Port Dock railway station

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Port Dock
Railways in Adelaide - List of railway stations
Train services
Street St Vincent Street and Lipson Street
Suburb Port Adelaide
Distance from Adelaide 12.0 km
Access by Station open
Hi-Frequency station Yes
Peak frequency 10 Minutes
Weekday frequency 30 Minutes
Weekend frequency 10 Minutes
Night frequency 30 Minutes
Passenger information display Yes
Passenger information speaker Yes
Number of platforms Open
Platform layout 2 side platforms
Toilets Yes
Car parking Yes
Bike storage Yes
Lounge Yes
Kiosk Yes
Wheelchair access Handicapped/disabled access Yes
Other facilities Hairdresser, Donut Shop, Railway Museum
Opened 1856
Rebuilt 1963
Closed 1981
Train transfer Yes
Bus transfer Yes
Adjacent stations
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Port Dock railway station was located in the commercial centre of Port Adelaide, South Australia at the corner of St Vincent Street and Lipson Street. This station was the original terminus of the railway between Adelaide and Port Adelaide, which opened in 1856.

Since closure in 1981, the site of the passenger station has been redeveloped as the Port Adelaide Police Station and Magistrates' Court. The former goods yard, adjacent to Lipson Street, is now occupied by the National Railway Museum.


The station was opened with the line from Adelaide in April 1856 and for the first sixty years until 1916, it was the only railway station in town and known simply as Port Adelaide. The original station was quite an impressive structure, with a large curved roof over the platforms. Facing St Vincent Street was a two-storey stone building, which also included a tower. The two side platforms were about 120–150 metres in length each, and the platform architecture was the same as the platforms at the Bowden and Alberton stations.

In February 1868 a direct line was built from Dry Creek to Port Adelaide to allow goods and minerals from the state’s mid-north and the Murray River to reach the Port directly, without needing to travel via Adelaide.

In 1878 a railway was opened from Port Adelaide to Semaphore. This followed a different route to today’s line as far as Glanville. The Semaphore line emerged from the western side of Port Adelaide station, travelled down the middle of St Vincent Street and crossed the Port River via the Jervois Bridge before curving to join the current alignment of the Outer Harbor line into Glanville station. Steam trains travelled through Port Adelaide’s commercial centre at walking speed, with the locomotive crew ringing a bell. Even at that time this arrangement was unsatisfactory for both local citizens and the railway operators, and can hardly be imagined today when St Vincent Street is a semi-permanent traffic jam of heavy trucks, cars and commercial vehicles.

By the end of the 19th Century the goods yard had become very busy with materials being imported and exported from South Australia via Port Adelaide and there was a large engine shed and turntable to service the various steam locomotives working in the area.

A number of railway lines extended from the station yard via city streets to the wharves and various private sidings. Occasional passenger boat trains also travelled directly to the wharves, transferring passengers to and from ocean-going ships which berthed in the inner harbour at the time.

Congestion around Port Adelaide yard resulted in the opening of the Rosewater Loop line in November 1915 and construction of the Commercial Road viaduct which opened in 1916. The viaduct line continued over a new bridge across the Port River and joined the existing line to Semaphore and Outer Harbor at Glanville. With the new viaduct, a high level station was opened, called Port Adelaide Commercial Road. The original Port Adelaide station was renamed Port Dock to differentiate the two.

After 1916 the frequent trains to/from Adelaide mostly continued through to Semaphore or Outer Harbor via the new line and Commercial Road became the Port’s main railway station. Port Dock continued to be served by irregular trains from Adelaide and peak hour workings to Dry Creek via the Rosewater Loop.

By the second half of the 20th century, the various lines leading through the streets to the wharves were cut back. Wharf access was firstly restricted to the Canal branch, then disconnected completely. The boat train traffic was all transferred to Outer Harbor and in due course was also eliminated.

Port Dock Station became something of a backwater. The original buildings and remains of the overall roof were removed in 1963 and replaced with new buildings in the utilitarian style of that era. The station platforms were rebuilt to a length of about 70–80 metres to accommodate a maximum of three railcars, although it was very rare for a 3-car set to terminate at Port Dock, and it was unknown if a 2000–2100 class railcar set ever terminated at the station.

Port Dock station was finally closed on 13 September 1981, with the last train being a 3-car Redhen railcar set. The station platforms were removed in 1987 during the building of the National Railway Museum just south.

Happily, from a rail enthusiast’s point of view, the redundant sidings and goods sheds were re-developed as a Bicentennial Project to house the former Mile End Railway Museum. The National Railway Museum opened on its site in Lipson Street on 10 December 1988, and is operating successfully there today.


  • Rails Through Swamp and Sand – A History of the Port Adelaide Railway. M. Thompson pub. Port Dock Station Railway Museum (1988) ISBN 0-9595073-6-1

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Coordinates: 34°50′44″S 138°30′31″E / 34.84558°S 138.50854°E / -34.84558; 138.50854