Railways on the Yorke Peninsula

 
  beanzs27 Assistant Commissioner

I'm moving to the Yorke Peninsula from Victoria and I'm trying to understand more about the railway history of the area.

The way I understand it is that a non-steam powered railway started between Wallaroo and Kadina and eventually became a steam powered service.
From there a line was built connecting to Port Wakefield. Was that before the line to Snowtown. What years for both lines?

I understand that a broad gauge train arrived first to Moonta in 1927, painting on supermarket in Moonta.

When did each section stop running? and I assume that the line to Snowtown stayed open later because it was less windy or was it because Port Wakefield to Balaklava was closed?

I understand that when the Standard gauge from Crystal Brook to Adelaide was completed in 1983, then a third rail was added all the way to Wallaroo. But there was still broad gauge from Brinkworth thas that line been removed, I have been to Snowtown yet other than by rail or bus passing through.

I know there was a tourist railway between Wallaroo and Bute and it closed in 2009

I did a drive around Yorke Peninsula basically from Kadina down the west coast to Marion bay then across to Edithburgh  then North via Ardrossan. I did notice a lot of cereal crops and large silos at Ardrossan. Was there ever any plans to have a railway line South of Moonta?
I know there are a lot of ports down there so I imagine that's why no railway lines where ever built and that it is basically reasonable distance of carting between the central inland and the sea parts of the peninsula

Anymore information or suggestions on further reading would be much appreciated

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  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
I'm moving to the Yorke Peninsula from Victoria and I'm trying to understand more about the railway history of the area.
beanzs27


Most of the narrow gauge lines started out from their own ports, and were not expected to ever join together in a hurry. This is one of reasons (excuses) for adopting the narrow gauge. In the end, the various narrow gauge lines did join up to form a local system, except for IIRC Port Wakefield which was horse drawn, and the Eyre Peninsular which is the only one left.


Many of these ports had shallow drafts which limited the size of ships trying to load wheat, some needing "lightering".
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Most of the narrow gauge lines started out from their own ports, and were not expected to ever join together is a hurry. This is one of reasons (excuses) for adopting the narrow gauge. In the end, the various narrow gauge lines did join up to form a local system, except for IIRC Port Wakefield which was horse drawn, and the Eyre Peninsular which is the only one left.


Many of these port had shallow drafts which limited the size of ships trying to load wheat, some needing "lightering".
awsgc24


An incomplete list of SA ports goes like this, from NW to SE:
* (Original Gauge shown)

* Thevenard (NG)
* Port Lincoln (NG)
* Whyalla (NG)
* Port Bonython (proposed SG ; Capesize)
* Port Augusta (NG+SG)
* Port Germein
* Port Pirie (NG)
* Wallaroo (NG)
* Port Wakefield (NG)
* ???
* Yorke Peninsula (not rail connected).
* ???
* Morgan (BG) (River Murray)
* Port Adelaide (BG)
* Semaphore (BG)
* Outer Harbour (BG)
* ???
* Goolwa (Murray River) (BG)
* Victor Harbour (BG)
*
* Kingston SE (NG)
* Beachport (NG)
*
* Portland (Vic) (BG); though affected by break of gauge.

RPers might like to add any missing ports, in order, and suggest depth of water.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
I'm moving to the Yorke Peninsula from Victoria and I'm trying to understand more about the railway history of the area.
.............
I did a drive around Yorke Peninsula basically from Kadina down the west coast to Marion bay then across to Edithburgh  then North via Ardrossan. I did notice a lot of cereal crops and large silos at Ardrossan. Was there ever any plans to have a railway line South of Moonta?
I know there are a lot of ports down there so I imagine that's why no railway lines where ever built and that it is basically reasonable distance of carting between the central inland and the sea parts of the peninsula
"beanzs27"


The towns of Kadina, Wallaroo and Moonta were (and are) called the "Copper Triangle" due to the old Copper Mines in the area.
Other than that the Yorke Peninsula is basically a cereal cropping area.
There are only 4 Ports operating, Wallaroo on the Spencer Gulf side, Port Giles, Klein's Point and Ardrossan on the St. Vincent Gulf side.
Wallaroo has a Grain Export terminal, but it isn't classified as a "Deep Water" Port and can't handle the modern larger Bulk Carrier ships
Ardrossan also has a Grain Export terminal, but again is rather shallow and can't handle larger bulk carriers (The wharf was actually owned by BHP originally)
Klein's Point is a private facility owned and operated by Adelaide Brighton Cement, for shipping their own Limestone to Port Adelaide on their own ship (Accolade II)
Port Giles is now probably the largest Export Grain Terminal on the Peninsula as it can handle Large Bulk Carriers.
None of the St Vincent's Gulf side ports have ever been rail served.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Port Giles was only opened in 1970 and can handle Panamx sized ships.

