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Thread: The Willunga Branch

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    Default The Willunga Branch

    Been walking the remains of the old railway from Seaford To McLaren vale. very interesting route, lots of cuttings, quite severe grades. its the sort of route worth modelling, has anyone got any reference maps of the old line ?
    It deviates a bit in Seaford and into Mclaren Vale, there's also a dvd of footage from the 60s that I'd like to get, released in 2006.
    Meanwhile there's this to look at online , great shots of a 700 class
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPy44r3c_eQ
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

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    found this article regarding the opening of the line .1915 , posted it here as its hard to read on the page as very narrow columns.
    WILLUNGA RAILWAY
    THE FIRST PASSENGER TRAIN.

    A TEST TRIP.

    LINE TO BE OPENED TO-MORROW.

    Many of the legislators who by their votes sanctioned the building of the rail-way to Willunga were mere youths when the agitation in favor of the line began;indeed, some of them were not born when
    the claims of the district in the matter were first put forward. Over forty years ago the more enterprising residents of Willunga talked of the advisableness of opening up the district by means of the iron
    horse, and for the last 35 years the construction of a line with Willunga as the terminus has been a subject of discussion both in and out of Parliament. The men of to-day who were born and bred in the
    locality have from their school days looked forward hopefully to the time when they would be able to travel to Adelaide behind an engine in a comfortable railway car, instead of on the top of a coach drawn by horses, and this week the height of their ambition will be attainable. The railway so long looked for is now an accomplished fact, and from Thursday next trains will run regularly between Adelaide and Willunga. Later on—and probably it will not be long before an extension is sanctioned it will be possible to proceed still farther than Willunga, but for the present that town forms the terminus of the railway.

    An Official Trip.

    A test trip is invariably made by an official party over a new railway before it is opened for traffic, and in accordance with the desirable practice a special passenger train, consisting of an engine, tender,five bogie coaches, bogie brake-van,and the departmental observation car,weighing in all about 180 tons, left the Adelaide station at 12.30 p.m. on Monday with a party of officials. The object of the trip was to enable the various officers to make observations and take steps to have any defects remedied before the line is thrown open on Thursday. The train was a heavy one, and the test was a practical one, but to-day the only bridge on the railway—that over the Onkaparinga at Noarlunga—will be subjected to another severe trial.

    The line just past the big cutting, descending to McLaren Vale, this section was more or less completely treeless when the line was built in 1915, Pedlar creek is on the right and the line crosses the creek about another mile down the hill.
    The Stations.

    There are 17 stopping-places on the line—Keswick, Goodwood, Clarence Park, Edwardstown, Ascot Park, Oaklands, Middle Brighton, Brighton, Seacliff, Marino, Marino Rocks, Hallett's Cove, Reynella, Morphett Vale, Noarlunga, McLaren Vale, and Willunga, and the train arrived at Willunga fairly punctually, 2 hours and 14 minutes after leaving Adelaide. The return journey occupied only an hour and 35

    minutes, but there was a great difference in the duty imposed on the engine. The "down" journey is virtually all up hill from Brighton to Willunga, and the ruling grade is 1 in 45, so that in the matter of hill-climbing the line compares evenly with the line to Mount Lofty. The journey cityward therefore is nearly all on the down grade. When the train reached Adelaide the Railways Commissioner said he considered the line was in fair order for a new railway. There were little details to be attended to, but, generally speaking, he was satisfied with the track, and he hoped some day to see the railway carried further.

    An Extension.

    "I am one of those who look forward," he said, "to the time when Kangaroo Island will be the great sanatorium of South Australia, and people will flock to it in thousands for holiday and health purposes. I would like to see the railway carried on to Second Valley, and a fast line of steamers plying between that point and Hog Bay, or Kingscote, so that people could be taken over to the island without having to spend more than an hour or an hour and a half at the most on the sea. I am satisfied that if such speedy means of communication were provided Kangaroo Island would become one of the most popular resorts in Australia. Down south tourists can get the rugged beauty of the rough coast, with the mountainous seas sweeping in, and on the north coast the placid waters of American River, Nepean Bay, the Bay of Shoals, Emu Bay, and the many other beautiful places there forming an attraction.
    These parts of the State ought to be more easily accessible. So far as an extension of the line to Normanville and Yankalillais concerned we have already made an examination of the proposed route, and approved it, but nothing has been done with respect to the section between that point and Second Valley. From Second Valley to Hog Bay is only 22 miles by water, and the Valley would be 67¼ miles from Adelaide by rail. Kingscote is 34 miles from the Valley, but it is 75 miles from the Outer Harbor, where steamers begin to feel the movement of the ocean. The day will come, I hope, when my visions will be realised.''

