Gawler railway line

The Gawler railway line (also known as the Gawler Central railway line) is a suburban commuter railway line in the city of Adelaide, South Australia. It is the only rail route in Adelaide to have no interchange with another line at any station except Adelaide.

Gawler railway line
LocaleAdelaide, South Australia
Gawler Central
TypeCommuter rail
Operator(s)Adelaide Metro
Rolling stock3000/3100 class
Daily ridership21,000[1]
  • 1857 (to Gawler)
  • 1911 (to Gawler Central)
  • June–September 2010 (to Mawson)
  • September 2011–March 2012 (to Gawler Central)
ElectrifiedCurrently under construction
Line length42.2 km (26.2 mi)
Number of tracks
  • 2 (to Gawler)
  • 1 (to Gawler Central)
Track gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Route map

Edith Street
Murray Street
42.2 km
Gawler Central
Bridge Street
Howard Street
Victoria Terrace
41.4 km
Gawler Oval
Overway Bridge Road
39.8 km
Gawler Aiga bus trans.svg
Gawler Depot
39.3 km
Gawler Racecourse
Race days only
Barnet Road
Para Road
38.3 km
Sturt Highway
Tambelin (original; closed 1986)
Clark Road
37.4 km
34.1 km
Dalkeith Road
Munno Para (original; closed 2012)
32.2 km
Munno Para Aiga bus trans.svg
Curtis Road
Anderson Walk
30.2 km
Smithfield Aiga bus trans.svg
Munitions Store
28.2 km
Womma Road
27.3 km
Winterslow Road
25.8 km
Elizabeth Aiga bus trans.svg
24.0 km
Elizabeth South
GMH Elizabeth (closed 1992)
Tugger Way (private road)
21.6 km
Nurlutta (to Gawler)
Commercial Road
21.5 km
Nurlutta (to Adelaide)
Penfield line (closed 1991)
Salisbury Highway
20.2 km
Salisbury Aiga bus trans.svg
Park Terrace
18.6 km
Kings Road
Australian Alphanumeric State Route A18.svg
17.7 km
16.6 km
Parafield Gardens
15.5 km
Elder Smith Road
14.3 km
Mawson Lakes Aiga bus trans.svg
Mawson Lakes Freight Loop
Port Wakefield Road
One Rail Australia Cry Creek North Yard
Dry Creek Depot and Control Centre
formerly Northfield line junction
10.6 km
Dry Creek
Cormack Road
Grand Junction Road
6.0 km
Tube Mills
Private freight terminal (disused)
7.7 km
Pacific National Freight Terminal
Islington Works (closed 2000)
Regency Road
6.0 km
Pym Street
4.9 km
Dudley Park
Belford Avenue
3.6 km
Ovingham Aiga bus trans.svg
Torrens Road
Hawker Street
City Ring Route, Adelaide
2.5 km
North Adelaide
City West
Montefiore Road
0 km
Adelaide BSicon TRAM.svg Aiga bus trans.svg


Gawler Central station, one of two terminus stations in the town of Gawler
Elizabeth Interchange before its upgrade in 2011/12
Salisbury Interchange in 2006, one of the 3 busiest stations on the entire network
Mawson Interchange station, opened in early 2006
Rail Bridge over the Little Para River in Salisbury, built prior to 1889 and still in use[2]

The line was opened in 1857 from Adelaide to Gawler,[3][4] and extended to Kapunda in 1860. Branches were later built from Gawler to termini in Angaston, Truro, Morgan, Robertstown, Peterborough, Spalding and Gladstone. Between Adelaide and Salisbury, the two broad gauge lines are paralleled by one standard gauge line on the Adelaide to Port Augusta line. A little north of Salisbury the standard gauge line heads north-west, and from Salisbury to Gawler there are two broad gauge tracks, with a single broad gauge track north of Gawler.

