Arrium to mothball Southern Iron operations that include Peculiar Knob mine in SA
Jobs to go as power stations, mine close, railway suspended
Viterra secures rail services with Genesee and Wyoming Australia for movement of grain across South Australia
Multitrip tickets for Adelaide public transport to be invalid soon
Viterra announces an end to rail freight in the Riverland leaving grain growers with no train transport
Adelaide trains disrupted between Woodville and city after death on rail track at Brompton
Alinta Energy to close power stations at Port Augusta and coal mine at Leigh Creek
Report finds inadequate railway works led to 2013 derailment in outback SA
Seaford rail line: Section of faulty cable to be replaced after wires snap a second time
Serco puts The Ghan, Indian Pacific up for sale
Reporter: Peter Fairchild, ABC South East SA
Started in 1836, the development of South Australia as a colony was rather unique – it was, for example, the only state developed without the aid of convict labour. To support the rapid development of the country, railroads became critical.
The backbone of South Australia’s economy was agricultural and mining goods, and the railways allowed for the easy transportation of these goods
Stations became a critical link in the development of markets and though each major town had its own station, others – like Peterborough, Terrowie, Port Augusta and Quorn – only exist because they became rail centres.
I still remember from my childhood the station at Burra in the mid north. It was a very busy place as trains arrived almost daily bringing fresh vegetables and other produce from the city - crates of hens and ducks, cardboard cartons of day old chicks, kegs of beer, carts with horses to collect as well as the growing numbers of trucks.
And, of course, there were people everywhere, coming and going, surrounded by the sounds and smells of the steam train. What excitement!
Many of the railroads that connected the towns of South Australia have long since been ripped up, with the steel being used for scrap.
Travel through the Flinders Ranges and the country out from Burra and Peterborough will reveal many examples of where the railroad used to go.
Walk along the old lines and you might be lucky enough to see fine bridge heads, terracing, sleepers or a spike that was used to hold the rails to the sleepers. Even the occasional railroad buildings can still be found.
For the real steam enthusiast, a visit to the key railroad towns of South Australia is a must, with perhaps the most exciting being Peterborough. When it was first established, the town boasted some of the most advanced railroad infrastructure of its time.
Today, the huge circular carriage washing station still exists. Carriages were rolled into this huge glassed shed, then revolved around a pivot on which they were washed and scrubbed as they moved, much like in a revolving dairy. Today, the buildings and workshops are still standing (and used for storing confiscated police materials) and tours and museums exist to support the industry of yesteryear.
For the collector, the railroads have produced all sorts of treasures – brass luggage racks; carriage lanterns; paneling made of oak, cedar, walnut or mahogany; brass bathroom sinks; brass plaques; seats; china; cutlery; glasses; steam whistles; hats; uniforms; the list goes on.
Old photos of the early steam trains and station scenes are also very collectable.
Many of the carriages of the steam era were dismantled with the contents sold off at auction (though much of it also walked through the gates of railroad stations). This was still occurring up until the late 1980s.
A good way to start collecting train or railway memorabilia is to take a ride on a steam train like the Pitchi Ritchi from Quorn to Wilmington. Whilst you are onboard, have a good look at what the old carriages looked like. Visit the old railroad stations, and take in the ambiance of the time. Attending auctions in the major railroad towns will often result in the opportunity to purchase something from a stream train.
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