    Through Bare Country.

    The extraordinary character of the season is illustrated on either side of the line as far as the eye can reach. The land is parched and dry, grass is conspicuous by its absence, the vines and fruit trees in
    the gardening districts nearer Willunga are not healthy looking, and the roads are mere byways of dust, which vehicles,horses, and motor cars raise for the breezes to scatter. Everything is covered with
    dust.

    When the proposal for building the railway was being considered the Brighton Cement Company wanted the line to pass near the works so that the output of the establishment could be put into trucks
    with one handling, or that a siding should be run into the property, but the cost of both schemes was prohibitive. The company has to cart its product about a quarter of a mile by motor trains, but probably some more speedy and effective method will be devised later on.


    Pedlar Creek Bridge, today its surrounded by trees and shrubs .
    Over the Hills.

    At Brighton the up-hill work begins in earnest, and Brighton is only 9¾ miles from Adelaide. The distance to Willunga is 34¼ miles. After Brighton come Seacliff (10½ miles), Marino (11½), MarinoRocks (11¾), and Hallett's Cove (13¼).

    These are merely suburbs in the embryo.The through trains will stop there, but whether stops will be justified for some time remains to be seen. At present the prospects are not in favor of big traffic from either of the places. From Hallett's Cove to Reynella is a run of 4¼ miles, and at the latter township the country becomes more interesting, as the passengers will get their first glimpse of the wine-producing fields of the district. Two miles farther on the rich soil of the hillsides and flats may be seen, and on the inland side the timber on the adjacent hills is an acceptable change from the bare hills previously passed all the way from Brighton. The run from Reynella to Morphett Vale is only 2½ miles. Still nearer Noarlunga the rich alluvial country is thirsting for moisture, and before one appreciates the geography of the country the train crosses the Onkaparinga over a steel girder bridge about half a mile nearer the sea than the Noarlunga. Hotel. When making their examination of the district the engineers endeavored to find a route near the town, but the gradient made it impossible to get closer than the pre sent situation of the station, which has still to be built. The site of the stopping-place is exactly 24¼ miles from Adelaide. McLaren Vale (30¼ miles) is the next station, and this is by far the most interesting part of the country traversed.

    The Vale is distinguished from all the other stations by having the railway running right through the middle of the town. Compared with the whole of the rest of the country McLaren Vale is an oasis in the desert. On the rich flats extending from the creek at the foot of the hills there is a luxuriant growth of sorghum and other fodder plants, the vegetable and fruit gardens look beautifully green and fresh, and the appearance o£ the immediate district makes it hard to believe the residents have experienced the full extent of the drought. "This is going to be a very busy station. I believe," said the Railways Commissioner.

    "The opening of the railway is bound to have an important bearing on the development of the rich flats and slopes in the hills, and I am satisfied it won't be long before the traffic is heavy." Al-
    ready, it was stated by some of the officials, there are about 300 hogsheads of wine awaiting dispatch by the first luggage train. From McLaren Vale to Willunga the distance is 4 miles, and the
    station at the terminus is only a few yards from the lower boundary of the show ground. The station offices are in course of construction, and the ballasting of the line and spreading of screenings on the platforms, pathways, and permanent way were in progress on Monday; indeed, similar work was being carried out at each of the stopping places. Top ballast is also being distributed, but that is what might be described as one of the formalities of railway construction, although an important one.
    Last edited by dangavel; May 5th, 2020 at 09:18 PM.
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    The train was the first one to arrive at Willunga, but it did not excite enthusiasm, not more than a dozen people bothering to go to the station to ascertain the object of the visit. After remaining
    at Willunga for over half an hour, during which all the officers were busily engaged, the train began the journey to town, and although nearly a quarter of an hour late in starting it reached the Adelaide Station at the scheduled hour, 4.50, having occupied about an hour and a half, including stoppages at all the stations.


    Big Cuttings.

