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Saturday, 20 April 2024

Our history

From trams to trains, ferries and buses, the history of transport in our State is an interesting and varied one

Transport Portfolio

Public transport has played a major part in the history of Western Australia.

A concise listing of historical public transport milestones from 1830 to the present is provided in in the tabs below:

 More information

Battye Library

The J.S. Battye Library of WA History identifies, collects, organises, preserves and provides access to the State’s published documentary heritage as well as collections of original historical records.

Included in the collection are a number of transport-related history books and photographs, WA Government Railways and Metropolitan (Perth) Transport Trust reports, notices and timetables, and Midland Railway Company of Western Australia archives. 

The Battye Library is on the third floor of the Alexander Library Building. The building is part of the Perth Cultural Centre, located between Francis Street and the James Street Mall in Northbridge.

More information about the library is available on the State Library of Western Australia website.

State Records Office

The State Records Office is responsible for managing, preserving and providing access to the State's archives.

The archives include a large collection of railway records including employment records of staff from the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR). These records may be useful for family history researchers.

More information about the State Records Office can be found on their website.

Rail Heritage WA

Previously known as the WA Division of the Australian Railway Historical Society, Rail Heritage WA is dedicated to facilitating access to the history of railways in Western Australia. It manages and operates the Rail Transport Museum in Bassendean. The organisation has extensive railway archives and sells railway-related materials.

More information about the Rail Transport Museum and the activities of Rail Heritage WA are available on their website.


 1830 to 1900

First ferry service established (but short-lived)

