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Steamtown, Peterborough

Home > Peterborough SA > Exhibitions | Museums | Trains
by Cecelia Hopkins (subscribe)
Cecelia's articles are illustrated by Allan who enjoys photography. Cecelia is also the author of: "Silver Springtime", "All for Love", "Mystic Evermore" and the new release: "Faith and Love".
Published February 22nd 2017
Display built on a piece of Australia's railway history
Peterborough is located in central northern South Australia and once formed a hub for Australian travel, commerce and industry. From Peterborough trains could go to Port Pirie and Adelaide, Broken Hill through to Sydney, Alice Springs via Quorn, or through Port Pirie to Port Augusta, Kalgoorlie and eventually Perth.

Trains, Peterborough, Steamtown
Model train - Photo by Allan

Moreover, in the early days of rail travel, a number of different types of rail gauge were in use. Peterborough was a key exchange point because it had three types of railway gauges in its railway yard. (The triple gauge turntable can still be seen at the centre of the Steamtown Heritage Rail Centre display.)

Travellers used to come to Peterborough and change trains to continue their journey to a destination on an alternate gauge track. I expect goods would have to be unloaded from one train and reloaded onto the next train, so the task sounds incredibly labour intensive. No wonder the Peterborough depot employed over a thousand men in its hey-day.

Trains, Peterborough, Steamtown
Train on display - Photo by Allan

The Indian Pacific is the main train that passes through the town nowadays, and it is possible to get off the train, take a break to enjoy the town and get on to the next train again.

Trains, Peterborough, Steamtown
Train Display - Photo by Allan

The site, which was once South Australia's busiest regional railway exchanges with around a hundred trains passing through every day, is now a railway museum. The Steamtown Heritage Rail Centre is open: 9am to 5pm daily (except Christmas day), and guided tours are offered any time between 9am and 3.30pm. Adults $17.50, Concession $15.00, Family Pass $35.00, Child $8.00. School-groups are around $5.00 per person.

Self-guided tours are also available; these are around $10 per person. You look around by yourself, but are restricted to areas you can access for safety reasons. In the evening, a "Sound and light show is offered," which involves a film for around $20 per person.

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Why? Trains and history
Phone: 08 8651 3355
Where: 2 Telford Ave Peterborough South Australia 5422
Cost: $10- $20 per adult
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