The Great Southern Railway (GSR) was the name of a railway company that operated from Beverley to Albany in Western Australia between 1886 and 1896. In 1896 the Western Australian Government Railways took over this company and the railway route also kept the name.
The first sods for the railway were turned on 20 October 1886. This occurred simultaneously at Beverley and Albany by Lady Broome and the Governor Sir Frederick Broome respectively. The final spike was driven on 14 February 1889, 122 miles (196 km) north of Albany. The official opening of the line was on 1 June 1889.
The construction of the railway was significant for the development of economic activity in the region and led to the establishment of grain and sheep grazing, along with the development of towns such as Katanning, Broomehill, Tambellup, Mount Barker and Woodanilling.
There was some initial debate over where the railway line should be placed. In the end, the link was made from an existing line ending at Beverley because it was the cheapest option. This devastated residents of the town of Kojonup, who initially hoped the line would pass through their town and follow the Albany Highway.
Conversion to diesel
Steam locomotives were withdrawn from mainline work in Western Australia in 1971 - the process of removing steam from the Great Southern line had serious economic effects upon the towns of Narrogin and Katanning where extensive barracks and services relative to steam operations were closed down after this date.
Currently the line is managed by Arc Infrastructure. The majority of movements are CBH grain trains out of the Albany and Wagin depots. Aurizon currently operates a woodchip train between Albany and Redmond.
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- West Australian Land Company (1896), Agreement for purchase of the Great Southern Railway and other interests of the company in the Colony dated 24 December 1896, Sutton, Ommanney & Randall, retrieved 26 May 2012
- Goodman, R. W; Albany Historical Society; Australian Railway Historical Society. Western Australian Division (1963), The Great Southern Railway : a short talk delivered to the Albany Historical Society on 14th February, 1963, retrieved 26 May 2012
- Western Australia; Hordern, Anthony, 1842-1886 (1886), Contract between the Government of the Colony of Western Australia and Mr. Anthony Hordern for the construction of a railway between Beverley and Albany on the land grant system and other purposes : dated 25th October, 1884, Waterlow & Sons, printers, retrieved 17 February 2014CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- West Australian Land Company (1890), The West Australian Land Company, Limited (Great Southern Railway of Western Australia.) : descriptive prospectus of company's land, Stirling Bros. & Co., Printers, retrieved 17 February 2014
- West Australian Land Company (1896), Agreement for purchase of the Great Southern Railway and other interests of the company in the Colony dated 24 December 1896, Sutton, Ommanney & Randall, retrieved 17 February 2014
- Bollans, A. R. (Alan R.); Australian Railway Historical Society. Western Australian Division (1989), One hundred years of the Great Southern Railway of Western Australia, Australian Railway Historical Society, Western Australian Division, ISBN 978-0-9599690-6-1
- "Item R4967-A - Dieselisation of Great Southern Railway". State Records Office of WA. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
Media related to Great Southern Railway (Western Australia) at Wikimedia Commons