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Adelaide–Port Augusta railway line

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Adelaide-Port Augusta railway line
OwnerAustralian Rail Track Corporation
Port Augusta
Continues fromAdelaide-Wolseley line
Continues asTrans-Australian Railway
Number of tracks1
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Old gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Route map

One Rail Australia Port Augusta Yard
Port Augusta
closed 2016
Winninowie loop
Mambray Creek loop
Port Germein loop
One Rail Australia Port Pirie Yard
Coonamia datum point, east Port Pirie
AWB Crystal Brook Grain Terminal
Crystal Brook loop
Rocky River loop
Redhill loop
Snowtown loop
Viterra Snowtown Grain Terminal
Kadina line (dual gauge)
closed 1993
Nantawarra loop
Bowmans Rail Terminal
Long Plains loop
Mallala loop and Viterra siding
AWB GrainFlow Mallala Grain Terminal
Two Wells loop
Bolivar loop
SCT Penfield Terminal
One Rail Australia Dry Creek North Yard
Dry Creek loop
Private freight terminal
Adelaide Freight Terminal
Mile End loop
Adelaide Parklands Terminal
Belair & Seaford lines


The Adelaide-Port Augusta railway line is the main route for northbound rail traffic out of Adelaide, South Australia. The line, 315 kilometres (196 miles) long, is part of the Adelaide–Darwin rail corridor and the Sydney–Perth rail corridor.

One Rail Australia, Pacific National and SCT Logistics operate freight services on the line; the sole passenger service is Journey Beyond's experiential tourism trains The Ghan and Indian Pacific.

SCT Logistics' Penfield intermodal terminal is connected to a siding south of the Northern Expressway and the Bolivar crossing loop.[2]


The government-owned South Australian Railways started to build the broad-gauge SalisburyLong Plains line as a branch off the Main North line in 1915, completing it in April 1917.[3] The line was extended from Long Plains to Redhill from 1917 to 1925,[4] and again from Redhill to Port Pirie in 1937. In the latter year, the Commonwealth Railways extended its standard gauge Trans-Australian Railway line from Port Augusta south to Port Pirie.[5]

In 1980, the Federal and State Governments entered an agreement to convert the line from Adelaide to standard gauge, albeit altered to meet the Trans-Australian Railway at Crystal Brook.[6] This allowed Adelaide to become the last mainland state capital to join the standard gauge network. The line opened in 1982. It runs on the western side of the same corridor as the Gawler railway line from north of Salisbury railway station to the triangle near Adelaide Gaol, and continues on the western side of the metropolitan broad gauge tracks to Adelaide Parklands Terminal. The new line allowed Australian National to operate The Ghan, Indian Pacific and Trans-Australian through to Adelaide without passengers having to change trains. In July 1998, it became part of the Australian Rail Track Corporation network.

Until late 2017, this meant that the standard gauge trains had to cross the Outer Harbor railway line at-grade at Torrens Junction, north of the River Torrens. In 2017, this conflict was removed by lowering the suburban Outer Harbor line into a trench so it could pass under the standard gauge line. This would ease timetable and operational conflicts on both services.[7]

Crossing loops

The maximum length of trains on this line is 1.8 kilometres, and almost all crossing loops are of this length. East of Mile End the maximum train length is 1.5 kilometres, though this is starting to be increased to 1.8 kilometres also.

Mile End

The crossing loop at the Adelaide Parklands Terminal at Mile End is of length 1,658m.

Dry Creek

The first crossing loop north of Adelaide, of length 1,950m, is south of Dry Creek.


The Bolivar crossing loop is 1800 metres long, having been lengthened from 1200 metres in 2012, after the Taylors Road level crossing at the southern end was replaced by an overpass of the Northern Expressway.[8] As a result, the overpass marks the approximate mid-point of the loop.[note 1]

Penfield intermodal hub

In 2007, it was proposed that an Intermodal Rail/Road facility be built in the Edinburgh Parks area. Accordingly, an area of rural/agricultural land in Penfield was rezoned in 2008.[10][11]

In the 2010s, SCT Logistics[12] and another company started to develop an intermodal hub.[13][14] The new facilities and trackwork commenced construction on the north-east side of the line, south of the Northern Expressway and north of Heaslip Road and RAAF Base Edinburgh, in 2011/2012.

