The first AvonLink left Northam at 6.55am on September 24, 1995, with the service being operated by a single power car from the Prospector fleet. The event attracted considerable fanfare, it being the first new country passenger train service in Western Australia in 47 years. It arrived in Perth at 8.27am to more celebrations, not the least because it was the State’s first dedicated, long-distance commuter train.
In late June 2004, an additional service between Perth and Merredin three times a week was added. This service is known as the MerredinLink. These extra train services provide a transport option for people in communities such as Cunderdin, Tammin, Kellerberrin and Merredin as well as other smaller rural towns in the region.
When planning for the new Prospector fleet took place it was decided to build a dedicated commuter train for the AvonLink service. This train provided significantly increased capacity and hence allows for increased patronage well into the future. The $12 million AvonLink train made its maiden trip from Northam to the city on August 1, 2005, in the process officially marking the end of service for the 'old' Prospector railcars. This train also provides the MerredinLink service. Like the Prospector, the AvonLink was built in Newcastle and was put through extensive local testing before its introduction to service.
The AvonLink provides one of the most comfortable commuter train rides in Australia with air conditioning throughout, cloth seats, footrests, access to power points for laptop computers and background music. It operates twice daily, Monday to Friday between Midland, Toodyay and Northam. The MerredinLink operates from the East Perth Rail Terminal to Merredin and return on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
In the past seven years it is estimated that the two services have travelled one million kilometres. The AvonLink joins the Prospector and Australind train services as part of Transwa regional rail service.
To view the AvonLink timetable click on Timetables below.