South of Gawler, there were branches to the Holden factory at Elizabeth South, the Penfield railway line which serviced the former munitions factory and other Defence facilities in the area now called Edinburgh, and the Port Pirie line which also branched from the Gawler line at Salisbury railway station until it was converted to standard gauge with a new track laid alongside the broad gauge tracks. Prior to 1987, at Dry Creek, the Dry Creek-Port Adelaide railway line branched west, and the Northfield railway line used to branch east. In the mid 2000s, a new station was built at Mawson Lakes.

Renewal and electrificationEdit

In 2008, the State Government announced a plan to rebuild the Gawler line in preparation for the line to be electrified with the Federal Government also to provide funding.[5] This work saw the track removed, and the track bed, sleepers and track renewed. Dual gauge sleepers were laid to allow for the line to be converted to standard gauge at a future date. The line was closed between North Adelaide and Mawson Interchange for four months from June 2010 for this work to be performed, and between Mawson Interchange and Gawler Central station for seven months from September 2011.[6][7][8] Following the withdrawal of Federal Government funding, the electrification was postponed in October 2013.[9]

On 6 February 2011, a new Adelaide Metro railcar depot opened to the east of Dry Creek station to replace the facility behind the new Royal Adelaide Hospital site and Adelaide station.[10] The depot is the major maintenance and re-fuelling facility for the diesel train fleet, with capacity to store 70 railcars with over 11 kilometres of track. The depot has been designed to allow future conversion to support electric rolling stock.

To facilitate work on the Torrens Rail Junction in 2017, the Gawler line between Adelaide and Mawson Lakes was closed from 1-15 October and 18 November to 5 December.[11]

Following a decade of on-again, off-again talks,[12] electrification of the Gawler line was announced in 2018. The announcement only promised Stage 1 electrification as far as Salisbury with works anticipated to commence in 2018,[13] but a $220 million grant from the Federal Government also allowed for Stage 2 electrification for the remainder of the line to proceed.[14] Works commenced in November 2019 with completion anticipated in 2021.[15] Contrary to the Seaford line electrification which saw the line closed completely for 11 months, the Gawler line works were spread across smaller closures typically at nights and on weekends.


The line runs from Adelaide station north via Prospect, Mawson Lakes, Salisbury, Elizabeth and Smithfield to the town Gawler on the outer northern metropolitan fringe. The line is 42.2 kilometres (26.2 mi) in length and is currently the longest of the Adelaide suburban railway lines. Like the rest of the Adelaide suburban passenger rail network, the line is 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) broad gauge for its entire length. The Australian Rail Track Corporation's standard gauge Adelaide to Port Augusta line runs parallel to the route from the Adelaide Gaol triangle to Salisbury, then turns north west towards Virginia.

Line guideEdit

Gawler Line
Name Distance from


Year opened Serving suburbs Connections
Adelaide 0.0 km 1856 Adelaide Train transfers to Belair, Outer Harbor,
Grange, Seaford & Tonsley lines
Tram transfers
Bus transfers
North Adelaide 2.5 km 1857 North Adelaide
Ovingham 3.6 km 1880s Ovingham, Renown Park Bus transfers
Dudley Park 4.9 km 1915 Dudley Park, Prospect
Islington 6.0 km ?? Dudley Park, Prospect
Kilburn 7.7 km 1915 Kilburn
Dry Creek 10.6 km 1856 Dry Creek
Mawson Lakes 14.3 km 2006 Mawson Lakes Bus transfers
Greenfields 18.1 km 1969 Parafield Gardens
Parafield Gardens 16.6 km 1968 Parafield Gardens
Parafield 17.7 km 1928 Parafield Parafield Gardens
Chidda 18.6 km ?? Salisbury Downs, Salisbury South
Salisbury 20.2 km 1857 Salisbury Bus transfers
Nurlutta 21.5 km 1950 Elizabeth South, Salisbury
Elizabeth South 24.0 km 1955 Elizabeh South
Elizabeth 25.8 km 1960 Elizabeth Bus transfers
Womma 27.3 km 1950 Edinburgh North, Elizabeth North
Broadmeadows 28.2 km 1950s Davoren Park, Elizabeth North
Smithfield 30.2 km 1857 Smithfield Bus transfers
Munno Para 32.2 km 1978 Munno Para Bus transfers
Kudla 34.1 km 1959 Kudla
Tambelin 37.4 km 1947 Evanston Gardens
Evanston 38.3 km ?? Evanston
Gawler Racecourse 39.3 km 1913 Evanston
Gawler 39.8 km 1857 Gawler South, Gawler West Bus transfers
Gawler Oval 41.4 km ?? Gawler
Gawler Central 42.2 km 1911 Gawler