    When Parliament sanctioned the railway the estimate given of the cost was £465,160, including rolling stock, and the work will be finished as far as was intended by that estimate for that amount. It has been an exceedingly expensive job, because there are so many earthworks of an elaborate character. For example, there are 76 cuttings, the largest of which is near Pedler's Creek, in the Reynella neighborhood, and is nearly 60 ft. deep. From it about 100,000 cubic yards of rock had to be blasted. This is the most elaborate earthwork along the line, but many of the embankments represent nearly the same quantity of material. There are 99 embankments and a large number of curves, the sharpest having a twelve chain radius and a gradient of 1 in 45. Although the ruling gradient corresponds with that of the Hills line, the highest point reached is only 437 ft. above sea level at a spot between Hallett's Cove and Reynella. From that place the line descends to Noarlunga, where the
    station is only 22 ft. above sea level, and then the up grade continues right to Willunga, which is 340 ft. higher than the ocean.

    An Engineer's View.

    In the absence of Mr. Timms, the contractor, Mr. Burt supplied some interesting information. "The railway was started in July," he said, ''and our time was not to be up till March, but a special arrangement was made to get it out of hand by the end of January. The earthworks were finished some time ago, and we are doing finishing up jobs now. Although the construction of the line has been costly, because there have been big earthworks, we cannot say it has presented great engineering difficulties. For instance, the only big bridge is that over the Onkaparinga, and that was really not a big thing. All the other watercourses are crossed by small bridges or culverts, the largest of which will take the overflow from the Happy Valley reservoir. The biggest cutting is the one near Pedler's Creek, but there are two other large ones 11 miles and 12 miles from Goodwood. Pedler's cutting involved the moving of nearly 100,000 cubic yards, and the others between 70,000 and 80,000 yards. The gradient is 1 in 45, and the sharpest curves have a radius of 12 chains and 15 chains. Twelve chains is about the limit for a first-class line, such as this one is. Mr. Timms received the whole contract in sections. The first was from Goodwood to Hallett's Cove, over comparatively flat country to Brighton, where the hill work began. This contract included plate laying and ballasting. The next section was from Hallett's Cove for a distance of five miles, including very heavy earth work, a lot of rock-blasting, and steep gradient-building. The third section was from the 15-mile point near Reynella to
    Willunga, and this included the Pedler's Creek cutting and the Onkaparinga Bridge, which cost about £8,000. For the bridge we had to build steel caissons, pump out the water and mud to a depth of 12 ft.,
    and then drive piles to the rock below. Then we filled the caissons with concrete,and thus secured a splendid foundation.

    It has, of course, been the heaviest line constructed in South Australia since the Hills railway was built. We opened up a special quarry of blue lias, and erected a crushing plant for turning out ballast and screenings, the capacity of the machinery being 400 cubic yards daily. But before we started this we purchased a lot of material from the Railways Commissioner at
    the Sleep's Hill works and elsewhere. I consider the railway is one of the best in Australia."

    Testing the Bridge.

    Although the contractor's train has carried thousands of tons of ballast over the Onkaparinga Bridge, the Railways Commissioner has decided to make another test to-day, and a train, consisting of two RX engines, with big tenders, each weighing 88 tons, will be run over the bridge several times while the officers make observations.


    Open for Traffic.

    Although the railway will be formally opened to-morrow, and a train will precede the Viceregal train for the benefit of the public who wish to visit Willunga for the occasion, and a special will also convey school children from Willunga and other stations to Brighton and back, the line will not be open for ordinary traffic until Thursday. The first business train over
    it will leave Willunga at 6.50 a.m. on Thursday, and reach Adelaide at 8.30, and the first train from the city will leave at 9 a.m., reaching Willunga at 11.8. Afternoon trains will leave Willunga at 2.35 and Adelaide at 5.30. The fares will be 5/ and 3/3 single first and second class respectively, 8/ and 5/1 return, and on ex cursion occasions 5/6 and 3/7 first and
    second class. It is intended to run weekend excursions to Reynella and intermediate stations between that place and Willunga after noon on Fridays until Saturday night, available for return on Monday and from the country stations to Adelaide on the same terms.


    The Opening.


    Two trains will run to Willunga to-morrow. The first for public patronage will leave at 10 o'clock, and the Parliamentary train will start at 11.7.
    Last edited by dangavel; May 5th, 2020 at 09:15 PM.
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    Wow! Thanks for that video link. Outstanding historical footage! Looked like it was really pulling up the grade around 7:15 - 7:30. Nothing in Trainz makes smoke like that!
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power then the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forester1 View Post
    Wow! Thanks for that video link. Outstanding historical footage! Looked like it was really pulling up the grade around 7:15 - 7:30. Nothing in Trainz makes smoke like that!

