Perth’s Favourite Little Train is back!
By Marnie Adams, Contributor @ Kids In Perth 01 Aug 2022
Every year, to raise much needed funds for the preservation of WA’s railway heritage, volunteers from the Western Australian Light Railway Preservation Association hold Ashley & Friend Days at Whiteman Park. Due to COVID-19, this event hasn’t been running in awhile so it needs the community’s support.
Who is Ashley?
Ashley is Perth’s favourite little locomotive! He’s blue, always smiling and not to be mistaken for another train whose name starts with T! Best of all, Ashley is local, the star of Bennett Brook Railway and brings smiles to countless boys and girls. Every Ashley & Friends Day is a fun, colourful celebration of locomotives, especially steam engines!
On the day, just about all of the engines in the Association’s collection will be running and dressed with cheerful, friendly faces! Experience the hustle and bustle of a busy train station as the conductor ushers patrons on and off carriages. Hear steam train bells and whistles from the different engines pulling in and out of stations around Whiteman Park, everything that makes for a fun and unforgettable family experience!
Upcoming Ashley and Friends Days
Every year, the Bennett Brook Railway usually holds Ashley and Friends Days twice a year.
Upcoming Ashley and Friends Day(s):
- Sunday 11th of September 2022.
- May 2023 (TBC)
Want to find out more? Get in touch directly with Bennett Brook Railway by submitting the form below.
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Meet the Trains! | Ashley and Friends
Meet Ashley and his friends!
Ashley - Kless Engineering 4wDM (1985)
This locomotive was built by Kless Engineering of Maribyrnong, NSW in 1985 for the Big Orange theme park in Harvey, WA. On its closure in 1994, the locomotive and its carriages were purchased by the Brajkovich family for their Dizzy Lamb theme park. This in turn closed down in 2000.
The locomotive and its stock were offered to the BBR in 2004, and a long-term loan arrangement was made in 2005. By 2006, both locomotive (now dubbed ‘Ashley’) and its rolling stock were located on the railway and running passenger services.
The BBR progressively paid out the Brajkovich family for their stock, making its final payment in October 2019.
Ashley has become the centrepoint of the BBR’s ‘Friends of Ashley’ events, and is an ergonomic and powerful locomotive for its size.
This locomotive is currently in service, hauling mid-week and special event train services.
Betty Thompson - Perry Engineering 0-4-2T BT1 (1939)
This small locomotive was built by Perry Engineering in South Australia in 1939. It was purchased by the Inkerman Mill in Home Hill, Queensland. It worked as a mill shunter, replacing an older Hunslet locomotive of similar size and power (This locomotive, ‘Torpedo,’ has been preserved in Junee, NSW).
After being retired in 1966, it was used as a childrens’ playgound item in Queensland. BBR member Malcolm Thompson purchased the locomotive in 1990, brought it to WA and restored it for use on the BBR. Restoration was completed in 1996, and Malcolm was able to drive his locomotive before his death in 1997.
Originally named ‘Adelaide’ while in mill service, Malcolm renamed the locomotive after his wife. It has been known as ‘Betty Thompson’ ever since.
This locomotive is in service. It hauls weekend trains between May and September, weather permitting.
Planet - F.C Hibberd 0-4-0DM (1939)
Built in 1938 by F.C. Hibberd for Lake View & Star Gold Mines in Kalgoorlie. This was the second of 2 such ‘Planet’ locomotives made for the LV&S, and was F.C. Hibberd’s first rod-driven design. The locomotive hauled loads of rock from mine head to crushing plant until the mine was closed down in 1975. The Planet and some of its hoppers formed the first ever purchase by the West Australian Light Railway Preservation Association, and it has been a mainstay of BBR operations to the present day.
In 1991, the original Atlantic motor in the locomotive was completely worn out. The locomotive was rebuilt with an ex-WAGR Track Machine 3-cylinder GM 51-series motor and fluid drive. Cab height was increased by 12 inches to improve ergonomics for the driver. The locomotive received new wheels in 2014.
This locomotive is currently in service, pulling weekend train services.
Rosalie - Fowler 0-6-0DM (1950)
This locomotive was built by Fowler of Leeds, UK in 1950 for the Isis Central sugar mill in Queensland. By 1954, its original Mclaren motor was completely worn out, and it was remotored with a GM 6 cylinder motor by Bundaberg Foundry. It was retired from service in 1991, and purchased by BBR and delivered to WA in 1992.
The locomotive was named ‘Rosalie’ in honour of Roaslie (Lee) Heaney, a Park Ranger who was killed that year by a rockslide while holidaying in the USA. Rosalie was a well-respected Park staff member, and had been heavily involved in organising many of the Park’s special events.
After a series of mechanical issues in 2017 and 2018, the locomotive was taken out of service. It was identified that replacing the motor, transmission and wheels were necessary. A retired garbage truck donated its Cummins 6 cylinder motor and transmission in late 2019. This overhaul is ongoing.
This locomotive is currently undergoing trial runs. Return to service is expected in mid-late 2022.
Wyndham - Gemco Engineering 4wDM (1963)
Built to 3’6″ gauge for the WA Public Works Department (PWD) in 1964. Originally allocated to Derby as NW17 , the locomotive was renumbered PW27 and transferred to work the jetty and meatworks at Wyndham. It served in this role until the early 1980s.
The PWD and Shire of Wyndham donated the locomotive to BBR in 1984, where it was regauged to 2ft and commissioned into service in 1986. The locomotive has served BBR until around 2013, when a major transmission failure rendered it unserviceable.
This locomotive is currently out of service, under overhaul.
Get in touch
Event Information | Locations and tickets
After a couple years in their sheds, Ashley and his friends are back at wonderful Whiteman Park!
Tickets will sell out, so get in quick to avoid disappointment!
Come along for a stunning day which includes:
- All day heritage train and bus rides
- Farm animal displays
- Entry to Revolutions museum
- Bus museum display
- Fire engine museum display
- Secure pram storage
- Scouts display
- Bouncy castles / rides / games
- food and drink vans
- Ashley’s new book!
Event Ticket Pricing
|Child (1-18, Under 2 years old FREE)||$20|
Contact Form | Make an enquiry here
Have train questions? Organising a Birthday Party?
Hire your very own party coach for your child’s birthday! Just $200.00 incl. GST
Includes rides for up to 24 children & 10 Adults pre-paid*
*Extra Adults rides $5.00 each and Children (4-14) rides $2.00, under 4 is free
The Party Coach will be parked on “Platform 3” at the beautifully restored Whiteman Village Junction Station Buildings.
Use the station as your base whilst you take unlimited rides on the service train!
The platform area around the coach is securely fenced for children’s safety.
Equipped station which includes microwave, pie warmer, large 4 Burner BBQ, kettle and fridge, tea, coffee, sugar and foam cups provided. All you need is milk.
Tables and chairs available.
* Station Facilities available from 11 am to 3.30 pm
Please note: Party Coach not available for hire during January and February due to bushfire risk.
Get in touch directly with Bennett Brook Railway
Looking to organise a Birthday Party? Have questions about Ashley and the other locomotives? Submit a form below.
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Bennett Brook Railway
Village Whiteman Park Whiteman, Whiteman WA 6068