The Zig Zag Railway

The Kalamunda Zig Zag was completed in 1891 by the Canning Jarrah Timber Company to supply railway sleepers to Perth’s growing railway system.

The line was, for its day, a prodigious undertaking.  From Midland, the line climbed 320 feet in a little over five miles to the foot of the escarpment, where a spur line left to serve Stratham’s Quarry.  The ascent of nearly 1000ft to the summit from this point was to become famous as the Zig Zag Railway. The line was so steep (1 in 30 grade), that the engine would alternate between pushing and pulling the load.  The remaining eleven miles to Canning Mills was relatively easy going.

Today, the Zig Zag is a scenic narrow one way bitumen road, frequented by cyclists.  Every year in early October, the Shire of Kalamunda holds a Zig Zag Walk event, where the road is open only to pedestrians allowing people the opportunity to admire the views and see the area’s wildflowers.  The Zig Zag is also used as a stage in the Targa West Rally. You can access the top of Stratham’s Quarry from the Zig Zag.