Fremantle line

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fremantle line
Continues fromMidland line
Continues asSpearwood–Armadale line
SystemTransperth Train Operations
Rolling stockA-series, B-series
Ridership5,256,226 (year to June 2023)
Opened1 March 1881
Closed1 September 1979
Track gauge
  • 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
  • 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Electrification25 kV 50 Hz AC from overhead catenary
Route map

continues to Midland line
Perth Bus transfer Transwa Free Transit Zone
James Street Bus Bridge
West Perth
West Perth Subway
City West Free Transit Zone
Leederville Cutting
Hamilton Street bridge
West Leederville
West Leederville football platform
Haydn Bunton Drive bridge
Subi Centro tunnel
Subiaco Bus transfer
Daglish turnback
Nicholson Road subway
Shenton Park Bus transfer CircleRoute
Shenton Park Busway
Nagal Pass
Loch Street
Old Showgrounds station
Ashton Avenue bridge
Showgrounds Special event station
Shenton Road subway
Claremont Bus transfer CircleRoute
Butlers Siding
Claremont turnback 1
Stirling Road subway
Claremont turnback 2
Congdon Bridge
Grant Street
Eric Street Bridge
Cottesloe Bus transfer
Jarrad Street crossing
Salvado Street crossing
Mosman Park
Victoria Street crossing
Victoria Street
Leighton freight siding
Rocky Bay line
North Fremantle
Old North Fremantle station
Tydeman Road Bridge
North Quay rail loop
Freight diversion
Peter Hughes Drive
East Fremantle
Fremantle Bus transfer CircleRoute
continues to Kwinana line
Old Fremantle station
Cliff Street crossing
Warden Lane crossing
The Esplanade
Mews Road crossing
Capo d'Orlando Drive crossing
Success Harbour
Success Harbour crossing
Ocean Road crossing
South Beach
Rollinson Road crossing
Robbs Jetty
McTaggart Cove crossing
Hamilton Road
Cockburn Junction
Alcoa spur
Hogg Road bridge
Weston Street
Beard Street bridge
Railways in Perth
List of Transperth stations

The Fremantle line is a suburban railway and service in Western Australia that connects the central business district (CBD) of Perth with Fremantle.


The railway on which the service runs opened on 1 March 1881 as the first suburban railway line in Perth by William Robinson.[1] It originally operated as the Eastern Railway and ran between Fremantle and Guildford, via central Perth. In March 1884, the railway line was extended via Midland Junction to Bellevue[2][3] and later to Clackline, York and Northam. The railway line opened as a single track with a passing loop at Claremont, it was duplicated in 1896/97. A dedicated freight line was later added on the western side between Cottesloe and the Leighton Marshalling Yard.[4]

On 22 October 1898, the railway line was extended south to Robbs Jetty, on 1 July 1903 via Cockburn to Coogee and on 19 December 1955 via Woodman Point to Kwinana.[5][6] The Coogee to Woodman Point section closed on 16 September 1973, followed by Robbs Jetty to Coogee in February 1986.[3][7]

In July 1926, the Fremantle Railway Bridge over the Swan River was partly washed away in a flood, with one line restored in October 1926 and the second in April 1928.[4]

In the 1960s, as part of the standard gauge project, the section south of Cockburn was replaced by the Kwinana line on a different alignment.[8] One of the lines north of Cockburn to the container terminal at North Quay and Leighton Marshalling Yard was converted to standard gauge. The Fremantle Railway Bridge was converted to dual gauge.[4][9] A marshalling yard was built at Robbs Jetty.

In 1966, the eastern railway metropolitan passenger services were curtailed to terminate at Midland.

Plaque commemorating the closure of the Fremantle line at Perth station in 1979

Passenger services on the Fremantle line were suspended on 1 September 1979. The decision was based on three one day counts in 1971, 1975 and 1977. The Liberal government of Charles Court planned to convert the railway reserve into a busway, citing figures which showed a loss of $1.14 per passenger-journey on trains versus a loss of $0.26 per passenger-journey on buses. The closure of the line was opposed by Friends of the Railway (FOR), which submitted a petition of 100,000 signatures and prepared a 98-page report arguing for its retention.[10] The railway was kept in working order despite the closure, initially because narrow gauge freight trains still used it to access Fremantle, there being no other narrow gauge access to the port.[11] Later when a narrow gauge link was constructed from Cockburn to North Fremantle, trade unions had placed a ban on working on dismantling any track or equipment.[12] The service was reinstated on 29 July 1983 following a change of government which saw Brian Burke and the Australian Labor Party (ALP) come to power.[1][4][13][14] During the closure of the rail line, patronage dropped by 30%.[15]

