[IMAGE] "From the Footplate" - SteamRanger's Enthusiast Website    

Mt Barker to Strathalbyn

Strath to Goolwa

Goolwa Station

Goolwa to Pt Elliot

Pt Elliot to Victor



 Along the Line - Victor Harbor Station

An important Railway Terminus

Today's imposing two storey station building reflects the importance of the railway service to the town and the port in the early 1900s. It replaces a series of more modest wooden buildings dating from the early horse tram service.

The line continues beyond the station and until about 1920 trains shunted across the causeway to Granite Island where an extensive layout of tracks allowed goods to be loaded on both the screwpile jetty and the main working jetty.

Today the track across the causeway is again used by the restored tourist horsetram service

[IMAGE] Early Victor Harbor Stations

The original station at Victor Harbor when the horsetram arrived in 1864 consisted of stables, a courtyard and a small covered platform for the passenger cars. The adjacent photo, taken about 1880, shows a horse car about to leave Victor Harbor en-route to Port Elliot. On the left are the wool stores, the Stationmaster’s house is on the right, and the line to the island passes the stone goods shed built in 1864 that today houses the SA Whale Museum.

Beyond the station, Victoria Pier, the main working pier for the town, was extended to Granite Island in 1875 and the railway lines extended to the island wharves and a breakwater constructed to protect the anchorage.

In 1886 the station received its first upgrade with a typical wooden office struture of the period being built at a cost of £287.

[IMAGE] Locomotive Servicing Facilities

Locomotives were initially turned on a triangle at the eastern entrance to the station yard. The apex of the triangle extended down towards the beach near today’s bowling green.

Around 1900 a small 50ft turntable was relocated from Middleton and installed together with a small locomotive servicing shed between the site of the present station and goods shed in what is now the station carpark on Railway Terrace

In 1908 the loco depot was relocated back towards the Pt Elliot end of the yard, and a two track shed, servicing pit, a coal stage, an overhead water tank and two water columns were erected.

The two track shed was demolished and replaced by the single track shed shown in the photo above in 1938.

The shed, the water tank and columns were eventually removed when steam services ceased in 1962. SteamRanger has recommissioned the inspection pit and uses it regularly to drop ashes and service its steam locomotives between movements.

Today’s 85ft electric turntable opposite the loco depot was installed in 1925.

The turntable is in regular use and is capable of turning “520”, the largest of the SteamRanger locos. Our photo shows Rx207 being turned in January 2004
(Photo: Kevin Marzahn)

[IMAGE] Today’s Station

Today's impressive heritage listed brick station was built in 1926.

The adjacent hand operated crossing gates at Coral St are the last of their type in the State and the old railwaymen’s barracks at Eyre Terrace have been retained for use by rostered SteamRanger volunteers who need to stay in the area overnight. Trains entering the yard are controlled by a vintage semaphore “home” signal located near the turntable.

Concept plans were released in 2003 for the station environs to be redeveloped as part of a tourism initiative sponsored by the local Council. The turntable may eventually be relocated near the old goods shed and improved access paths developed linking the main shopping area with the foreshore gardens through the station area..

    The Granite Island Tramway [IMAGE]

Victoria Pier at Victor Harbor was extended to Granite Island in 1875 and goods were transported to and from the island by horses until around 1910 when small 2-4-0 tank engines and Kitson goods motors were authorised to use the line. A standpipe was installed on the island to water these locomotives.

From 1895 a horse drawn passenger car service was inaugurated using Car 7, a car earlier used on both the Strathalbyn to Victor and Kadina lines.

Our photo shows the car on the Island with its driver proudly standing to attention. In 1910, ex Municipal Tramways Trust Car 25 was gauge converted to broad gauge and worked with Car 7 until 1929.


Cars 5 and 6 were built in 1883 for the Moonta to Moonta Bay line. When this line closed in 1931 they were towed to Victor and subsequently took over the Granite Island service. The two cars were periodically towed back to Adelaide behind a "55" or "75" class railcar for servicing.

In 1954 rebuilding of the causeway eliminated the rail tracks and the service ceased, but in 1986 the rail tracks were replaced across the causeway and replica cars built to restore the horsetram service, which is now operated by the Victor Harbor Council.

A holding yard to spell horses during the day and a maintenance building have been built at the mainland terminus and a boarding station near the cafe on the island. The line is single track throughout, except for a short crossing loop on the island.

Our photo shows one of the replica cars rumbling across the causeway to Granite Island.

Yard Diagrams through the Years


Horse Tram era


Turntable relocated near goods shed


Engine shed and turntable moved to Pt Elliot end of Yard


Redundant track and Engine Shed removed

Along the line
to Port Elliot