Darwin or bust - a short drive up the road travel blog

Pretty Manna Hill Station in the middle of nowhere

Waiting for a very, very long freight train to pass

The Turntable and Roundhouse

Murder on the Orient Express, anyone?


Wonderful sunset glow over historic Silverton

Our first NSW sunset in months, over Silverton

At Peterborough we visited Steamtown, a fascinating Heritage Railway museum. We joined a tour and learnt this was once South Australia’s busiest regional railway hub employing more than 1,000 people who looked after more than 100 passing trains every day.

This railway town is at the junction of the Port Pirie to Broken Hill line and the Adelaide to Quorn, Port Augusta, Hawker, Leigh Creek and Marree. While today the town services an important grain-growing and pastoral region its greatest claim to fame is that it is one of only two places in Australia (the other is Gladstone) where three railway gauges met. This particular absurdity was the result of different state governments being unable (or unwilling) to agree on a standard railway gauge. The narrow gauge is 3ft 6 in, the standard gauge is 4ft 8 1/2 in (based on the British Railway) and the broad gauge (based on the Irish Railway) is 5 ft 2 in.

We saw Australia’s only operational triple gauge turntable and a wide range of historic rolling stock including elegant steam trains with dining cars and lounges complete with a piano, powerful diesel locomotives, unique passenger trains, one was converted to a baby health clinic and various freight trains, all exhibited in original settings in the heritage listed roundhouse and original work sheds. While Grae really enjoyed this tour I must say I also found it interesting.

We had the nicest cornish pasties in the old theatre which is now a cafe with some great old memorabilia on display.

We said goodbye to South Australia and hello to New South Wales as we drove to Broken Hill for the night. We caught the last rays of the sun in Silverton before heading into the pub for a well earned drink. The fire was on and the locals were friendly. They seemed to be having a lot of Sambuca shots!

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