WORK has begun on extending the historic Kalgoorlie to Boulder railway line to increase tourist accessibility to the region’s famous Super Pit gold mine.
A partnership between Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM), which manages the Super Pit, project management company Engenium and Brookfield Rail will see phase one of the extension begin at a disused railway line at the Boulder City station.
Engenium managing director Wayne Peel said the extension, which would run across the Goldfields Highway to the Super Pit lookout, would boost the amount of visitors to the region.
“The Super Pit is a must-see tourist attraction and an extended railway line up to the lookout will increase its visitor numbers considerably,” he said.
“Kalgoorlie is renowned for its ‘gold rush’ era, so we are delighted to provide our support in phase one of bringing the Golden Mile Loopline Railway back to life.”
The earthworks and laying of the track are expected to be completed in February 2013, and the 4km-long extension will then allow visitors to travel by rail to the lookout up to six times each day.
KCGM will undertake the earthworks for the ramp that will enable the line to reach the top of the Super Pit lookout and Brookfield Rail will donate second-hand track, sleepers and turnouts.
The Loopline will link all main tourist attractions in the city, including the Super Pit lookout, WA Museum, Mt Charlotte lookout, Kalgoorlie Railway Station and the Hannan’s North Tourist Mine, and will be completed in four stages.
“It is envisaged that by 2023 we will be carrying approximately 70,000 visitors a year. These will include local members of the community, local tourists, executives
visiting the city [and] intrastate tourists, as well as interstate and overseas tourists,” Golden Mile Loopline Railway Society manager Mike Lucas said.
The Golden Mile Loopline was constructed in the 1800s and was once the busiest railway in Australia, with more than 100 trains running day and night.
Kalgoorlie’s Super Pit produces up to 800,000oz of gold every year and is 3.6km long, 1.5km wide and more than 600m deep.