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Summary



Swan View was identified by C.Y. O'Connor as an alternative route running parallel to the Jane Brook line to alleviate the problems encountered on the down ward trip near Boya which had step gradients and sharp curves and was known as "Cape Horn'.

Swan View tunnel is the earliest railway tunnel in West Australian's history, O'Connor designed the 340m Swan View Tunnel to overcome a granite barrier formed by a fold in the Darling Range. The granite through which it was bored was fractured and highly unstable, resulting in internal rock falls, so it was lined with bricks. The construction of the line was a major engineering project, a vast amount of rubble was moved to construct embankments, along with intensive blasting and digging using only picks and shovels, dynamite and horsepower.

The new line was opened on 1 July 1896, however, poor ventilation, heat and noxious fumes from the locomotives within the tunnel sometimes led to drivers and firemen being overcome with the first recorded driver death in 1942 from carbon monoxide poisoning. This forced the government to find a suitable deviation line which was built around the tunnel in 1945, which was used by the 'up trains', while the 'down' trains continued to use the tunnel. The tunnel ceased to be used for rail traffic after the new Avon Valley rail route was opened in 1966. Today the bed of the former railway line is composed of clay and loose pea gravel with scatterings of blue metal, evidence of its former use as a railway line. The tunnel remains in a fair condition with a heavy layer of soot on the ceiling.




After Swan View the line ascends East through natural bushland, steep ravines and waterfalls and into John Forrest National Park which was declared a conservation reserve in 1947. The reserve has 3 wooden railway bridges, Jane Brook Bridge, Deep Creek Bridge and Hovea Falls Bridge all which span Jane Brook waterway.
Parkerville

During the railways construction 1894-1895 the department of Lands realised the demand for fertile land along Jane Brook. The Perth City council quarry opened in Parkerville in 1897 supplying blue metal to pave the city streets of Perth until 1919. The quarry was a major employer in Parkerville and declared a town site in 1900.









Construction




Swan View Tunnel was built on an alignment which replaced the original Eastern Railway passing through Smiths Mill, (now Glen Forrest), and Mundaring. The project to build the new line, including the Swan View Tunnel, was managed by the Engineer-in-Chief of the Western Australian Government Railways, C Y O'Connor.

The tunnel is 13 chains (858 ft, 262m) long

Work began in 1894, with the two bores meeting on 18 April 1895.The tunnel opened on 22 February 1896. The unstable nature of the jointed granite, along with clay seams, caused difficulties during construction of the tunnel. A masonry-lined face prevented rock falls, but reduced the inner diameter.

The deviation from the original railway line, and the tunnel in particular, was a "significant technical feat for the time"; Engineers Australia awarded the deviation an Engineering Heritage Marker as part of its Engineering Heritage Recognition Program.




Problems


The tunnel's small diameter combined with the steep gradient (1:49) to cause smoke accumulation. Incidents involving near-asphyxiation of train crews started in 1896, and continued throughout the tunnel's operating life. The first serious incident of this nature was in 1903

The tunnel's design was incompatible with the ASG class Garratt steam locomotives used by the Western Australian Government Railways in the 1940s. The subsequent Royal Commission into the ASG dealt with design of the locomotive, and the very dangerous clearances.



The cause of industrial trouble arose in regard to the taking of the ASG locomotives through the Swan View tunnel. This tunnel was constructed many years ago and provides very little clearance for a modern locomotive. In the case of the ASG the distance between the sides and top of the locomotive and the structure of the tunnel is a matter of inches.

The worst accident in the tunnel was on 5 November 1942, when both drivers and firemen were asphyxiated by carbon monoxide, one driver dying, when a fully laden double-header train passed through the tunnel at walking pace.

Further cases occurred in 1943 and 1944 on up trains.

Subsequent industrial strikes, Royal Commission and union agitation for the locomotives' withdrawal was a significant issue in the 1940s.






Deviation


Between 1934 and 1945, a signal cabin was located at Tunnel Junction, on the eastern end of the tunnel, for managing the transition from the tunnel's single line to the dual lines of the system.

