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Disused Railway Stations Near Mt Barker

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
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Published March 3rd 2013
Did you miss the train?
Disused Railway Stations Near Mt Barker

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Heritage South Australian Trains @ Mt Barker


Before I get into any trouble from readers, I should clarify the title -
this article is about railway stations that are no longer used for general public transport.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the national rail system was extremely popular and heavily used.

Australian trains carried goods and passengers around the country, as rail lines provided much faster travel times than alternatives before motor cars became popular in the 1950's.

As a result there are railway stations littering the state, especially in country areas. They were once an immensely important part of South Australian history, but for many their time has now passed.

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Steam Engine 502 @ Blackwood in 1952 (Courtesy SLSA b58892/30)


From Terowie to Tailem Bend, from Manoora to Mount Lofty, communities were left to deal with their own stations as they wished.

In the Mount Barker area, I have found three stations with very different futures.

For information about a fourth station nearby, see here.

Mount Barker Station

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Mount Barker Railway Station


While Mount Barker is no longer used as part of the national rail system, the station building and rail lines have found a whole new life as the centre of the Steamranger Heritage Railway network.

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An Old Water Tank for Steam Engines


Steamranger operate a fantastic collection of heritage Australian trains from Mount Barker through the Hills and around the Fleurieu Peninsula.

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1880s Heritage Rail Shed Used by Steamranger


Unfortunately you cannot catch a Steamranger train in Adelaide, but Mount Barker is an easy 20 minutes drive along the freeway - or you can catch a bus from Adelaide that terminates at the station.

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Steamranger Wooden Passenger Car Circa 1920


You can read more here about their Cockle train, which operates between Victor Harbour and Goolwa. The cockle train has the oldest steel rail lines of any railway in Australia, but your mind is more likely to be occupied with the beautiful ocean views as you pass Port Elliot.

If you are enthusiastic about railways and South Australian trains, have a browse through the Steamranger enthusiast's website too.

It's great to see that the Mount Barker station has survived its first hundred years and is still a focus for the community.

Littlehampton Station

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Littlehampton Station


The station at Littlehampton is perhaps typical of many of the smaller stations scattered about the railways of Australia.

It is a simple construction of timber and corrugated iron, and is the only relic of what must have been a bustling place a hundred years ago. There were factories producing bricks, jam, sauces, bacon, wattle extract, a brewery and a sawmill in Littlehampton by 1890.

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Littlehampton Railway Station Sign


Littlehampton station was very busy by the early 20th century. The Register reported in 1911:
About 10 tons of pork has been sent from the Littlehampton Railway Station since Friday. Four tons was for Broken Hill consumers. A truckload of felloes (wheel rims), weighing over 8 tons, was sent from the same station to the Mile-End goods station for city firms.
The quantity of eggs now being dispatched from the Balaklava district is said to equal a ton a day. A good proportion of the produce is for export to eastern and western States.


Nowadays Littlehampton is just another disused station in the Australian railway network. People in adjoining gardens gaze curiously at any sign of life as one walks along the tracks.

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Time Worn Track at Littlehampton


The tracks seem uneven now, and some sleepers appear to be sunken or twisted. It seems unlikely that this section of line will ever be used again.

For now the station remains, silently awaiting a passenger.

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Littlehampton Railway Station


Nairne Station

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Nairne Railway Station


Australian rail enthusiasts have often commented about how disused railway stations are wasted and left to rot even if they are heritage listed.

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Lions Club Members Maintaining Nairne Station


But the Nairne railway station has had a reprieve - it has been adopted by volunteers from the Lions Club of Nairne.

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Inside the Signal Box


The volunteers have lovingly maintained the railway station over many years, and restored it to hold a useful place in its community. Not only do the Lions Club use the station for their own meetings, but it is also available for other community organisations to use too.

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Nairne Railway Station Front


Unfortunately the old stone goods shed opposite the station building is constantly under attack from vandals. Despite being securely fenced it continues to be a graffiti target.

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The Stone Goods Shed Opposite Nairne Station


But at least the 130 year old station building survives, to continue serving community it has served for so long.

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Where: Mount Barker area
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Your Comment
I do when it looks like this: http://500px.com/everlookphotography
but it can make a photo look worse if it isn't used correctly.
Maybe you should try the free tutorials here:http://www.stuckincustoms.com/

have fun
by nojok (score: 1|20) 2269 days ago
Railway stations littering the state? Ahem... could we reconsider that as... adorning the state, in various stages of repair/disrepair?
It's great to see the occasional reinvention of stations as useful community assets like the young lions of Nairne project.
On a similar constructive vein... as one whose multiple sins as a young buck do not incorporate anything to do with spray cans, I have noticed various sites where approved spray can art is attractive, (eg the back of Wayville showgrounds nest to the train track) which random ugly taggers have not desecrated.... a possible strategy for the Nairne ruins which appears to be alongside the overland and freight track?
Oh... and good article.
by koj77 (score: 2|152) 2270 days ago
It looks like you got HDR software for Xmas
by nojok (score: 1|20) 2270 days ago
Just trying to help you make good pictures. HDR is like any processing it is good and works or it is bad and doesn't. Badly processed pictures aren't a 'style'.
I won't be reading any articles with bad writing or bad pictures.
Good luck.
by nojok (score: 1|20) 2269 days ago
Thanks for that tip - yes I touched on Aldgate in my article on the Mount Lofty station, although I haven't been there.

I have seen a little of the Strathalbyn station when I went to the market, but need to go back for better photos.
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11197) 2271 days ago
Stations at Aldgate and Strathalbyn are also occupied & well used by community organisations.
by kmtay (score: 1|69) 2271 days ago
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