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
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.
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.