1836       First adequate ferry service launched between Perth and Fremantle
1830’s - 1870’s     Ferry services the only form of genuine public transport with improvements from sailing vessels to steam-driven passenger vessels (paddle steamers)
1877       Government agency with responsibility for railways within Western Australia is formed as Department of Works and Railways
1879 July 26     First Western Australian Government Railway from Geraldton to Northampton opened to traffic
1880 May 10   Foundation stone for Perth Station laid
1880 August 31   First Fremantle Railway Bridge opened
1881 March 1   Fremantle - Perth - Guildford line opened
1890’s       Horse buses operating in and out of the city via Hay and Barrack Streets
1890       Western Australian Government Railways established
1893 May 2   Perth - Armadale line opened
1893 May 2   Kelmscott Station opened
1897       Cannington Station opened
1897       Agreement is reached with the Perth Road Board to lay 17.25 miles (27.8km) of tramway tracks within the boundaries of the City 
1898       Welshpool Station opened   
1899 September  28   Perth Electric Tramways Ltd, commences tram operations along Hay Street from East Perth to Milligan Street. Tram services later extended to a number of other suburbs
 1901 to 1950
1903       Perth’s first motor omnibus from Victoria Park to the City.
1903 - 1958     A range of private bus companies progressively developed and operated bus services through Perth.
1904       Midland Workshops begin operations
1905       Trams replace buses to Victoria Park.  First tram to cross the Causeway and the launch of the Fremantle tramway service.
1906       Rivervale Station opened (renamed from Burswood)
1912       Mint Street Station opened (renamed from Haydons Siding)
1912 April 16   Queens Park Station opened (renamed from Woodlupine)
1914       Western Australian Government Railways and Tramways established
1919       Carlisle Station opened (renamed from Mint Street)
1920’s       Motor buses increasingly dominate public transport across metropolitan Perth. 
1922       Western Australian Government Railways, Tramways and Electricity Supply established
1922 September  1      Victoria Park Station attended
1930       Western Australian Government Railways, Tramways, Ferries and Electricity Supply established
1933       First trolley buses introduced to boost the service provided by trams – considered a more modern alternative to trams. 
1937       Australia’s first diesel electric railcar train: the Governor Class, operated fast daylight country services
1941       Railway Road Services commenced with one bus on the Perth-Kojonup via Boddington and Williams route
1946       Western Australian Government Railways, Tramways and Ferries established
1947 November 24   Inaugural Australind train between Perth and Bunbury
1947 November 24   Road bus services introduced between Perth and Bunbury, Brunswick Junction and South West Branch Lines to Busselton, Caves House, Flinders Bay, Nannup, Northcliffe, Boyup Brook and Collie
1948 May 4   Seaforth Station opened
1949       Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) established 
 1951 to 1975
1952       Tram services abolished in Fremantle.
1953 January 7   Australind tabled to stop for the first time at Armadale
1954 November    28     Dieselisation of WAGR began with the commissioning of the X Class diesel electric locomotives (48 acquired)
1954       Metropolitan passenger service modernised with 18 ADG diesel mechanical railcars
1955       Visiting Town Planning consultant Professor Gordon Stephenson (in association with Town Planning Commissioner Hepburn) published a comprehensive Metropolitan Regional Plan containing proposals for an electric railway to the northern suburbs. 
1958       Metropolitan (Perth) Passenger Transport Trust (forerunner of Transperth).  Took over the larger private bus companies, trams were retired from service.  Last tram service in Perth operates to Inglewood.
1959 May 2   Lathlain Station opened
1964 January     Government took over the Midland Railway Co. of W.A. Ltd
1964 June     The Shopper and Bunbury Belle services between Perth and Bunbury introduced
1968 October 5   Suburban service operated entirely by diesel railcars
1968 October 8   Midland Rail and Road Passenger Terminal opened
1968/69        Beckenham Station opened (renamed from Higham)
1969       Last rubber tyred trolley buses retired. 
1969 June 15   Perth Railway Station renamed City and East Perth station renamed Claisebrook
1971 November 22    Official introduction of the Prospector Service
1971 November 29   The Prospector railcar service began commercial operation between Perth and Kalgoorlie
1973 October 29   Challis Station opened
1974       Integration of Perth public transport took place when management of urban rail services was placed with the Metropolitan (Perth) Passenger Transport Trust (the forerunner to Transperth). 
1975       September 19 Westrail image and logo introduced
1975       The Shopper and Bunbury Belle services withdrawn
 1976 to 2000
1976 November 12   Westrail Centre officially opened
1978 December 22   Belmont Park Station opened (renamed from Goodwood)
1979 September    1   Suburban passenger services ceased on the Perth-Fremantle Line
1980 July 2   Kelmscott bus/rail transfer station opened
1983 July 29   Re-opening of the Perth-Fremantle suburban passenger line
1983 October 30   Low-level platform at Midland commissioned
1984 February 28   Removal of Claisebrook Station to Bennet Brook Railway, Whiteman Park
1984 May     New livery for Prospector
1985 May 28   Last Australind service to and from the old Bunbury Station
1985 May 29    Opening of the new Bunbury Passenger Terminal
1986 August 31   Transperth becomes an offical trading name
1987 November 5   Inauguration of the new Australind
1988       WA Government announced it would electrify the suburban rail system.
1988 November 14   Executive service on the Australind commenced
1989       Government announced it would build a new rail line along the Mitchell Freeway to the northern suburbs. 
1989 November 14   Premier Peter Dowding hammered in the first spike of the Northern Suburbs Railway from Perth to Joondalup
1990 August 5   Electric power switched on to the suburban system
1991 August 1   Official opening of the latest North Fremantle Station (services actually commenced using the new station from 28 July)
1991 September     Electrified system commenced full operation on Armadale, Fremantle and Midland lines
1992       Joondalup Line opened
1993       Planning, coordination and policy functions for public transport transferred from the Metropolitan (Perth) Passenger Transport Trust to the Department of Transport
1993 March       Electrified system extended to Currambine
1994 March 4   Midland Workshops closes
1994 - 1998     Competitive tendering of bus and ferry services and call centre/information services.
1996 January     Administration of the 'orange' school bus network transferred from the Department of Education to the Department of Transport
1998 July     Decision made by Cabinet to separate and dispose of Westrail’s freight business
1999 December     Enabling legislation for the construction of the Southern Suburbs Railway south of Glen Iris to Mandurah passed (under Department of Planning and Infrastructure)
2000 December 17   Freight business sold to the Australian Railway Group along with the Westrail name and logo
 2001 to 2010

