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Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
NORTHAM'S historic railway station on Fitzgerald Street has had a new lease of life.
It’s open: (right) Railways supervisor John Baker, Northam Visitor Centre manager Peter Murfit, Town of Northam Mayor Ray Head and Job Futures’ project co-ordinator Ron Maas with the old Northam railways sign.
An initiative of Wheatbelt Job Futures has seen the dilapidated old buildings restored to their former glory.
A new museum, old railway carriages, the station platform area and old photographs are the focus of the old railway station.
Town Mayor Ray Head said Northam shared a significant part of the railway history of the state.
Mr Head was employed by Western Australian Government Railways for 40 years.
"It does my heart good to see what has been done to preserve the railway history of this town," he said.
"There are many tales to be told about the vital link played by Northam since the arrival of the line in 1886."
Job Futures' Ron Maas said the project was massive.
"We had a vision to put unemployed people back into the workforce and it has been very successful," he said.
"The efforts of the volunteers in this project has been unsurpassed."
Mr Maas officially handed the project over to Craig Gordon, project supervisor.
A repainted sign of the Northam railway station was handed over to Peter Murfit of the Northam Visitor Centre to display on the premises.
The railway station was opened in 1900 and at its peak the railways employed approximately 1200 Northam people.
Railway housing and small businesses sprang up around the station, creating a nearly separate, working class community of West Northam
The line ran from Fremantle to Southern Cross and was later extended to include Kalgoorlie.
In 1917, the line was extended to Port Pirie in South Australia, finally connecting the west with the east.
Thousands of people have walked the old platform including miners, goldfields travellers, early Wheatbelt settlers and World War II and Korean war servicemen.
The station was closed in February 14 1966 when the track was realigned as part of the standard gauge project to connect all the capital cities with a single gauge railway.
A new station was opened at the eastern end of Northam.
The old station was then owned by of the Town Council and has been used by a variety of community groups and as a museum.
The Northam railway Station will be open for tours Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm and Sundays 10am to 4pm.
There is a $2 admission charge and children under five years will be admitted free.
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