Penfield railway line

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Penfield Railway Line.gif

Penfield railway line is a defunct railway in northern Adelaide which was used mainly for industrial purposes in the World War II years. It started just north of the Salisbury station on the Gawler line. The line then went north west and then turned north through Defence land in what is now Edinburgh. It serviced four stations; Hilra, Penfield 1, Penfield 2, and Penfield 3. It was double track for the whole length. The line had a balloon loop for trains to go the other way. The line was closed and dismantled in 1991.


The line opened in 1941 to service various World War II armaments factories at what was then known as Penfield. As it was built for industrial purposes, sidings branched off both the Up and Down tracks at many locations. The largest siding went into what is now RAAF Base Edinburgh. During the war years this branch line was used by many passenger trains carrying workers to the munitions factories in the area as well as freight trains carrying raw materials in and armaments out. Passenger trains were necessary because Salisbury was still a semi-rural community at the time and most of the workforce had to be brought in from other districts.

A more limited peak hour passenger service to Penfield continued after the war, serving staff at the government Weapons Research Establishment, later to become the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).

The balloon loop was closed on 8 June 1983 following the derailment of a train composed of Redhen railcars; #319, #870, #318, #330, #869 & #331 while traversing it. Services continued to Penfield 3 on the Down track and returned on the Up track using a crossover located just south of Penfield 3. The Up track beyond Hilra was closed on 14 April 1984 along with most of the sidings. The remaining sidings were closed in 1986, and single track went for the whole length of the branch by the end of the 1980s.

The remaining peak-hour trains were withdrawn from the Penfield branch in January 1991, due to low patronage and the need to fund an upgrade of the worn-out track. The last train to run was on 4 January with a Redhen set consisting of cars 309-311-416-415. The track was dismantled in the same year but about 100-200m of track from Salisbury station was kept so that trains from Adelaide terminating at Salisbury can change direction back to Adelaide on it. The short spur remained, but the next section through Hilra station has been replaced by the road through an industrial estate.

Penfield Line
20.2km Salisbury
Penfield Junction to Gawler line
21.7km Hilra
23.2km Penfield 1
24.2km Penfield 2
25.8km Penfield 3
Turning loop