Everytime I said I was taking the train to Toodyay (Too-Jay) a rural town outside of Perth, Australia, people looked at me incredulously! “There is no train to Toodyay” was the usual comment. People offerred to drive me there and told me to call them if I “got stuck”
There have been trains to Toodyay since 1995 using the currrent Diesel Multiple Unit train since 2005. See AvonLink_Map. The train runs once a day in each direction plus there is an extra service on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday in each direction. There is no weekend service using Avonlink but the Prospeector train service to Kalgoorlie makes a stop at Toodyay. Timetable here.
Booking: 7 out of 10
How you make bookings is not specified on the Avonlink website. I discovered, by accident, tickets are sold on the train. The Transperth smart-rider card is not accepted which strikes me as odd. The Smartrider is accepted on every bus, train and the South Perth ferry. It would surely be easy to install a SmartRider reader on the train or at Toodyay station. The fare is a little pricey at $16.05.
The train leaves from Midland station at the end of the Perth suburban network. The train is very wheelchair friendly.
On Board: 10 out of 10
Seats are arranged in a 2/3 layout and are very generous in terms of leg room. Generous luggage racks are available at the end of each of the two carriages and above the seats.There was also plenty of space for bikes.
Chilled water is available in board the train with drinking cups.
The Trip: 10 out of 10
We departed right on time at 5:50pm. The ride was very smooth. Sunset occurred at 614pm and it was dark by 6:30pm. This is a shame as the landscape is very pretty with a lot of bush (forested) areas. We arrived right on time at 6:43pm
Wifi: 7 out of 10
There is also free wifi available on board. Connecting was easy. It dropped out twice. Frustratingly at 630pm, I got a message saying that I had used up my free wifi download allowance. I was never told what my wifi allowance was. The system “helpfully” advised me that I could use the system again in four hours. Seeing my trip was 50 minutes, this was a nonsense! Still it lasted most of the ride.
My rating: 90% (4.5 out of 5).
Positives: Roomy train, easy boarding, smooth ride, free wifi generous luggage room
Negatives: Lack of information about the train, wifi download limits, cannot use Perth Smartrider ticket
Would I ride the train again? Yes. It would be great if the train was timetabled to make it easily possible to have a day trip on Saturday and Sunday to Toodyay allowing tourist day trippers…
The Heritage Council of Western Australia lists well over one hundred places of historical significance in or near Toodyay, including cottages (some of which are now ruins), homesteads, shops, churches, parks and railway constructions. Well worth an overnight or weekend stay. Now if we can get the train running at convenient times on a Saturday or Sunday.