The single line tunnel was considered unsafe for eastbound (climbing) trains, and a diversion was added on the northern side of the hill that the tunnel passed through.

It was known as the deviation, and due to rock instability included a fence of 16 wires to be used as a detector of rock falls.
 The diversion was completed on 25 November 1945.



Closure


The railway line through the tunnel was lifted after the closing of the older and steeper Eastern Railway and the opening of the Avon Valley diversion that opened in February 1966.

After the 1960s, gates/doors were put at either end of the tunnel though these were later removed.

The tunnel remains intact and has reopened as part of the John Forrest Heritage Trail, part of the larger Railway Reserve Heritage Trail.
During the 1990s, the government authority in which the tunnel land was vested, the Department of Environment & Conservation allowed a number of night time "ghost walks" in the tunnel as part of the Hills Forest programmes.








Haunting


History & Haunting of:
Swan View Tunnel ,John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

The Swan View Tunnel is a 340 m (1116 ft) railway tunnel located on the southern side of the Jane Brook valley at Swan View, Western Australia on the edge of the Darling Scarp. Currently inactive, due to its location within the John Forrest National Park the tunnel and its adjacent landscape are maintained in a conserved state.It was built on an alignment which replaced the original Eastern Railway passing through Smiths Mill, (now known as:- Glen Forrest ), and Mundaring. The project to build the new line, including the Swan View Tunnel, was managed by C Y O'Connor, who, at the time, was Engineer-in-Chief of Western Australia's Government Railways. Work began in 1894, and was completed in 1895, at a cost of about £12,000. The unstable nature of the jointed granite, along with clay seams, caused difficulties during construction of the tunnel. A masonry-lined face prevented rock falls, but reduced the inner diameter.




The tunnel's small diameter combined with the steep gradient (1:49) to cause smoke accumulation. Incidents involving near-asphyxiation of train crews started in 1896, and continued throughout the tunnel's operating life. The first serious incident of this nature was in 1903.

The tunnel's design was incompatible with the ASG class Garratt steam locomotives used by the Western Australian Government Railways in the 1940s. The worst accident in the tunnel was in 1942, when several train crew workers were asphyxiated, one dying, when a fully laden train passed through the tunnel at walking pace, due to the excessive grade
The railway line through the tunnel was lifted after the closing of the older and steeper Eastern Railway and the building of the Avon Valley diversion completed in 1966.

After the 1960s, gates/doors were put at either end of the tunnel though these were later removed.

The tunnel remains intact, and is part of the John Forrest Heritage Trail (a component of the larger Railway Reserve Heritage Trail). During the 1990s, the government authority in which the tunnel land is now vested - the Department of Environment and Conservation (Western Australia) (known as DEC and formerly known by the abbreviation CALM) allowed a number of night time 'Ghost walks' in the tunnel as part of the Hills Forest programmes, based at the Mundaring Weir headquarters of DEC

Ghost tours
"One of our favourite places near Midland is the Swan View train tunnel," he said.

"One of our non-believing investigators saw two large, luminous balls of light moving back and forth in the air right in front of him near the entry when coming out.

"We don't know if they are ghosts as such but it was certainly a paranormal experience that shook him up.
"I think the ghost tours will be fine. It will be interesting to see if it in fact stirs up activity, it will depend on the kind of haunting it is."







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what we do 

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as we map places and create tourist info page we may also create a page on history

the history pages are slow to compile as it is not our priority, we welcome contributions

 


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Places visited




Event date / locationEvent typeTitle / summaryVenue / hostPublication link
2020.08.10 Burswood Icons of the trail Stunning food and views City View Cafe fbk grp wa tourism 
2020.07.12 Kings park Icons of the trail update bike hire station Bicycle hire SpinWAy Kings Park fbk grp wa tourism 
2020.08.02 Kalamunda trail - Bushland - creek Natural zone - dog friendly Whistlepipe Gully walk fbk wa trails pic n vid 
2020.08.12 Burswood Icons of the trail 190 m rock serpent The Wandering fbk grp wa tourism 
2020.08.08 Hillarys Icons of the trail Awesome Marina with so many attractions Hillarys Boat Harbour fbk wa biz 
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