The National Railway Museum is Australia's largest collection of trains, with trains from State, Commonwealth, and private railway operators. It is a place where you can not only look at these grand machines, but explore through them as you learn about all aspects of Australia's rail history. It is fun for adults and children, and is a great family activity if you're heading to Port Adelaide.
There are so many trains on display in the large exhibit shed, that you'll wonder how they all fit in. From big steam engines, to electronic passenger trains, there is something of every sort. You can't explore every carriage of the trains, but special compartments have been opened up to show you what train travel was like, from cattle class to the stylish first class dining carts. You can peer inside the onboard kitchens, and learn about the lives of people who lived and worked on and along the railway.
The museum doesn't only look at the history of trains in the country, but also how Australia's history has been formed with the help of trains. Find out about the role of trains like the Tea and Sugar Train, that carried provisions for railway employees and outback communities. If you're interested in trains of a slightly smaller variety, you'll also enjoy having a look at the large model railway set up that recreates South Australian rail lines.
A fun thing to do at the railway is to get aboard the train that runs through the museum. The museum entrance fee includes unlimited rides on the train, and kids will have lots of fun waving to all of the people that they pass. It regularly leaves from the 'station' so you can hop aboard at any time during your trip through the museum. The Semaphore to Fort Glanville Railway is also run by the museum, but this leaves from the Jetty at Semaphore Road rather than from the museum. The train runs daily during school holidays, and on weekends and public holidays, from September holidays till the end of April holidays.
More fun can be had during the July school holidays when the museum becomes home to some very special visitors. Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends head to the National Railway Museum and bring a bit of fun for the old and young. There are activities like storytelling, face painting, and other fun things for the kids. Sir Topham Hatt, the Fat Controller, comes along with his trains and you'll be able to get your picture taken with him. This annual event is a must-see for any Thomas fans, but all children will enjoy it. You can have fun with Thomas all year round by popping into the gift shop and picking up some trains for home.
The National Railway Museum is an educational and fun day out, especially for any train lovers. Located in the heart of Port Adelaide, it is close to other attractions like the Maritime Museum and the Aviation Museum. Take a day out to enjoy all that Port Adelaide has to offer, making sure that the Railway Museum is one of your stops. As well as visiting, the museum can also be hired out for events and you can enjoy lunch aboard of the classic carriages.
The museum is open 10am-5pm daily. Entrance fees are $12 for an adult, $9 for a concession, $6 for children 3-15, and $32 for families. Entry prices can vary during special events.