Transwa Prospector

The Prospector

Transwa WDA/WDB/WDC class railcars near Kalgoorlie in February 2010
Service type Passenger train
Status Operational
Locale Western Australia
Predecessor The Kalgoorlie
First service 29 November 1971
Current operator(s) Transwa (since 2003)
Former operator(s) WAGR (1971-1975)
Westrail (1975-2000)
WAGR Commission (2000-2003)
Start East Perth
End Kalgoorlie
Distance travelled 653 km (406 mi)
Average journey time 6 hours 45 minutes
Service frequency 9 round trips per week
Line used Eastern
Eastern Goldfields
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Prospector is a standard-gauge passenger train operated by Transwa between East Perth and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. The service departs from East Perth Terminal, not from Perth station, as it operates on 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge tracks, which are laid in a dual gauge format from East Perth to Northam, where the tracks become just standard gauge.


WAGR WCA/WCE class railcars crossing the Swan River at Guildford in April 1986

With the standard gauge line from Perth to Kalgoorlie due to open in mid-1969, the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) decided to replace The Kalgoorlie overnight sleeper service with a daylight service. The new service commenced on 29 November 1971, cutting the 653-kilometre (406 mi) journey time from fourteen to eight hours. With an average speed of 85 km/h, it was the fastest service in Australia.[1][2][3][4]

Rolling stock

In 1968 Comeng, Granville were awarded a contract to build eight WAGR WCA/WCE class railcars.[2][4][5]

Built to take advantage of the generous loading gauge on the new line, they were the largest carriages ever built in Australia. They were the first trains in Australia to have at-seat catering.[4] These held the record for the highest speed attained by an Australian train until bettered by a New South Wales XPT in September 1981.[6]

In December 2000 Westrail awarded a contract to United Goninan, Broadmeadow for seven Transwa WDA/WDB/WDC class railcars to replace the original railcars.[7][8]

The first entered service on 28 June 2004.[9] The new railcars are capable of 200 km/h (124 mph), but track conditions restrict their top speed to 160 km/h (99 mph).[10] Nonetheless they further reduced journey times to 6 hours 45 minutes.[11]



On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, there is one train each way between East Perth and Kalgoorlie, calling at all of the above stations except Toodyay. On Mondays and Fridays, the same service runs twice each way.[12]

On Wednesdays, there is one semi-fast service each way between East Perth and Kalgoorlie which runs fast between Midland and Merredin (stopping only at Northam), then stops at all of the above stations east of Merredin.[12]

On Sundays, there is one train in each direction stopping at all of the above stations (including Toodyay).[12]

This gives a total of 9 trains per week in each direction.


  1. Affleck, Fred (1978). On Track: The making of Westrail 1950 - 1976. Western Australian Railways Commission. p. 157. ISBN 0 7244 7560 5.
  2. 1 2 Gray, Bill; May, Andrew (2006). A History of WAGR Passenger Carriages. Perth: Bill Gray. pp. 304–311. ISBN 0-646-45902-3.
  3. Higham, Geoffrey (2007). Marble Bar to Mandurah: A history of passenger rail services in Western Australia. Bassendean: Rail Heritage WA. p. 121. ISBN 978 0 9803922 0 3.
  4. 1 2 3 Dunn, John (2010). Comeng A History of Commonwealth Engineering Volume 3 1966-1977. Rosenberg Publishing. pp. 77–91. ISBN 9781877058905.
  5. "Future prospects for the Prospector" Railway Digest October 1997 pages 18-19
  6. Cooke, David (1984). Railmotors and XPTs. Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Division. ISBN 0 909650 23 3.
  7. New 'world-class' Goldfields and Avon trains move closer Government of Western Australia 7 December 2000
  8. "WA Short Lines" Railway Digest February 2001
  9. Prospector enters new era The Golden Mail 2 July 2004
  10. Prospector Product Sheet UGL Rail
  11. Prospector Timetable Transwa
  12. 1 2 3 Prospector Timetable


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