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Snowtown, a Railway Crossroads


The Snowtown township site was selected to be located at the end of the railway being built from Kadina through Bute and Barunga Gap in 1878.

  • The railway line reached Snowtown in 1879 providing a great stimulus to development.

  • A flour mill was built almost immediately in Snowtown.


Left: SA Rail Network in 1974

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Barunga Gap and Black Point Railway Act
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The railway from Kadina to Black Point (Snowtown) was built in 1878-1879.


The line from Kadina to Barunga Gap had started construction from the Kadina end in 1877; the Railway line from Barunga Gap towards Black Point was built in 1878.


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Railway Timeline

The railway meant passengers could travel to Adelaide via Kadina and Port Wakefield.

  • The town’s role as a transport hub was further strengthened when the railway was extended across the plains to the east,

  • through the small settlement of Condowie

  • to the newly created railway town of Brinkworth in 1894.

  • These lines were converted to broad gauge in 1927.

  • The Barunga Gap railway siding closed in 1976 but the line was used for some years after that for grain trains to Wallaroo.

  • The line closed to freight trains in the 1990s.

  • The disused line is all that remains of the Barunga Gap railway station and yards.


  • The newest structure is a substation for the Barunga Gap wind farms along the Hummocks Range.

Railway Timeline

  • 1857: Adelaide–Gawler opened

  • 1862: Private broad gauge horse-drawn tramway between Wallaroo and Kadina

  • 1866: Wallaroo line extended to Moonta

  • 1869: First narrow gauge line (3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)) opens from Port Wakefield through Balaklava to Hoyleton – isolated from broad gauge system.
    Originally horse-drawn railway


  • 1876: Port Broughton railway line between Port Broughton and Mundoora

  • 1877: Wallaroo lines acquired by South Australian Railways

  • 1878: Port Wakefield to Kadina narrow gauge opened and continued to Wallaroo adjacent to the broad gauge line.

  • 1878: Narrow gauge branch from Balaklava to Hamley Bridge, creating the state's first break of gauge

  • 1879: Kadina junction to Snowtown opened

  • 1894: Snowtown branch extended to Brinkworth joining the Hamley Bridge-Gladstone railway line

  • 1923: the Long Plains railway line extension reached Snowtown

  • 1925, the Long Plains line was completed to Redhill, bringing an increase of rail traffic to the town.

  • 1927: Yorke Peninsula lines converted from narrow to broad gauge to connect to the line from Salisbury, along with the Hamley Bridge-Gladstone line

  • 1937: Trans-Australian Railway extended to Port Pirie Junction and the broad gauge railway from Adelaide to Redhill extended to Port Pirie, Ellen Street

  • 1982: The section from Kadina to Snowtown was converted to dual gauge on 2 December 1982

    • an extra 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) rail laid following the conversion of the Adelaide-Port Augusta line.

  • 1982: The Adelaide–Port Pirie broad gauge is replaced by a standard gauge linking at Crystal Brook.

    • replaces the broad gauge line from Salisbury to Port Pirie, connecting Adelaide to the standard gauge network;

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Long Plains Railway Function 1 Sept 1923

On Monday 3 Sep 1923 the Lochiel to Snowtown section of the Long Plains Railway is to be opened for traffic.

  • The usual celebrations at Snowtown are in the hands of a committee, of which Mr. M. M. Coffey is the Chairman.

  • The resident engineer for the yard alterations at Snowtown (Mr. W. E. Turner) has made sufficient progress to permit of the broad gauge being handled there on and after the opening date.

  • Material is arriving for the Snowtown to Redhill section.

Snowtown got a direct broad gauge connection from Adelaide in 1923 and this line terminated in Redhill.

  • In 1937 it was extended to Port Pirie.


Once this line was completed all interstate trains to Perth started using this new route.


The Adelaide-Port Augusta railway line is the primary rail corridor in South Australia for northbound rail traffic out of Adelaide.

  • The line forms part of the Perth–Adelaide and Adelaide–Darwin rail route,

  • and the portion south of Crystal Brook forms part of the Adelaide–Sydney rail route.

  • Snowtown then had several trains daily to and from Adelaide

  • as well as a daily rail car service to Moonta and to Brinkworth.

  • This rail car service to Moonta and to Brinkworth ceased in 1968.

All the lines west of the AdelaideCrystal Brook standard gauge line and the line from Snowtown to Brinkworth were closed after the Adelaide – Crystal Brook line was opened in 1982, despite proposals to convert some of them to standard gauge.

  • Passenger trains to Port Pirie ceased in the early 1980s

Steam Train South Hummocks 1500_58326775
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