The Eastern Railway made the forest areas accessible which created employment, townships, transport, people movement, communication and mail transportation in the Shire of Mundaring. Locally this significance was highlighted between 1880 and 1930 when the Eastern Railway replaced the York Road as the area's principal lifeline.
The first section of the railway line was constructed from Fremantle to Guildford and opened in 1881, the second section from Guildford to Chidlow's Well opened in 1884 and the final section from Chidlow's Well to York was opened in 1885. The railway construction and improved transport options for timber milling created an expansion of saw milling operations, which led to various railway problems.
An accident at Cape Horn near Boya highlighted the difficulties with the railway's sharp curves and steep gradients in addition to the difficulty finding reliable clean water to service the trains. In 1893 the misnamed Mahogany Creek Deviation was commissioned from Bellevue to Lion Mill (Mt Helena) via a tunnel to be built through rock at Swan View and officially opened in 1896. Clean reliable water was solved from building a reservoir near Chidlow's Well, now known as Lake Leschenaultia.
Although the railway line closed in 1966 there are three categories of railway structures that remain. The most significant legacy remaining is the gradient bridle and walk trails that follow the original lines and are landmarked by a series of information shelters.
Engineering structures remain as a monument of incredible feats of engineering and manual labour. They include the construction of the Swan View Tunnel, three trestle bridges that remain in the John Forrest National Park and the arched stone culvert in Wooroloo.
The third category of structures that remain are just off the actual lines, the former railway houses of Glen Forrest, Mundaring and Wooroloo station masters and the settlements which arose as service centres for the railway era, remain today as vibrant local communities.
Photos of old trains along the Swan View line can be found here.