For the staging of the 1987 America's Cup, stations south of Fremantle were erected for use by special trains at The Esplanade, Success Harbour and South Beach. The Hotham Valley Railway operated a daily service on this section of the line with a W class steam locomotive as the Spinnaker Run between October 1986 and February 1987.[16] The narrow and standard gauge lines were rebuilt as a single dual gauge line at the same time. Having been disused since 1987, the three stations were demolished in September 2018.[17][18]

During 1990, work commenced on building a new North Fremantle station, 800 metres (870 yd) north of its original location, which opened for service on 28 July 1991. Leighton station, which was 700 metres (770 yd) further north, was demolished during the electrification of the line. Regular electric services started in September 1991.[1][19] Today there are 17 stations on the line.[20]

As part of the Subi Centro project, Subiaco station and 900 metres (980 yd) of the line were sunk in 1998.[21] Between 2011 and 2014, the Fremantle line was sunk between Lake Street and the Horseshoe Bridge in the Perth CBD to allow for the redevelopment of the area.[22] Perth station's former Fremantle to Midland platform became an island platform, with an additional platform and track built on the north side. Platforms west of the Horseshoe Bridge were demolished.[22] In June 2011 a $237 million cost blow-out was revealed, added to a 2009 project estimate of $500 million.[23][24]

The new tunnel is the first in Western Australia to use a rigid overhead conductor rail instead of overhead wires, the same system as used on the Madrid Metro. With overhead wires, the clearance between the new tunnel and the existing Joondalup line tunnel is only 75 cm (30 in). By using a conductor rail, the new tunnel could be built to a smaller diameter, allowing for an increased clearance between the two.[25] The new tunnel opened on 18 July 2013.[26]

With the privatisation of Westrail in 2000, responsibility for the Perth to South Beach section passed to the Public Transport Authority and the South Beach to Cockburn Junction section to Arc Infrastructure, although operational responsibility for the standard gauge line is with Arc Infrastructure.[27][28][29]

A new bridge over the Swan River is scheduled for completion in 2025. This will carry the Fremantle line with the existing bridge retained for use by freight trains to Fremantle Harbour.[30]


Dual gauge track at South Beach station in February 2006

Transperth operate services on the line from Fremantle through the Perth CBD to Midland on the Midland line.[31][32][33] Freight services operate from Kewdale and Forrestfield to North Quay. Until July 2015 these were operated by Aurizon when SCT Logistics took over.[34][35]

Rolling stock[edit]

Until the ADG class railcars entered service in 1953, services on the Fremantle line were operated by steam locomotives. Some peak-hour services continued to be steam hauled until the arrival of the ADK/ADB class diesel multiple units in 1968 resulted in the end of steam haulage. When the line was electrified in 1991, A-series electric multiple units took over. B-series electric multiple units have been used irregularly (for example, for special events services to West Leederville). Two three-car B-series trains were introduced on regular weekday peak services from 21 July 2019.[36]


Below is the annual patronage of Fremantle railway line from 2010 to 2011 financial year. Figures are provided as total boardings, which includes all fare-paying boardings and free travel on stations within the free transit zones as well as transfers between stations. The figures for rail replacement and special events services are not included in the total.[37]

Fremantle line annual patronage
Year Patronage ±%
2010–11 8,198,224
2011–12 8,679,139 +5.87%
2012–13 8,866,211 +2.16%
2013–14 8,284,716 −6.56%
2014–15 8,228,255 −0.68%
2015–16 8,244,599 +0.20%
2016–17 7,940,853 −3.68%
2017–18 7,694,437 −3.10%
2018–19 7,476,804 −2.83%
2019–20 6,173,120 −17.44%
2020–21 4,853,233 −21.38%
2021–22 5,217,162 +7.50%
2022–23 5,256,226 +0.75%

Cultural references[edit]

The Fremantle line featured in the 2006 film Last Train to Freo.


