Avonlink railcars at Northam in October 2005
Service type Passenger train
Status Operational
Locale Western Australia
First service 24 September 1995
Current operator(s) Transwa (since 2003)
Former operator(s) Westrail (1995-2000)
WAGR Commission (2000-2003)
Start East Perth / Midland
End Northam / Merredin
Distance travelled 97 km (Northam)
261 km (Merredin)
Average journey time 1 hour 20 minutes (Northam)
3 hours 15 minutes (Merredin)
Service frequency Weekdays
Line used Eastern Railway
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The AvonLink is a 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge passenger train operated by Transwa between Perth and the Avon Valley.


Avonlink set going under the Great Eastern Highway bridge in Swan View in October 2009

The first AvonLink service departed Northam on 24 September 1995, and was significant, as it was the first new country passenger rail service in Western Australia for 47 years.[1][2]

In June 2004 the AvonLink service was extended to Merredin on three days a week. In spring 2006, Transwa trialed a day trip Sunday service to Toodyay and Northam. The six-week trial proved popular with each service being fully booked out weeks in advance. However, due to overall lack of passengers at other times the service was discontinued.

In August 2013, Transwa announced that the AvonLink service would cease on 30 December 2013 due to poor patronage and be replaced by a road coach.[3] However, this announcement generated significant criticism. On 19 November 2013, two Wheatbelt region MLAs, Mia Davies and Shane Love, presented petitions to the WA State Parliament calling for the retention of the AvonLink. The petitions bore a total of more than 3,000 signatures of Avon Valley residents.[4][5][6]

On 3 December 2013, the WA Minister for Transport, Troy Buswell, announced that the AvonLink service would be retained, initially for a period of six months, while Transwa and the Wheatbelt Development Commission worked through the funding solution required to keep the service running beyond that initial period.[6] The MerredinLink service was also retained.[7]

In May 2014, it was announced that an enhanced service would continue until at least June 2017.[8][9]

Rolling stock

The service commenced with Comeng built railcars built in 1971 to operate The Prospector.[10][11]

In December 2000 Westrail awarded a contract to United Goninan, Broadmeadow for nine railcars to replace the 1971 built stock. Seven were for The Prospector and two for the Avonlink service.[12][13] The new train entered service on 1 August 2005.[2]



Each weekday (except Wednesdays), there are three trains in each direction between Midland and Northam, stopping at Toodyay. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the frequency of this service is reduced to just one train each way.[14]

On Wednesdays, in addition to the above service, there is also one service in each direction between East Perth and Merredin. This service is scheduled to stop at all stations en route, however between Northam and Merredin, trains only stop at intermediate stations if advance bookings are made.[14]

There is no service on Sundays.[14]

This gives a total of 15 trains per week in each direction between Midland and Northam, of which one is extended both westbound to East Perth and eastbound to Merredin.



  1. Gray, Bill; May, Andrew (2006). A History of WAGR Passenger Carriages. Perth: Bill Gray. p. 341. ISBN 0-646-45902-3.
  2. 1 2 AvonLink and MerredinLink Transwa
  3. Ducey, Liam (20 August 2013). "Transwa cancels AvonLink train service". WA Today. Retrieved 3 December 2013. External link in |newspaper= (help)
  4. "Keep AvonLink: residents petition Parliament". Central Midlands & Coastal Advocate. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013. External link in |newspaper= (help)
  5. Predovnik, Rashelle (21 November 2013). "Petitioning to keep the AvonLink". Echo News. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013. External link in |newspaper= (help)
  6. 1 2 Strutt, Jessica; Bembridge, Courtney (3 December 2013). "The State Government has backflipped on its decision to scrap the AvonLink train service". ABC News. Retrieved 3 December 2013. External link in |newspaper= (help)
  7. Robertson, Katie (3 December 2013). "AvonLink train service will stay open until mid-2014 after community outrage". perthnow. Retrieved 4 December 2013. External link in |newspaper= (help)
  8. AvonLink Trial Receives Go Ahead Shire of Toodyay 8 May 2014
  9. Rail link back on track Archived 20 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Avon Valley Gazette 20 May 2014
  10. "Westrail Commences Avonlink' Service" Railway Digest December 1995 page 22
  11. "Future prospects for the Prospector" Railway Digest October 1997 pages 18-19
  12. New 'world-class' Goldfields and Avon trains move closer Government of Western Australia 7 December 2000
  13. "WA Short Lines" Railway Digest February 2001
  14. 1 2 3 AvonLink Timetable


  • Whiteford, David (2015). A History of the AvonLink Train Service. Toodyay, WA: Shire of Toodyay. ISBN 9780646944258. 

External links

Media related to Transwa Avonlink at Wikimedia Commons

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