Eyre Peninsula Railway(Redirected from Eyre Peninsular Railway)
|Eyre Peninsula Railway|
A train of gypsum empties at Thevenard
|Stations||refer EPR stations|
|Operator(s)||Genesee & Wyoming Australia|
|Line length||600 km (370 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
The network consists of about 600 kilometres (370 mi) of route and carries mainly wheat and gypsum to ports at Port Lincoln and Thevenard. Genesee & Wyoming Australia operate all traffic on the Eyre Peninsula rail network. The railway is isolated from the main system, and there has never been any justification for a connection to the main system. It is the only remaining 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) track in South Australia.
- Port Lincoln to Wudinna (Seasonal grain trains)
- Cummins to Kimba (Seasonal grain trains)
- Thevenard to Kevin (Daily gypsum trains)
- Wudinna to Penong Junction (Limited use only)
- Kevin to Penong (Closed)
- Kimba to Buckleboo (Non-Operational)
- Yeelanna to Kapinne (Non-Operational)
- Coffin Bay to Proper Bay (Closed and dismantled)
- Wandana to Penong (closed and dismantled), replaced by Penong Junction to Kevin.
The railways were built by the government-owned South Australian Railways which was the exclusive operator until 1978. Its successor organisation was the Australian National Railways Commission. The railway infrastructure and services was sold to Genesee & Wyoming Australia (then known as Australian Southern Railroad) in 1997.
As with many other early narrow-gauge railways in South Australia, the Eyre Peninsula lines started out as isolated lines connecting small ports to the inland, opening up the country for settlement and economic life including export of grain and other produce in an environment with few roads and only horse-drawn road vehicles.
The first of these on Eyre Peninsula was authorised in 1905 from Port Lincoln to Yeelanna. It was authorised for extension to Minnipa in 1909, with a branch from Yeelanna to Mount Hope authorised in 1912, and opened for traffic in 1914. A proposal to extend it in 1923 north to Talia was not pursued as it would not provide any economic benefit. The line was truncated to Kapinnie in 1966 and the last train on it was in October 2002.
In 1912, the Government authorised the construction of a railway from Decres Bay to Minnipa. In 1913, the port terminus was revised to be Cape Thevenard instead of Decres Bay. The original line west to Penong from Wandana on that line was authorised by parliament in 1917, with construction eventually completed in 1924. By then, there was already a proposal to add a spur line to a station in the Hundred of Kevin, 6.5 miles (10.5 km) south of the Kowulka siding, to facilitate the export of gypsum from mines at Lake MacDonnell. That proposal finally was acted on in 1948 when the Government authorised building the line, under an agreement with Waratah Gypsum Proprietary Limited.
In 1966, a new line was built on a more direct route from Penong Junction near Ceduna to Kevin. This new line plus the spur from Kowulka to Kevin then became the main line to Penong, and the original line was closed from Wandana to Kowulka.
The last grain train from Penong operated on 3 March 1997 and the line from Kevin to Penong is now closed. Gypsum continues to be transported from the Lake MacDonnell mine to Thevenard.
With the prospective development of iron ore traffic, a new port at Sheep Hill north of Tumby Bay has been mooted. This would require a 27-kilometre branchline from Ungarra and upgrading of the remaining track.
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- Knife, Peter (2006). Peninsula Pioneer: A history of the railways of Eyre Peninsula and their role in the early settlement and development of the region. Wahroonga, N.S.W.: Peter Knife. ISBN 0975783505.
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