Eric Charlton

Eric Charlton

Former Minister for Transport

    Perth-to-Kalgoorlie train service due to start in 2001 revolutionary

    23/06/1998 12:00 AM



    Transport Minister Eric Charlton said today that the new Perth-to-Kalgoorlie ‘super train' due to commence operations in 2001 was part of national revolution in rail.


    "The new high-speed Kalgoorlie Prospector and AvonLink commuter service to Northam are part of an exciting new era which see a variety of fast trains operating around Australia," Mr Charlton said.


    "Criticism from the Opposition's Alannah MacTiernan about these exciting new trains are predictable and demonstrate once again that the Opposition has no vision or plan for providing Western Australians with world-class transport amenities.


    "Ms MacTiernan's caustic assessment of these latest developments are typically poor form because she knows full well that we announced in August 1996 our intention to work towards replacing the ageing Prospector.


    "The Coalition Government has been working diligently on delivering high-class rail to the people of WA.


    "This time last year I initiated a rail summit to bring all States together with the single objective of creating a high-speed rail corridor across the continent from Brisbane to Perth.


    "We are now seeing an unstoppable thrust which will result in a one-shop control body for interstate trains and the standard gauge transcontinental line upgraded to a world-class high-speed corridor for freight and passenger services."


    Mr Charlton said WA was leading the way.


    An audit carried out by Westrail more than a year ago identified that $175 million would be needed to upgrade the standard-gauge track between Kalgoorlie and Perth to cater for high-speed freight and passenger trains.


    The section between Koolynobbing and Kalgoorlie would require the most intensive upgrade ($40 million) in order to carry high-speed freight and passenger services.


    Mr Charlton said the Federal Government announced in September last year that it would initially provide $250 million of the estimated $1 billion needed to upgrade the east-west standard gauge line.


    "Currently the newly-formed Australian Rail and Track Corporation is overseeing an audit on a national basis and will decide what parts of the line will get Federal funds," he said.


    "Westrail has already committed internal funding of between $50 and $80 million to install state-of-the-art signalling on the West Australian section of the east-west line.


    "The $175 million for the total upgrade between Perth and Kalgoorlie will also be sourced from Westrail internal funding as part of general track upgrade and general maintenance forward estimates."


    The Minister said that Westrail's annual budget required for this specific work would be shaped after the Australian Rail and Track Corporation allocations became clearer.


    WA was working closely with ARTC on all issues associated with the track upgrade and operational criteria.


    "With a new access regime operating around Australia there will be many new private operators using the track network bringing more and more healthy competition into play," Mr Charlton said.


    Media contact: Doug Cunningham 9321 7333