During hot weather, the tracks can distort. As a result, train speeds are reduced by approximately 20 kilometres per hour (12 mph) when the air temperature is above 37 °C (99 °F), and by an additional 10 kilometres per hour (6.2 mph) when the air temperature is above 41 °C (106 °F).[38][39]

The Transperth network currently uses fixed block signalling and automatic train protection, which stops trains that pass a red signal and slows trains that drive too fast.[40]: 21  These systems will be replaced by an automatic train control system, likely a communications-based train control system.[40]: 27 


Transperth system map, with the Fremantle line in blue.


Icon Purpose
§ Special events station
Station Distance from Perth[41] Fare zone[42] Location Opened Connections
km mi
Perth 0.0 0.0 1/FTZ Perth 1881 Bus at Perth Busport
Australind, Airport, Armadale, Joondalup, Mandurah and Thornlie lines
Services continue on the Midland line
City West 1.6 1.0 1/FTZ West Perth 1986 Airport line
West Leederville 2.7 1.7 1 Subiaco, West Leederville 1897 Airport line
Subiaco 3.6 2.2 1 Subiaco 1883 Bus, Airport line
Daglish 4.9 3.0 1 Daglish, Subiaco 1924 Airport line
Shenton Park 6.0 3.7 1 Shenton Park 1908 Bus, Airport line
Karrakatta 7.6 4.7 1 Karrakatta 1886 Airport line
Loch Street 8.0 5.0 1 Claremont, Karrakatta 1954 Airport line
Showgrounds§ 8.7 5.4 1 Claremont 1954 Airport line
Claremont 9.4 5.8 1 Claremont 1886 Bus, Airport line
Swanbourne 10.5 6.6 2 Claremont, Swanbourne 1904
Grant Street 11.2 7.0 2 Cottesloe 1954
Cottesloe 12.4 7.7 2 Cottesloe 1884 Bus
Mosman Park 13.6 8.5 2 Cottesloe, Mosman Park 1894
Victoria Street 14.2 8.8 2 Cottesloe, Mosman Park 1954
North Fremantle 16.1 10.0 2 North Fremantle 1991
Fremantle 19.0 11.8 2 Fremantle 1907 Bus

Stopping patterns and frequency[edit]

The Fremantle railway line has one all-stops service pattern. All stops services run every 15 minutes during the day Monday to Sunday, every 10 minutes (six trains per hour) during the weekday peak period, and every half an hour or every hour at night. When the Airport railway line began operation,[43][44] weekday peak period frequency between Claremont and Fremantle was reduced to five trains per hour.[45] A special D stopping pattern servicing Shenton College previously ran between Perth station and Shenton Park station once daily in each direction.[42] This pattern last ran and was deleted on 7 October 2022, due to the Airport line rendering it useless.


