Friday, December 13, 2013

Moonta, Kadina and Wallaroo Railway Trip

Being on the coast in South Australia around 2 hours drive from Adelaide, Moonta is a place I had never been to.

I then found out about a yearly event at Moonta called the Station Markets, where they have arts and crafts for sale in the restored old Moonta Railway station, with a small tourist train there that takes people on a journey through the Moonta Mines, using a rail line constructed partially over the top of the old original Yorke Peninsula railway line. I had to go!

I then read about the history of the Yorke Peninsula railway line in South Australia, which sadly is no longer in use. A heritage train service called the Yorke Peninsula Railways (YPR) used to run rail fan train trips on part of this line for a few years after the line closed, but sadly stopped in 2009 due to lack of funds. Regrettably I never got to ride this train. The line goes through small towns like Kadina and Wallaroo, with a branch line to Moonta. YPR tourist train only ran on part of the line, from Wallaroo to Bute.

As mentioned I really wanted to see this for myself, so I drove up there for the Station Markets event in October 2013.

On the drive up to Moonta from Adelaide, I came across the remains of the railway station in the small town of Kadina.

First is the view of the original Kadina Railway Station entrance:

Next is the platform side of the old Kadina railway station:

The old water tank for Kadina Railway Station and original railway lines still in situ, trees are growing on the line now:

This is the former Gangers shed, and would have been used while the railway service was operational:

When I arrived into Moonta Railway Station, there was a large crowd of people there for the Station Markets. The weather was perfect, and the Moonta Railway Station (now a tourist information office) looked fantastic:

Looking around a bit, you can see the original goods shed, which is certainly not renovated:

Next you can see the new railway line built for the train that runs from here to the Moonta Mines for tourists. In a strange decision the new rail line has been laid OVER the existing unused railway lines, presumably to save money.

The train has almost returned from a previous trip, you see it below approaching the station - the carriages have no windows, but are covered which is a good thing as it was quite warm:

The train stopped at the old Moonta Railway Station, looking fantastic on a beautiful day:

It is a fairly basic loco:

Once we paid our money and hopped on board the train, we travelled through the Moonta Mines, learning from the driver about the history of mining Copper in Moonta, the boom years and the declining years before it was halted.

Here is the train tunnel in the Moonta mines area:

Along the way there was an intermediate station called Wheal Munta Station (a play on words I think), where we stopped briefly to pickup more passengers and hook on some extra carriages as the demand for the train on that day was higher than the organisers expected I think!

The train ride was informative and very interesting - it is recommended! After the ride was over we took a short drive to Moonta Bay to see why so many people come here for holidays. It was very beautiful at Moonta Bay:

Having soaked up a lot of sun and ice creams, I headed off to the final stop, Wallaroo, the end point of the former railway line.

Wallaroo was disappointing compared to the beauty of Moonta, but nonetheless the old Railway Station and Goods Shed and a heavily graffiti covered storage wagon was still there:

Wallaroo Station, platform side:

View of the remaining in-situ railway line at Wallaroo Station:

Old storage wagon remains in situ at Wallaroo Station - the graffiti artists have already got to work on it:

It was a very interesting trip to see the Yorke Peninsula, relive some of the old Railway history of the area (Wallaroo, Kadina, Moonta) and to travel on a tourist train in Moonta! If you have the chance to visit the area, make sure you visit Moonta Bay!

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