North Terrace – Glenelg railway line

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North Terrace to Glenelg railway line
Termini Adelaide railway station
Opened 24 May 1880 (1880-05-24)[1]
Closed December 1929 (1929-12)
  • Holdfast Bay Railway Company (1880–1882)
  • Glenelg Railway Company Limited (1882–1924)
  • South Australian Railways (1924–1929)
Line length 6.75 mi (10.86 km)[1]
Number of tracks single track
Track gauge 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)
Route map
Gawler, Grange and Outer Harbor lines
Belair and Seaford lines
Kurralta Park
Plympton Coursing Ground
Morphettville Junction
Novar Gardens
Golf Links
St Leonards

The North Terrace to Glenelg railway line was a railway in western Adelaide.

The line started in the city from the Adelaide railway station, and then headed west. From approximately where Henley Beach Road currently is, the railway then followed an almost direct route to the seaside suburb of Glenelg.

Today, much of the corridor in which the line ran remains as a rail trail for cyclists, which is known as the West Side cycleway.[2] Part of the north section of the corridor has been built over as James Congdon Drive. A railway platform remains on the site of Plympton station near Marion Road in the suburb of Plympton.[3] The line was closed in 1929, after which remnants remained for some time including rails across Marion Road in the 1950s.[4]


The line was constructed to compete with the existing Glenelg railway line, (now the Glenelg Tramline), which ran from Victoria Square. Customer satisfaction on the existing line was becoming low. In response a group which had been attempting to improve conditions on the existing service decided to establish a company and construct a new railway in competition with the existing one.

The Holdfast Bay Railway Company was established and the new line was opened on 24 May 1880. The line proved to be popular due to the convenience of using the existing Adelaide railway station, and trips taking only 20 minutes to Glenelg, which was 5 minutes shorter than the existing line. There were two trains that ran in the morning from Glenelg to Adelaide, and two from Adelaide to Glenelg in the afternoon.[5]

Less than a year after the line opened, it was realised there was not enough business to support both companies[6]. On 11 May 1882, the two merged to form the Glenelg Railway Company Limited. Both lines continued to run and business assets such as maintenance facilities were shared to reduce costs.

In 1924, William A. Webb, the railways commissioner, proposed that the two Glenelg railways be given to the Municipal Tramways Trust (MTT) and be converted from steam railways into electric tramways. The government, following Mr Webb's recommendation, acquired both Glenelg railways and electrification of the South Terrace line, which now known as the Glenelg Tramline, began in 1929, taking nine months to finish. On the day when the South Terrace line conversion was completed in December 1929, South Australian Railways stopped running trains from North Terrace. After the closure, the MTT began the operation of bus services from the city to Plympton.

The line was originally intended to become electrified with the Glenelg line, and small scale works on its conversion had begun, including drilling holes for power lines. However, work was halted and the future became uncertain for years. Parts of the remaining corridor were sold to private holders in 1938, and the rest to the South Australian Government in 1940. The MATS Plan in the 1960s proposed an expressway be constructed in the corridor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "THE HOLDFAST BAY RAILWAY.". The South Australian Advertiser. South Australia. 24 May 1880. p. 6. Retrieved 7 March 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  2. ^ Transport SA: Bike Map
  3. ^ Railpage Forms South Australia: Abandoned Plympton Railway Station
  4. ^ State Library SA: Plympton Railway Station Rails Remnants Photo
  5. ^ West Torrens Library Service, History, NESFIELD', 353 Marion Road, North Plympton
  6. ^ "HOLDFAST BAY RAILWAY COMPANY.". South Australian Weekly Chronicle. XXIII, (1,189). South Australia. 4 June 1881. p. 12. Retrieved 28 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia. [...] the terms of the amalgamation of the company with "The Adelaide, Glenelg, and Suburban Railway Company" had been definitely settled and agreed to by the shareholders of both companies, and at present the two companies were being worked as one [...] 


J.C. Radcliff. C.J.M. Steele, Adelaide Road Passenger Transport 1836 - 1958 , Libraries Board of South Australia, Adelaide, 1974