After four years of planning and 18 months being built, Busselton Jetty has its first new train in 22 years, ‘The Stocker Preston Express’!
The new electric train, the first of its kind in Australia, was named after a partnership was formed between the region’s largest real estate business Stocker Preston and Busselton Jetty Incorporated.
The train, which cost just over $400,000, accommodates up to 90 people and is powered by solar panels which charge the train overnight in Railway House.
New features of the train include six seats per section so bigger groups can sit together, accessible carriages for wheelchairs and walkers, more room in the carriages as the seats flip up and a warmer, more sheltered ride with secure see-through blinds.
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, speakers, lights for night tours, electrics and a host of other fixtures and fittings.
“It was very important to Busselton Jetty Inc 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 CEO Lisa Shreeve.
The train was funded by a $100,000 grant from Tourism WA as part of the Commonwealth Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) Program operated by Tourism WA and Busselton Jetty Inc.