2002 May     Perth Urban Rail Development (body responsible for the building of the Perth to Mandurah Railway) becomes a part of WAGR from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure
2002 November    
    The Railway (Jandakot to Perth) Bill 2002 passes through Parliament, enabling the Government authority to commence design and construction of the railway north of Glen Iris and directly up the Kwinana Freeway to Perth via the Direct Route
2003 February 3    
  Lathlain Station closed
2003 March     Perth Urban Rail Development changes its name to New MetroRail
2003 May 28   Transwa name and logo introduced (renamed from Country Passenger Division)
2003 July 1   The Public Transport Authority of Western Australia is formed through the amalgamation of Transperth, WAGR, School Bus Services and regional town bus services.
2003 November 13   The Mandurah Line gets the environmental green light
2003 December 16   Cabinet approves the awarding of two major contracts for the construction of the Mandurah Line component of the New MetroRail project – Package F (CBD tunnelling) and Package E freeway works (including work at the Narrows and Mt Henry bridges)
2004 February 1   PTA signs major contract for SmartRider ticketing system
2004 February 1   Minister for Planning and Infrastructure unveils next generation of clean, green buses: the new Euro 4 Mercedes Benz OC 500LE
2004 February 14   Package F contract signed with Leighton-Kumagai JV
2004 April 18   PTA signs major contract for centralised CCTV Monitoring System in major upgrade of security across the rail system
2004 April 26   State Government signs major contract for infrastructure and long-term supply of gas for new buses
2004 May 23   Package A Contract signed for the spine of the Mandurah Line
2004 June 13   Nowergup Depot opened and new railcars are unveiled
2004 June 28   New Prospector railcars enter service
2004 July 24   Bassendean Station upgrade completed – the first of the Building Better Stations projects to be completed
2004 August 4   Official opening of new high-tech driver training simulator at Claisebrook Depot
2004 August 18   First two of three hydrogen fuel cell buses arrive in Perth as part of a two-year international trial
2004 September 16   Inaugural PTA CEO appointed
2004 October 4   Clarkson Station opened and new EMUs enter service
2004 October 4   West Midland Station renamed Woodbridge Station
2004 November 6   New Armadale Station opened
2004 November 6   State Government awards the Package D contract for construction of the first three stations on the new Mandurah Line - Canning Bridge, Bull Creek and Murdoch Stations 
2004 December
1   Central Monitoring Room officially opened
2005 January 11   CAT (Central Area Transit) service introduced in Joondalup
2005 January 29   Greenwood Station opened
2005 April 17   New Gosnells Station opened
2005 June 22   State Government awards the final major package of construction contracts for stations on the new Mandurah Line (Package C) - Rockingham, Warnbro (Waikiki) and Mandurah Stations
2005 July 29   Prospector railcars retired from service (first commenced services in Novermber 1971) 
2005 August 1   New AvonLink railcars commence service
2005 August 7   Thornlie Station opened
2005 August 21   The prototype for Perth's new gas-powered Mercedes OC500 CAT (Central Area Transit) bus fleet enters service
2005 September 10   Geraldton Southern Transport Corridor officially opened
2006 February 2   First stage of tunnelling completed between Esplanade and Perth Underground (William Street)
2006 March 16   Track laying begins on the Mandurah Line
2006 June 4   First of twin rail tunnels completed with the second stage of tunnelling from Perth Underground (William Street) to Roe Street
2006 July 10   Last of the 31 new trains accepted for service
2006 August 31   Second tunnel linking Esplanade Station to Perth Underground (William Street) completed
2006 October 24   Breakthrough of final tunnel under Roe Street marks the successful completion of all tunnelling under the CBD
2006 December 22   WA State Government finalises contract for the delivery of 15 new trains (15 x 3-car sets)
2007 January 14   Cards for the Transperth SmartRider ticketing system go on sale to the general public
2007 March 4   MultiRider cards are withdrawn from sale
2007 August 11   First test train runs through the city tunnels between Roe Street and Narrows Bridge
2007 October 15   Perth Underground and Esplanade Station opened for Joondalup Line services
2007 November 9   First test train runs on the Mandurah Line between Perth and Rockingham
2007 December 23   Mandurah Line opened
2008 August 2   The new Victoria Park Station opened
2008 November 21   The upgraded Kelmscott Station officially opened.
2009 May Transperth’s new ferry, the ‘MV Phillip Pendal’ launched.
2010 July 9 The Railway (Tilley to Karara) Bill 2010 passes through Parliament, establishing the legislative authority to build a new freight rail line from Karara, 300km north-east of Perth in WA’s Mid-West region, to Tilley, just north of Morawa.
2010 July 13 The Railway (Butler to Brighton) Act 2010 passes through Parliament, establishing the legislative authority to extend the metropolitan rail network approximately 7.5 kilometres north of Clarkson Station to a new park ’n’ ride and bus transfer station, called Butler Station.
2010 November 2 PTA announces new bus supply contract with Volvo Group Australia. The company will supply of a minimum 65 buses a year for five years with a five-year option.
December 8   Butler Extension Project: $6m earthworks contract awarded.
December 14
  New Mirrabooka Bus Station opened.


