Train fills for first peak ride south

From Left: Vernon Mahowa (15 yrs), Antonella Sabatini, Vituccia Sabatini, Shannon Mahowa (17 yrs) (NAMES OK) at Butler Train station
From Left: Vernon Mahowa (15 yrs), Antonella Sabatini, Vituccia Sabatini, Shannon Mahowa (17 yrs) (NAMES OK) at Butler Train station

Wet weather on both days had not dampened community interest in the rail extension, with seats filled for the first passenger service that left the station at 11.51am on Sunday, September 21.

Passengers included many Butler residents keen to explore the station, designed by Coniglio Ainsworth Architects, as well as Public Transport Authority staff who were excited to reach the end of the line for the rail extension project.

Driver Ray Debenham welcomed passengers into the cabin for front seat photos before setting off down the northern line, accompanied by driver co-ordinator Adrian Kneale. Train enthusiasts Justin Maxwell, Jesse Bennett and Caleb Smith travelled from Mandurah, Armadale and Swan View respectively to be on the first train, while English tourists Carl and Jenni Farraker joined locals celebrating the opening.

Yanchep Two Rocks Lions Club volunteers braved the wind and rain to run a sausage sizzle, and Rotary Club of Mindarie members found space indoors to sell drinks.

PTA chief executive Reece Waldock said planning the station had taken many years and finishing it ahead of budget and time was a testament to the team that built it.

‘This is our best station in the whole suburban system,’ he said.

Nyungar elder Brett Collard travelled north from Kwinana to do the Welcome to Country. ‘It’s been an eye opener for me ” I didn’t realise it was such a big place out here,’ he said.

‘I hope the people out here use the service to help decongest the freeways.’

Premier Colin Barnett said that during construction, the City of Wanneroo’s population had gone up by 20,000.

He said he drove through Butler on weekends on his way to his farm, and had watched it develop over the past 10 years, congratulating developers and government organisations for the facilities in the area.

From his podium position facing north, Mr Barnett said he could see where the train would go in the future.

n See all photos at www.facebook.com/NorthCoastTimes