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Mt Barker Station

Philcox Hill to Gemmells

Gemmells to Strath

Strath Station



 Along the Line - Mt Barker to Philcox Hill

Trains from Mt Barker wind their way slowly through the station yard and then past SteamRanger's main workshops before heading through the outskirts of the town.

After crossing the main Strathalbyn Road the line the line diverges away to the west and commences a steady climb to the highest point on our line at Philcox Hill.

SteamRanger Depot
SteamRanger's loco depot was constructed on the site of the former Mt Barker goods yard when the society was required to relocate from its depot at Dry Creek, in the northern Adelaide suburbs, following rebuilding of the main line between Adelaide and Mt Barker Junction in 1996.

Out of suburbia
Just past the Depot, the line crosses Dutton Road and then two heavy steel girder bridges in quick succession. The bridges across the Mt Barker Creek replace original lighter examples put down in 1884. To the left of the train, across flat country, can be seen Mount Barker Summit. The mount was named after Captain Collett Barker who first sited it from the Murray Mouth in the 1830s thinking it was Mount Lofty. Realising it was not, Captain Sturt named it in Barker's honour. Passing through the rapidly developing suburbs, the line crosses Fletcher Road, Alexandrina Road and then Wellington Road (where flashing lights protect the main road to Strathalbyn.  

The Climb to the Summit
Just past the 58 km.post, the climb to the top of the ranges at Philcox Hill begins in earnest. This section of track was restored by SteamRanger in 1990 following an extensive fundraising appeal. The 1 in 45 gradient continues up a long straight embankment and through tall gum trees to the Native Avenue road crossing from where the line passes through a number of cuttings to crest the hill at the abandoned Philcox Hill station site.

Philcox Hill
Situated in a opening in the trees on level ground, the station site is the highest point on the line (1,304 feet or nearly 398 metres above sea-level) In years gone by both a passing siding and goods siding existed and the goods siding for quite some time possessed loading bins for stone that was brought down from a local quarry by means of a one-kilometre long horse tramway to the east of the line. A walking track remains as evidence. Today remnants of a platform, a telephone box and well-kept station name board are the only things to indicate this rather interesting and once very busy location.

Read about
Mt Barker Station
Survey Map 1
Along the Line
Philcox to Gemmells

Motorcaders' Photospots Grade Diagram

The railway reserve and adjacent farmers' fields are not public rights of way. We recommend that lineside photographers use only public roads to follow our trains

The following points are easily accessible from public roads and offer good opportunities for lineside photography

55.0km - 56.3km - Level track through the suburbs crossing Dutton, Fletcher and Alexandrina roads

56.8km - Main Strathalbyn road crossing
57.3km - Hurling Drive off Strathalbyn Rd (to right)

60.4km - Native Avenue - at rail crossing the line curves into a deep cutting as line proceeds towards Philcox Hill. Return back towards main road.

Frampton Rd to south off Native Ave follows line (20m to west) to near Philcox Hill station site at 61.5km. Walking track down to station commences at crest of hill.

Yard Diagrams as constructed

Philcox Hill


The sidings and buildings have now been removed, leaving only a through line

The Scenery
Loco 520 heads a train across the paddocks
just outside Mt Barker (Roger Sallis)
Railcar 428 pauses at Philcox Hillawaiting passengers
returning to Mt Barker(Graeme Dorling)

Along the Line
Philcox to Gemmells