 2011 - Present
2011  August   27   Fremantle Station conservation project completed  
2011 March 1   Perth City Link Rail: Alliance partners announced (the PTA, John Holland and GHD)  
2011 May 20     Butler Extension Project: Three bridges contract awarded  
2011 September   26   Butler Extension Project: $5.4m pit, pipe and fibre-optic cable system contract awarded  
2012 January 31   Perth City Link Rail: Construction begins  
2012 June 15   Queens Park Station upgrade completed  
2012 July 16   Butler Extension Project: Butler Station construction begins  
2012 August 10   Aubin Grove Station project announced  
2012 August 15   new Perth Stadium Transport: Station design consultant and environment specialist contracts awarded  
2012 November 13   Butler Extension Project: $20m signalling contract awarded  
2012 November 17   new Perth Stadium Transport: Project Definition Plan released  
2013 January 22   Perth City Link Bus: Alliance tender process begins  
2013 July 1   Green CAT service starts  
2013 July 18   Perth City Link Rail: First train through the new Fremantle Line tunnel  
2013 August 14   Warnbro bus interchange complete  
2013 October 13   new Perth Stadium Transport: Belmont Station closes  
2013 October 15   Maddington Station upgrade completed  
2013 December 5   Perth City Link Rail: Rail project completed  
2014 January 5   Transperth App launched  
2014 January 27   Route 950 "Superbus" introduced, running between Morley Busport and QEII via UWA and Perth  
2014 April 5   Perth Station building conservation project begins  
2014 October 3   Perth City Link Bus: Alliance partners announced (the PTA, Brookfield Multiplex and BG&E)  
2014 February 13   Perth City Link Bus: Wellington Street Bus Station demolition begins  
2014 May 16   Butler Station construction completed  
2014 July 1   Paid parking introduced across entire rail network  
2014 July 3   Beckenham Station upgrade completed  
2014 July 25   Beaufort Street bus priority lane project completed  
2014 August 9   Forrestfield-Airport Link route and tunnel details released  
2014 August 25   First test train runs on the Joondalup Line extension to Butler Station  
2014 September 21   First passenger train leaves Butler Station  
2015 February 2   School bus services undergo significant changes to assist the transition of Year Seven students from primary school to high school  
2015 March 3   Perth Stadium Transport: Stadium Station construction tender awarded  
2015 March 5   The first of 70 new Volvo Euro 6 articulated buses introduced to the Transperth fleet  
2015 April 25   Free travel for all passengers on ANZAC Day to mark the 100th year of the Gallipoli landings  
2015 May 1   Three consortia short-listed to design and construct Forrestfield-Airport Link  
2015 June 29   Beenyup Bus Depot begins operations  
2015 July 1   Free Transperth travel for seniors extended  
2015 August 5   Perth Stadium Transport: Stadium Station construction begins  
2015 October 1   Mounts Bay Road Bus Priority Project completed  
2015 October 15   Transperth launches bike security campaign  
2015 October 20   Charles Street Bus Bridge project announced  
2015 October 25   Forrestfield-Airport Link enabling bill passed  
2015 November 1   New bus Route 380 introduced, delivering passengers to Perth Airport  
2015 November 17   Perth Stadium Transport: Swan River pedestrian bridge construction begins  
2016 January 1   TransHedland begins operating regional bus services in the Town of Port Hedland  
2016 January 31   Esplanade bus and train stations are renamed to reference Elizabeth Quay  
2016 January 31   Elizabeth Quay Jetty opens  
2016 April 28   Forrestfield-Airport Link construction tender awarded  
2016 July 13   Perth Busport opens  
2016 November 3   Forrestfield-Airport Link construction begins  
2017 April 23   Aubin Grove Station opens  
2017 July 30   Forrestfield-Airport Link tunnelling begins  
2017 December 2   Perth Stadium Station opens  
2018 May 8   Forrestfield-Airport Link - first tunnel-boring machine (TBM) Grace breaks through into Airport Central Station box  
2018 May 19   Forrestfield-Airport Link - TBM Sandy breaks through into Airport Central Station box  
2018 November 16   Thornlie-Cockburn Link and Yanchep Rail Extension enabling (METRONET) bill passed  
2018 November 21   Forrestfield-Airport Link - TBM Grace reaches halfway point at 3751m  
2019 January  8   Forrestfield Airport Link - TBM Sandy reaches halfway point at 3574m  