This led to closure of several shallower ports.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Giles,_South_Australia
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
[quote="awsgc24"]An incomplete list of SA ports goes like this, from NW to SE:

RPers might like to add any missing ports, in order, and suggest depth of water.[/quote]

My additions in [b]Bold[/b], comments in [i]Italics[/i]

* Thevenard [b][i]Grain, Gypsum[/i][/b]
[b]Streaky Bay[/b] [i]Fishing[/i]
* Port Lincoln [b]Proper Bay[/b] [i]Was BHP Coffin Bay Sand out loader[/i]
* Port Lincoln [b]Boston Bay[/b] [i]Grain[/i] [color=blue]Deep Water[/color]
[b]Tumby Bay [i]- Proposed Port (Stokes Hill I think) for Grain and Iron Ore[/i]
Cowell[/b][i](sailing ship era) Did have a vehicle ferry service to Wallaroo at one stage[/i]
* Whyalla
* Port Bonython
* Port Augusta
* Port Germein
* Port Pirie
[b]Port Broughton[/b] [i](sailing ship era)[/i]
* Wallaroo
[b]Port Giles [i]Grain only[/i] [color=blue]Deep Water[/color]
Klein's Point [i]Limestone - Private Owned[i]
Ardrossan [i]Grain + BHP ?[/i][/b]
* Port Wakefield [i]{You'd get your tinny stuck in the mud getting to the old wharf to open water![/i] [i](sailing ship era)[/i]
* Outer Harbor [i]{Note spelling and position corrected}[/i] [color=blue]Deep Water[/color]
* Port Adelaide
* [b]Largs Bay[/b], Semaphore & [b]Glenelg[/b] Jetty's (mind you your talking sailing ship era)
[b]Rapid Bay[/b] out of use, was used by Adelaide Brighton Cement, Limestone to Port Adelaide
[b]Cape Jervis[/b] [i]Vehicle ferry's to Kangaroo Island - (Penneshaw)[/i]
[b]Kingscote - KI
Penneshaw - KI[/b] [i]Vehicle ferry's to Cape Jervis[/i]
* Victor Harbour [i](sailing ship era)[/i]
[b]Port Elliot[/b][i]Was linked by the first railway in Australia to Goolwa's River Port[/i] [i](sailing ship era)[/i]
* Goolwa (Murray River)[i](sailing ship era)[/i]
* Kingston SE
[b]Robe[/b]
* Beachport
* Portland (Vic); though affected by break of gauge. - [i]No, now SG only[/i]
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Port Giles was only opened in 1970 and can handle Panamx sized ships.

This led to closure of several shallower ports.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Giles,_South_Australia
"awsgc24"


I'd love to see a list of the "several shallower ports" !!!!

SACBH built, it was only a relatively small facility when opened (one concrete cell block) and expanded substantially (by SACBH) in the mid 80's to handle larger ships
I did modifications to the Main Switchboard a few years before the expansion.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
CMIIAW, but isn;t Victor Harbour spelled -or?
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
CMIIAW, but isn;t Victor Harbour spelled -or?
"awsgc24"


Yep, missed that one, We south aussies spell it Victor Harbor, however Google Maps spells it Victor Harbour
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
I'd love to see a list of the "several shallower ports" !!!!
Pressman


The wiki article does say which ports were replaced.


BTW, the article with all those BOLDS and ITALICS seems to be too long to quote from.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Ports which missed the list above

York Peninsular west, Pt Hughes and Pt Victoria sailing ships, Pt Rickarby roadstead.
York Peninsular east, Marion Bay, Stenhouse Bay (Gypsum, steamers) Edithburg (grain, gypsum, salt, steamers), Kline Point (Limestone, still used by ABC), Stansbury (grain, sailing vessels), Pt Vincent (grain, sailing vessels, modern boating), Price (salt, sailing era), Pt Clinton 9grain road stead).

Places like Pt Wakefield, relied on smaller vessels to ferry goods out to the larger vessels. Gulf St Vincent ports included Pt Parham (roadstead), Pt Gawler (Roadstead), Glenelg (ferry services), Pt Stanvac (Oil), Pt Noarlunga (sailing era) Pt Willunga (sailing era) Normanville (sailing era) Second Valley (sailing era).

Roadstead relied on lighters to carry goods out to/from larger vessels from drays driven into the water or from a short jetty.

In days of yore there was a steamer/motor vessel service to the various gulf ports including Pt Vincent, Edithburgh, Pt Hughes, Wallaroo, Pt Pirie, Whyalla, Pt Augusta, Cowell, Tumby Bay and Pt Lincoln. The last vessel to run the service was I think the MV Moonta in the early 60s.

Rapid Bay was established by BHP to supply limestone to Whyalla in the 1940s. The installation included electric shovels and a 3'6" gauge rail system with electric locos.

