AN AMBITIOUS proposal to create a world class tourist attraction by restoring the historic Kalamunda Zig Zag Railway is being floated to reinvigorate economic activity in the Perth Hills.
Kalamunda Zig Zag Railway Restoration member John Edmonds has spent years developing the proposal and said the timing was right, with the Forrestfield Airport Link nearing completion.
“The area is unfortunately languishing without a steady stream of visitors and investors and desperately needs a boost,” he said.
“The solution lies within the history of Kalamunda itself with the Zig Zag Railway – which was originally designed to haul lumber and later passengers.
“This proposal has a huge preliminary advantage given much of the original track bed still exists and the old Kalamunda Train Station remains intact at the Kalamunda History Village.
“The track bed exists from the entrance to the Zig Zag on Ridge Hill Road, to beyond Walliston through to its original Bickley and Pickering Brook Stations.
“The infrastructure of the railway would only need to be brought up to modern standards before providing a steady influx of fresh tourists straight from the airport line and cruise ships to the region’s new cultural hub.”
Mr Edmonds envisioned the railway would resemble the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in the UK.
“Regional attractions aside, the engineering novelty of the train itself entices enthusiasts from around the globe,” he said.
“This is about tourism. People can go to a theme park anywhere, they cannot go to an historic Zig Zag like this anywhere else in Australia.
“Providing a working heritage railway close to the population centre and transport hubs of Perth would bring many hundreds of thousands of local, interstate and international tourists per year to the State.”
Mr Edmonds said once the railway was up and running, volunteers would predominantly undertake operations and maintenance.
“This model has been used successfully in many similar restoration and preservation project around the world,” he said.