2019 January  16   Forrestfield-Airport Link tunnelling clear of the airside environment  
2019 February 17   Curtin Central Bus Station complete  
2019 February 18   Transperth app enables real-time tracking of buses, trains and ferry services  
2019 April 4   Forrestfield-Airport Link tunnel segment production complete  
2019 May 9   Forrestfield-Airport Link - TBM Grace breaks through into Redcliffe Station box  
2019 July 3   New Transwa Albany Booking Office opens  
2019 July 6   Forrestfield-Airport Link - TBM Sandy breaks through into Redcliffe Station box  
2019 July 21   Locally designed and built bus depot at Mount Claremont opens  
2019 August   Morley-Ellenbrook Line confirmed  
2019 November  25   Work starts on Yanchep Rail Extension    
2019 December  20   Transperth’s third ferry MV Tricia is launched  
2020 January  23   Upgrade of Cookernup Station complete  
2020 January  23   Upgrade of North Dandalup Station complete  
2020 March  10   Construction starts on Bellevue railcar facility  
2020 April  21   Forrestfield-Airport Link tunnelling complete  
2020 July  30   Tracklaying for Forrestfield-Airport Link commences  
2020 September  9   Mandurah Station multi-storey carpark construction begins   
2020 December 11   Preferred proponent chosen to construct Lakelands Station  
2021 February  1   TransBridgetown service confirmed   
2021 April  1   Denny Avenue Level Crossing permanently closes   
2021 April  30   New underpass at Davis Road in Kelmscott officially opens  
2021 May  17   WA’s biggest manufactured bridge beams installed on Thornlie-Cockburn Link   
2021 June  9   Bellevue Railcar Facility officially opens  
2021 July 16   Track laying complete on Forrestfield-Airport Link   
2021 August  6   New artwork installed on Cockburn Central Station tower   
2021 August  23   Name chosen for Thornlie-Cockburn Link micro tunnel boring machine  
2021 August 25   Design phase begins for Swan River Crossings Project  
2021 August  25   Preferred proponent announced to deliver new Midland Station   
2021 September 30   EOI opens for High Capacity Signalling project  
2021 November  29   Mandurah Station Multi Storey Car Park open   
2021 November 29   Prospector service turns fifty  
2021 December 7   Perth Blue and Red CAT routes extended and operating hours expanded  
2021 December 17   Preferred proponent chosen to construct Byford Rail Extension and Victoria Park-Canning Level Crossing Removal projects  
2022 January 1   Two-zone fare cap introduced across Transperth network  
2022 February 4   Fares for weekend post-midnight trains services reinstated  
2022 February 20   Announcement of 18-month closure of Armadale Line to enable work on the Byford Rail Extension, Victoria Park-Canning Level Crossing Removal and Thornlie Cockburn Link projects  
2022 February 23   Railway (METRONET) Amendment Bill 2022 introduced to Parliament  
2022 February 27   Purple CAT service introduced, operates between Elizabeth Quay, Perth Children's Hospital, Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital and UWA  
2022 February 28   First battery-electric bus enters service on Joondalup CAT route  
2022 March 16   Contract awarded for the design and construction of the new Midland Station  
2022 March 28   First C-Series Railcar built in WA leaves Bellevue Manufacturing Facility for diagnostic testing  
2022 April 15   Caledonian Avenue Level Crossing permanently closed  
2022 May 13   2022-23 State Budget reveals funding for two new projects - removal of Morrison Road Level Crossing in Midland and upgrade of Canning Bridge Bus Interchange   
2022 September 1   Free wi-fi trial begins on Transwa's Prospector train  
2022 October 9   Airport Line (previously known as the Forrestfield Airport Link project) opens  
2022 October 10   New bus services introduced to support Airport Line  
2022 December 6   PTA celebrates 100 years of women in rail  
2022 December 20   Joondalup Line celebrates 30 years of service  
2023 January 3   First C-Series Railcar built in WA begins on-track testing  


PTA acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community.
We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and to Elders past, present and emerging; and commit to building a brighter future together.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this site may contain images or names of people who are deceased.

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