Regards
Ian
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

None of the St Vincent's Gulf side ports have ever been rail served.
"Pressman"

I think they all had rail at some time, just not connected to SAR. SA Jetty Tramways is an amazing history to research. Others not listed include Price (a wharf on Wills Creek, and connected by a tramway along the causeway to the town and saltworks, and used for salt, grain and inwards loading for the town), Marion and later Stenhouse Bay (gypsum). The jetty at Stenhouse Bay is still in existence and well worth a visit if you are heading to Yorke Peninsula. A 2' gauge tram connected the gypsum lakes to both Marion and Stenhouse Bay at different times.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Edithburgh had an extensive Jetty tramway system in 3'6'' including a spur which ran up the main street a short way. I went there once in the mid 60s, the tracks were like spaghetti junction.

Light Railways magazine published articles on SA's jetty tramways. Most jetties had a rail system using 3'6' gauge. Some were just a track perhaps with a loop midway on the jetty and one or two spur sidings at each end. Pt Germein was quite elaborate and extended down the main street to near the institute at the top end. I went there as a kid and climbed on the steam loco in the loading shed which I now recognise as  V class borrowed from the SAR.

Jetties served by the SAR were Beachport. Kingston, Victor Harbor (BG), Goolwa (BG), Glenelg (BG), Largs Bay (BG), Pt Wakefield (wharf) Pt Broughton (Isolated line to Mundoora), Pt Pirie (wharf), Pt Lincoln and Thevenard. All were 3'6" lines except those mentioned

Ian
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Yep, missed that one, We south aussies spell it Victor Harbor, however Google Maps spells it Victor Harbour
"Pressman"
Doesn't look like it to me:

The railway station has a u though.

According to the "why is there no u in Victor Harbor" page which used to be on the local council's website, when Port Victor was renamed (to avoid confusion with Port Victoria) and Outer Harbor was proclaimed, the Surveyor-General at the time simply made a spelling mistake.

There's no natural harbour at VH anyway, so the name is incorrect regardless of the spelling.
  Guard Class 2 Chief Commissioner

Location: Elizabeth,South Australia
Edithburgh had an extensive Jetty tramway system in 3'6'' including a spur which ran up the main street a short way. I went there once in the mid 60s, the tracks were like spaghetti junction.

Light Railways magazine published articles on SA's jetty tramways. Most jetties had a rail system using 3'6' gauge. Some were just a track perhaps with a loop midway on the jetty and one or two spur sidings at each end. Pt Germein was quite elaborate and extended down the main street to near the institute at the top end. I went there as a kid and climbed on the steam loco in the loading shed which I now recognise as V class borrowed from the SAR.

Jetties served by the SAR were Beachport. Kingston, Victor Harbor (BG), Goolwa (BG), Glenelg (BG), Largs Bay (BG), Pt Wakefield (wharf) Pt Broughton (Isolated line to Mundoora), Pt Pirie (wharf), Pt Lincoln and Thevenard. All were 3'6" lines except those mentioned

Ian
steam4ian

Could add Ceduna to that list, Ian, as it had a narrow gauge connection from the Port Lincoln Thevenard line in the early days.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
South Australia has long had Harbors:  the late 19th century SA Harbors Board was superceded by the Department for Marine and Harbors in the 1960's I think.

Outer Harbor strictly is the Outer Harbor of the Port of Adelaide which extends the length of the Port River, not a port in its own right.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Thanks everyone for the interesting read about the history of SA ports in general (as this thread has become).

Beachport and Kingston (SE) are particularly interesting locations - at Beachport you can still see much of the formation in place where the original narrow gauge line went. Kingston survived longer and was ultimately served by both narrow and broad-gauge trains but there's less traces of the line to be found around town. They're both barely more than fishing villages, it's interesting to contemplate now-days that they were connected to SAR in the past.

Does anyone know if SAR ever made it to Robe?
  touring Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide
Looks like it was talked about from the 1860's until at least 1913 but by 1935 they seem to have given up.
  nic Chief Train Controller

Location: Brisbane, QLD
To my knowlege, Robe was never rail connected. Kingston and Beachport were the two "ports" connected to the S.E narrow gauge system, with only the Kingston line being gauge widened in its entirety. Whilst the Kingston line had a far more regular and substantial service; Beachport's viability as a rail-served destination was always marginal, i believe it only ever had a weekly steam-hauled 'mixed' train and a daily rail motor service. Whilst some earthworks at Beachport that were possibly associated with gauge widening are evident today (the cutting immediately to the north of the former station compound) no broad gauge trackage was ever laid beyond Millicent stockyards. Apart from the jetty and a section of 3'6" track serving the fishermans co-op facilities, all trackage and infrastructure west of Millicent was removed between 1956 and 1959. To my understanding, the current route of the Beachport - Rendelsham - Millicent road is mostly on the same alignment as the former rail line.

For further information i suggest reading 'One Rusty Rail' by the late Ron Stewien (2nd hand copies available from time to time), which details the story of the gauge widening program and the S.E. rail network up to the closure of the last NG sections in the late 50's.

Cheers
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
If you are out and about exploring the Peninsular there are several things to visit.

The Port Broughton - Mundoora line can easily be traced over all but a few hundred metres of its length.

Another jetty railway with visible relics is at Port Germein - apart from the goods shed look for the rails in the road surface at the eastern end of the main street just before the hall.

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