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SteamRanger Heritage Railway facts for kids

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621 The Duke of Edinburgh at Victor Harbor
in June 2006
Established 1986
Location Mount Barker South Australia
Type Heritage Railway

The SteamRanger Heritage Railway is a historic train society in South Australia running trains on the Victor Harbor railway line. It is the only group regularly operating broad gauge steam locomotives in South Australia. It is run by volunteers of the South Australian Division of the Australian Railway Historical Society.


Prior to 1995 when the Adelaide to Melbourne line was converted to standard gauge, SteamRanger was based at Dry Creek, an industrial suburb in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, and home to the main road-rail freight depots in Adelaide. The Southern Encounter operated from Adelaide instead of Mount Barker, including six tunnels through the Mount Lofty Ranges. Special services were also operated to other places on the South Australian broad gauge network including Burra (near the Clare Valley), Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley and shorter services on the metropolitan network.


Mtb steamranger 1
Mount Barker station in August 2007

The Cockle Train operates year-round between Goolwa and Victor Harbor. It operates with a steam locomotive in school holidays, and historic diesel locomotives or railcars other weekends.

The Southern Encounter runs from Mount Barker to Victor Harbor during winter, utilising most of the remaining broad gauge branch from the main Adelaide to Melbourne line.

Some shorter services along the line are:

  • The Bugle Ranger - from Mount Barker to Bugle Ranges using a Redhen railcar set. Services operate one Sunday each month from late April to October
  • The Highlander - from Mount Barker to Strathalbyn using steam locomotives when possible. Operates on the second Sunday of each month from June until the end of November (excluding October).
  • StrathLink - from Goolwa to Strathalbyn using a restored heritage Brill railcar. Operates during School Holiday periods.
  • The Finniss Flyer - from Goolwa to Finniss using a restored Brill railcar or a pair of Redhen railcars.


South Australian Railways 520 class loco at the SteamRanger Museum
958 & 520 at SteamRanger's Mount Barker workshop in May 2006

Steam locomotives:

  • Rx 207 Dean Harvey - built in 1913 - Operational
  • Rx 224 - built in 1915 - Operational
  • F 251 - built in 1922 - Stored requiring overhaul
  • 520 Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey - Under restoration awaiting funds
  • 621 The Duke of Edinburgh - Operational

Diesel Locomotives:

  • SAR diesel shunter 350 - Limited shunting service only
  • SAR diesel shunter 507 - Operational
  • SAR mainline diesel 845 - Under restoration
  • SAR mainline diesel 958 - Operational
  • SAR mainline diesel 963 - Stored


  • Redhen railcars 334, 412, 428, 824 (trailer car) - Operational
  • Redhen railcars 424 - Under Restoration
  • Redhen railcars 364, 405, 875 (trailer car) - Stored awaiting restoration
  • Brill railcar 43 - Under restoration
  • Brill railcar 60 - Operational (Rebuilt from Brill trailer 207)
  • 2000 class railcars 2010, 2109 - Stored

Owned by SteamRanger but not on premises:

  • SAR diesel shunter 527 - Donated by Australian Railroad Group in 2010, stored in Forrestfield, Western Australia
  • SAR mainline diesel 844 - Donated by One Rail Australia awaiting transport from Dry Creek
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