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Swan View

Swan View is a suburb east of Midland and adjacent to the John Forrest National Park. The suburb name is descriptive as in the old days settlers had a view of the Swan Valley. The name was proposed in 1894. Two rail lines used to extend east from Midland and Bellevue. The northern branch passed through Swan View. Due to steep terrain east of here, a tunnel was cut through rock to allow rail traffic a less strenuous climb. The tunnel is featured below


 
 
   
 
 

Swan View - National Park Entrance

The railway line has gone but the railway reserve still exists. In the old days a line ran from Midland up to Mundaring, Chidlow and beyond. This section of the line is where it passed into John Forrest National Park. February 2008. Photos Ref: SWNV001

 

Swan View - National Park Rail Cutting

Further east along the railway reserve is this cutting. The reserve is popular with bike riders and walkers. February 2008. Photos Ref: SWNV002

 

Swan View - Rail Tunnel

A hundred or so metres after entering the John Forrest National Park and veering off the main trail to the right, perhaps a little bit hard to spot, is this lesser trail. The old tunnel is just ahead. May 2011. Photos Ref: SWNV003

 

Swan View - Old Railway Easement Cutting to Tunnel

A view from a little further along the track, only about 50 or so metres from above photo. The rock sides become steeper and there is a feeling of being more and more closed in. You can glimpse the start of the tunnel in the distance. May 2011. Photos Ref: SWNV004

 

Swan View - Rail Tunnel Western Portal

This is the western portal of the railway tunnel. Etched in the rock up above the portal is the year 1895. The tunnel opened one year later. Men camped in tents west of here, away from their families, and carved out the cutting and hacked out the tunnel using pick-axes and dynamite which was extremely hard work. May 2011. Photos Ref: SWNV005

 

Swan View - Rail Tunnel Interior

Inside the tunnel. You can see the light at the eastern end some 340 metres away. The tunnel is lined with around 330,000 bricks to shore up the loose rocks up above and to prevent cave-ins. May 2011. Photos Ref: SWNV006

 

Swan View - Rail Tunnel Eastern End

After walking through the tunnel, it's dark but quite navigable, here is the eastern exit. Taking a torch is recommended. May 2011. Photos Ref: SWNV007

 

Swan View - Rail Tunnel Eastern Portal

This picture looks back at the eastern portal of the tunnel. The tunnel was built under the direction of Engineer, Mr Charles Yelverton O'Connor, who is well known for his successful Mundaring to Kalgoorlie water pipeline. The biggest problem for trains operating through tunnel was the smoke emitted by steam locomotives. There is no ventilation. Some rail crews were actually asphyxiated by smoke in the tunnel. The tunnel closed for rail traffic in 1966. May 2011. Photos Ref: SWNV008

 

Swan View - Rail Tunnel Eastern Portal

Another view of the tunnel's eastern portal this time taken from a little bit further back. Look at those sheer rock faces. May 2011. Photos Ref: SWNV009

 

Swan View - Rail Tunnel Safety Alcove

Again inside the tunnel. Along both walls are many of these small alcoves. Safe areas for anyone to go to when inside the tunnel when a train was approaching. This is a 'flash' photo. Inside the tunnel I couldn't actually see the alcove, only feel it. May 2011. Photos Ref: SWNV010

 

Swan View- Steam Locomotive Fs452

Fs452 is the re-badged and re-engineered F398 and is now located at Collie. In 1942, F398 became trapped in the Swan View tunnel as freight had fallen from a previous train. Smoke and fumes rendered the crew unconscious. The final act of driver Thomas Beer was to place the locomotive in reverse at speed, to get it out of the tunnel. It crashed into boulders at the end of the dead-end siding beyond the western portal of the tunnel specifically built for diverting down-hill runaway trains. Mr Beer perished. The other crew survived. March 2014. Photos Ref: SWNV011

 

Swan View - Replica Train Station

Just off Curve Road is the replica Swan View railway station. On the same site as the original station, it was completed in 1996 as a project between local, state and commonwealth governments. May 2011. Photos Ref: SWNV012

 

Swan View - Replica Train Station

A picture of another section of the replica Swan View railway station. May 2011. Photos Ref: SWNV013


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