snorkel trail.