  1. ^ a b c Our History Archived 22 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine Public Transport Authority
  2. ^ Legislative Council - The Governor's Speech The West Australian 12 July 1884 page 3
  3. ^ a b Quinlan, Howard; Newland, John (2000). Australian Railway Routes 1854 - 2000. Redfern: Australian Railway Historical Society. p. 64. ISBN 0-909650-49-7.
  4. ^ a b c d Minchin, RS; Higham, GJ (1981). Robb's Railway Fremantle to Guildford Railway Centenary. Bassendean: Australian Railway Historical Society. pp. 11, 19, 24, 37, 38, 48. ISBN 0-9599690-2-0.
  5. ^ Robb's Jetty-Woodman's Point Railway Act 1902 Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Parliament of Western Australia
  6. ^ Coogee-Kwinana Railway Act 1952 Parliament of Western Australia
  7. ^ Railway (Coogee-Kwinana Railway) Discontinuance Act 1973 Archived 22 January 2021 at the Wayback Machine Parliament of Western Australia
  8. ^ Kwinana-Mundijong-Jarrahdale Railway Act 1961 Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Parliament of Western Australia
  9. ^ Nomination of Western Australian Standard Gauge Railway for an Engineering Heritage Australia Heritage Recognition Award[permanent dead link] Engineers Australia September 2011 pages 10, 15
  10. ^ "Friends of Railways try save Perth to Fremantle line". The Canberra Times via Trove. 21 June 1979. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Perth City Link Rail Master Plan : Lowering of the Fremantle Railway in Perth" (PDF). Public Transport Authority. March 2010. p. 21. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 March 2022. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  12. ^ Higham, Geoffrey (2007). Marble Bar to Mandurah: A History of Passenger Rail Services in Western Australia. Rail Heritage WA. p. 89. ISBN 9780959969092. Archived from the original on 15 November 2022. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  13. ^ A History of the Town of Cottesloe Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Town of Cottesloe
  14. ^ A Guide to the 1983 State Cabinet Records Archived 14 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine State Records Office of Western Australia page 13
  15. ^ Newman, Peter (2012). "The Perth Rail Transformation: Some political lessons learned" (PDF). p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 October 2020. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  16. ^ A Descriptive History of Hotham Valley Tourist Railway Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine Hotham Valley Railway
  17. ^ Fremantle Line Platform Demolitions Public Transport Authority
  18. ^ Fremantle line platforms removed Railway Digest November 2018 page 27
  19. ^ "Occasional Notes". The West Australian. 21 October 1881. p. 2. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  20. ^ History of Stations on the Fremantle Line Right Track
  21. ^ Official opening of the Subiaco rail tunnel and station Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Government of Western Australia 12 December 1998
  22. ^ a b "Perth City Link Rail Master Plan - Lowering of the Fremantle Railway in Perth". Public Transport Authority of Western Australia. 30 March 2010. Archived from the original on 27 March 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  23. ^ Prior, Neale (2 June 2011). "City Link in $237m cost blowout". The West Australian. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  24. ^ "1ha town square to be built on land when Perth rail goes underground". PerthNow (Sunday Times). 29 November 2011. Archived from the original on 13 August 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  25. ^ "WA rail technology first". Public Transport Authority of Western Australia. 6 August 2012. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  26. ^ Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese highlights urban rail as key election issue Archived 31 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine ABC News 18 July 2013
  27. ^ Network Map Archived 23 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine Brookfield Rail
  28. ^ Scope of the Network Rules Archived 16 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine Public Transport Authority
  29. ^ Trackwork resleepering Archived 16 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine Public Transport Authority
  30. ^ Swan River Crossings Archived 23 December 2021 at the Wayback Machine Main Roads Western Australia
  31. ^ "Fremantle Line". Fremantle Line Timetable (PDF). Transperth. 21 September 2023 [effective from 20 November 2023].
  32. ^ Fremantle Line Timetable Archived 5 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine Transperth 18 July 2013
  33. ^ Midland Line Timetable Archived 6 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine Transperth 18 July 2013
  34. ^ Trainline 2 Statistical Report Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Bureau of Infrastructure Transport & Regional Economics 2014 page 39
  35. ^ SCT WA picks up new business with Fremantle Port Rail Service Archived 1 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine SCT Logistics August 2015
  36. ^ Transperth. "Train and Bus Network Wide Changes". Government of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  37. ^ "Transperth patronage". Public Transport Authority. Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  38. ^ "Train services slowed due to extreme heat". Public Transport Authority. 4 February 2020. Archived from the original on 18 January 2022. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  39. ^ Coles, Brittany (6 February 2020). "Transperth reduces speed of trains due to extreme heat". Rail Express. Archived from the original on 18 January 2022. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  40. ^ a b "HCS SWTR Book 1 - Scope of Works DRAFT 01-09-21_Redacted". Tenders WA. 30 September 2021. Archived from the original on 20 January 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2022. Click Download Now, then Download for Information Only. Make sure HCS SWTR Book 1 - Scope of Works DRAFT 01-09-21_Redacted.pdf is selected, then click Download Documents.
  41. ^ "Manual – Rail Access" (PDF). Public Transport Authority. 30 August 2021. p. 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 September 2021. Retrieved 20 September 2021. Distance from East Perth station to Perth station is 2.1 km. Distance listed for Fremantle line stations is their distance from East Perth station. Each distance listed on this article is the distance listed in the source minus 2.1 km.
  42. ^ a b "Fremantle Line Train Timetable" (PDF). Transperth. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 February 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  43. ^ "All aboard: date set for opening of METRONET Forrestfield-Airport Link". Media Statements. 16 August 2022. Archived from the original on 16 August 2022. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  44. ^ de Kruijff, Peter (16 August 2022). "Long-delayed $1.9b Forrestfield-Airport rail link to open in October". WAtoday. Archived from the original on 16 August 2022. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  45. ^ Saffioti, Rita (22 September 2021). "Planning underway on Airport Line connecting bus and train services". Perth, WA: Government of Western Australia, Dept of the Premier and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 22 September 2021. Retrieved 17 December 2021.

External links[edit]