Historic locomotive going to new home
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
Minister for Infrastructure & Transport
Leader of the House
Member for Grayndler
April 08 2011
The historic diesel locomotive – the GM1 ‘Robert Gordon Menzies’ – will soon be making tracks from Dry Creek, South Australia, to its new permanent home in Bassendean near Perth.
The Gillard Labor Government has gifted the locomotive to Rail Heritage WA, a society of train enthusiasts with the skills and passion to preserve and operate this unique piece of Australia’s rail history for current and future generations.
Once relocated to the society’s Rail Museum, the maroon and silver engine will be restored to its former glory, and befitting its iconic status, given pride of place amongst a collection of rolling stock dating as far back as 1881 including the ‘No.1 Carriage’, the very first passenger carriage used on the transcontinental railway.
Built in 1951, GM1 was the first mainline diesel locomotive in Western Australia and the first interstate diesel in Australia. Its entry into service marked the beginning of the modernisation of our nation’s interstate rail network. Indeed outside of North America, Australia was one of the first countries in the world to embrace diesel technology on its railways.
Owned by the former Commonwealth Railways, GM1 clocked up over eight million kilometres operating mostly on the transcontinental railway, a visionary piece of nation building infrastructure built almost a century ago by the Fisher Labor Government.
During its five decades of almost continuous service, it could often be found heading the world renowned Indian Pacific passenger train on its regular 4,000 kilometre journey between Sydney and Perth.
The most competitive in a strong field of applicants hoping to take ownership of the locomotive, Rail Heritage WA has been preserving, restoring and maintaining Australian railway heritage for more than 40 years.
More information about Rail Heritage WA is available at www.railheritagewa.org.au
A picture of GM1 appears below.