SAR Peterborough-Quorn

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Peterborough-Quorn Line Location Index Scenarios


Junction for Broken Hill LineTerowie Line

Black Rock
Halls Well

Junction for Hawker Line



Coal Loco Coal Stage Fuel Bunker C Oil Fuel Point
Loop Crossing Loop WYE Turning Triangle or WYE
Turntable Loco Turntable Shed Loco Shed
Water Loco Water Tank  
Passengers Passengers Passengers Station closed or inactive
Goods Goods Grain Grain
Oils_Fuels Oil and Fuel Stockyard Livestock (Cattle and Sheep)
Minerals Minerals Wool Wool Bales

Line History:

Opened:  1881-1882
Closed:  1987-1988
Length:  130km - 81mi

Built as a narrow gauge (3ft6in - 1067mm) line from Peterborough to Orroroo in 1881, it was extended to Quorn in 1882 where it joined the  SAR Main Northern Line  (narrow gauge) from Port Augusta to Oodnadatta. The Northern Line was transferred to the Commonwealth Railways in the early 1920s. When it was extended to Alice Springs in 1926-29 it was renamed to  Central Australia Railway .

When the standard gauge (4ft8½in - 1435mm) Transcontinental Railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoolie was completed in 1917, the  Peterborough-Quorn Line  became the route for all Transcontinental and Central Australia rail traffic until 1932 when a more direct broad gauge (5ft3in - 1600mm) line from Port Pirie to Port Augusta was completed.

During the 1940s many of the crossing loops on the line were lengthened to handle longer military trains carrying troops and war materiel to defend Northern Australia.

In the 1950s the main Central Australia Railway was diverted away from Quorn and the remaining line was truncated at Hawker. This significantly reduced rail traffic and led to the removal of several crossing loops on the Peterborough-Quorn line. The line from Port Pirie to Broken Hill was converted to standard gauge during 1969-1970 which isolated the Peterborough-Quorn Line from the rest of the narrow gauge network (the Port Augusta to Quorn line was closed in 1956).

In the 1960s there were 3 weekly return freight services between Peterborough and Quorn.

In January 1970 all steam locos were withdrawn and replaced by two diesel locos based at Peterborough, but one diesel was later withdrawn. Limited regular freight services to Orroroo ran until 1973 when they were replaced by a road vehicle but trains still serviced the grain silos at Orroroo, when needed. By 1979 there was only one weekly return service to Quorn and this often terminated at Carrieton. The last timetabled return freight service to Quorn ran in 1980. Special steam passenger excursion trains still ran from Peterborough to Quorn upto the mid 1980s.

The line from Eurelia to Quorn was closed in March 1987 as it was regarded to be in poor condition. This was followed by the closure of the line from Peterborough to Eurelia to normal traffic in November 1988. The last scheduled services on the line were grain movements to clear the silos at Orroroo in October 1988 but the Steamtown Peterborough Railway Preservation Society continued to run excursion trains to Eurelia until 2002. The line was then permanently closed.

By 2008 the line south of Bruce had been removed with the original track preserved in only a few places of significance (Black Rock, Wallaway and Eurelia).

Passenger Services:

The planners believed that the line would attract many settlers, industries and businesses to the region and, as a result, many of the stations were built in a "grand style". The reality never lived up to the expectations.

In the 1890s 6 return passenger services a week were timetabled - all were mixed services with a passenger car attached to a freight train. The journey time from Peterborough to Quorn was just over 4 hours.

A through express passenger service, the East-West Express, ran from Terowie to Port Augusta from 1917 to 1932. This was replaced by a rail car service until 1938. The mixed freight and passenger services then returned as far as Quorn with a journey time of close to 6 hours. This continued until 1957 when a faster Brill diesel rail car running from Terowie to Quorn provided 3 return services each week. Passenger services ended in 1969
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