All suburban rail passenger services are operated by Adelaide Metro. On 28 April 2008, new timetables were introduced on the Gawler line in an effort to boost efficiency. Shorter secondary services that terminated at Dry Creek and Salisbury were withdrawn, new limited express services were introduced, and a new Hi-Frequency station policy adopted.[16] Nearly all services either start or terminate their journey at Gawler or Gawler Central stations, apart from a morning peak express service that commences its journey at Salisbury.[16]

Under this policy, the Hi-Frequency stations (Islington, Mawson Interchange, Parafield, Salisbury, Elizabeth, Smithfield, Tambelin and Gawler) have services every 15 minutes, while all other stations have a 30-minute service. This is in addition to several peak hour express services that stop only at selected Hi-Frequency stations.[16]

Weekend services operate with 30 minute frequency, and every second train runs express between Adelaide and Dry Creek using 3000 class railcars. Evening/Night services are hourly and stop at all stations with the exception of North Adelaide.[16] Until April 2008, most services along the line were operated by 3000 class railcars. However, with the introduction of the new timetable, 2000 class railcars became more frequent, especially during peak hour. The 2000 class railcars were retired in August 2015.[17]


Freight is still a major factor along this transport corridor, with the Australian Rail Track Corporation's standard gauge Adelaide to Port Augusta line running parallel to the broad gauge track between Adelaide and Salisbury. Since 1984, this line has been standard gauge and had no interface with the suburban lines. Bowmans Rail, One Rail Australia, Pacific National, SCT Logistics, and Journey Beyond operate services via the line, with the latter operating The Ghan and Indian Pacific passenger trains along this section. Until 2007, grain trains operated from Roseworthy to Port Adelaide. The last freight service on the Gawler line was the Penrice Stone Train which operated to Penrice until it ceased operating in June 2014.[18]


  1. ^ "South Australia launches Gawler line electrification project". International Railway Journal. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  2. ^ Railway bridge over the Little Para River - Photograph State Library of South Australia Retrieved 16 December 2019
  3. ^ Bassett Town & the Railway Town of Gawler
  4. ^ "Place ID 6072". Australian Heritage Database. Department of the Environment.
  5. ^ 2008/09 State Budget Archived 27 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine South Australian Department of Treasury & Finance June 2008
  6. ^ Gawler Line Reconstruction Archived 30 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine Coleman Rail
  7. ^ Gawler Line timetable Adelaide Metro
  8. ^ Rail Revitalisation Gawler Line Department for Transport, Energy & Infrastructure
  9. ^ Federal Government pulls plug on $76m Gawler Line electrification Adelaide Advertiser 24 October 2013
  10. ^ Railcar Depot Relocation Archived 13 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure
  11. ^ Miles Kemp (13 September 2017). "Major disruption to Outer Harbor and Gawler train lines as work starts on Park Tce underpass". The Advertiser.
  12. ^ "Liberal MP's 'nana's nightie' remark on Gawler rail electrification steals the spotlight". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 January 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  13. ^ Probert, Oliver (22 January 2018). "$615m Gawler electrification deal signed". Rail Express. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  14. ^ Langenberg, Adam (13 July 2018). "$615m Gawler electrification deal signed". The Advertiser. Adelaide. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Construction begins on SA rail line electrification". Infrastructure Magazine. 4 November 2019. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  16. ^ a b c d Gawler timetable Archived 10 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine Adelaide Metro, 4 February 2013
  17. ^ "Limited life for 2000 class Jumbo railcars" Railway Digest January 2015 page 20
  18. ^ Penrice soda ash plant at Osborne closing ABC News 25 June 2014

External linksEdit