Two Wells

The next crossing loop, of length 1,817m, is at Two Wells - the loop is between Gawler Rd and Tenby Rd.


There are about a dozen other crossing loops north of Two Wells - refer to the infobox to the right.

Crystal Brook

Crystal Brook includes the triangle junction with the main line to Broken Hill and Sydney. Then there is a 968m crossing loop and siding with provision to load grain at the silos in the town. The tracks converge to single track to cross a bridge over the Crystal Brook, then split into double track for the 20 km to Coonamia. The western track is for northbound travel and the eastern track for southbound, except that there is a balloon loop for loading grain from the AWB silos which is accessed by proceeding a short distance north on the eastern track.[15]: 62–66 


Coonamia "station" – in the past a provisional stopping place[16] but since the early 2010s comprising only a nameboard – is the site of the "0 km" datum point for routes to Port Augusta, Broken Hill and Adelaide.[15]: 70  At this point ARTC train controllers in Adelaide (who oversee operations between Broken Hill and Coonamia, and Coonamia southwards) hand over to controllers in Port Augusta (who oversee the line to Port Augusta and points west); the sign remains so that train crews can identify the change-over point.[17] The location has a crossing loop 1638 m (1791 yds) long on the south side of the double mainline from Crystal Brook.[15]: 66, 69 

A further 2.25 km (1.4 mi) west is a triangle junction where the double track ends and from which single tracks go west to Port Pirie Yard and north to Port Augusta.[15]: 67–68 

Port Germein

The 1960m crossing loop at Port Germein had a 110m goods siding commissioned in 2015. The siding is operated by SCT Logistics.[18][15]: 69, 70 


  1. ^ The original crossing loop was between Taylors Road and King Road, Virginia.[9]


  1. ^ Adelaide - Port Augusta SA Track & Signal
  2. ^ "DRY CRK(ex) to (CRYSTAL BRK(ex) Yard Plans & Component Identification" (PDF). Australian Rail Track Corporation. July 2011. TA400010. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  3. ^ "OPENING OF THE LONG PLAINS RAILWAY". Chronicle. Vol. LIX, no. 3, 062. South Australia. 28 April 1917. p. 27. Retrieved 31 July 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "REDHILL RAILWAY OPENING". Observer. Vol. LXXXII, no. 6, 081. South Australia. 15 August 1925. p. 62. Retrieved 31 July 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ Rail Standardisation National Railway Museum
  6. ^ Rail Agreement (Adelaide to Crystal Brook Railway) Act 1980 Government of Australia
  7. ^ Kemp, Miles (13 September 2017). "Major disruption to Outer Harbor and Gawler train lines as work starts on Park Tce underpass". The Advertiser. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Interstate Network Overview Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine, appendix II, ARTC document no. TA02, issue 2.2, 20 June 2004, p. 7
  10. ^ Penfield intermodal rail freight facility amendment Archived 13 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Development Plan Amendment (DPA), Minister for Urban Development and Planning,
    Written submissions on the DPA were received for a period of eight weeks, from Thursday 14 February 2008 to Thursday 10 April 2008. The Penfield Intermodal Rail Freight Facility DPA was approved by the Minister for Urban Development and Planning on 7 August 2008.
  11. ^ Community information sheet Archived 20 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Rail Freight Terminal at Penfield – rezoning for an Intermodal facility, Planning SA, February 2008,
  12. ^ SCT Logistics home page
  13. ^ $30 Million rail freight terminal for South Australia, 4 February 2011, T&DC Pty Ltd,
  14. ^ Rail Freight Terminal for South Australia Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Media Release from the City of Playford, 25 January 2011,
  15. ^ a b c d e "Network information book West CTC" (PDF). Australian Rail Track Corporation. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  16. ^ South Australian Railways working timetable 1964, Table 35
  17. ^ Vincent, Graham (2019). "Coonamia–Weeroona (diagram AR080 – page 26)" (PDF). SA Track and Signal. G.F. Vincent. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  18. ^ "CHANGE LOG - ARTC DIN Corridor (South Australia - Western Australia)". SA Track and Signal. Archived from the original on 13 June 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
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Adelaide–Port Augusta railway line
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