    That's the section of the grade where the color images were taken from, its crossing Pedlar Creek bridge and is climbing up to the big cutting , its changed a bit in 50 years hasn't it ? , the local library has the DVD, I'm going to borrow it and see if i can get a few screenshots of anything interesting and will post them here .
    Last edited by dangavel; May 5th, 2020 at 09:33 PM.
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    The southern vales were much less populated back then it was like the countryside out here. I grew up fascinated by the abandoned right of way. Apparently the line saw a variety of trains because with the steep grades, sharp curves and low traffic it was a good place for the SAR to test stuff out.

    A railway to nowhere that should never have been built. It seems like it was a mistake to scrap it when the area is so busy nowadays, but as a single track I don't think it would have been up to today's traffic anyway. It's nice that trains once again operate over a very small section of the original alignment. I have cycled the Willunga - Marino Rocks section many times.

    I have been waiting to amass enough data and free time to create this for Trainz. It's difficult to find photos of the area before it became so populated. I've bought a few old street directories. You can get a scan of the gradient diagram from the NRM archives. I misplaced my copy of that in 2003. That's how long I have been waiting. The Noarlunga Library used to have some information about the railway in the reference section, I guess it still has but obviously that's closed for the time being.

    I can pm you what little I have if you like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dangavel View Post
    Been walking the remains of the old railway from Seaford To McLaren vale. very interesting route, lots of cuttings, quite severe grades. its the sort of route worth modelling, has anyone got any reference maps of the old line ?
    It deviates a bit in Seaford and into Mclaren Vale, there's also a dvd of footage from the 60s that I'd like to get, released in 2006.
    Meanwhile there's this to look at online , great shots of a 700 class
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPy44r3c_eQ
    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the nice Video, and great story lines. You never disappoint..........!

    Looks like this little Steamer barely made it up the hill, but a good engineer at the helm can make up for tough grades, with proper experience, and safe operation...........

    Best of luck on your project Dan........

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    The southern vales were much less populated back then it was like the countryside out here. I grew up fascinated by the abandoned right of way. Apparently the line saw a variety of trains because with the steep grades, sharp curves and low traffic it was a good place for the SAR to test stuff out.

    A railway to nowhere that should never have been built. It seems like it was a mistake to scrap it when the area is so busy nowadays, but as a single track I don't think it would have been up to today's traffic anyway. It's nice that trains once again operate over a very small section of the original alignment. I have cycled the Willunga - Marino Rocks section many times.

    I have been waiting to amass enough data and free time to create this for Trainz. It's difficult to find photos of the area before it became so populated. I've bought a few old street directories. You can get a scan of the gradient diagram from the NRM archives. I misplaced my copy of that in 2003. That's how long I have been waiting. The Noarlunga Library used to have some information about the railway in the reference section, I guess it still has but obviously that's closed for the time being.

    I can pm you what little I have if you like.
    I'm sure it was a revenue drain , especially once road traffic got going. However, it would have made an excellent light railway with passing loops that could have fed passengers to Hallett Cove from the other suburbs if the line hadn't been built over... the projected Aldinga line is going to cost a pretty penny as getting across Pedlar creek is a expensive business and they will need to do a lot of excavation to make the line have reasonable gradients.
    I still have the Uintah Rwy to complete, probably another years work to go on that , but this would be a nice ( and very different ) project to do when I finish as i can do research locally. By all means send whatever you have and I'll definitely consider it , would probably just do the bit from Seacliffe to Willunga as I would not want to attempt to install all the buildings in the city and suburbs. The main problem is getting a good dem from that era , no doubt the state lib or ARHS might have something I could use.
    Last edited by dangavel; May 6th, 2020 at 04:00 AM.
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    Regretably there seems to be an absence of locos and rolling stock to use for SA railways, thats a big hindrance towards making this into a route, does anyone have any idea of whether an RX or 700 class engine exists for Trainz ?
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    I've been digging online to see where the route actually ran as not all of the track bed was used as a walkway. I found a series of topographical maps from 1980s that show the route of the old railway. Heres one https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-747200800/view

    will post a few of the shots here soon.
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    Nice image here of the excursion train seen in the video I posted earlier in the thread http://www.bonzle.com/c/a?a=pic&fn=86hmjt6j&s=3
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    As I'm completing the uintah railway within the next few months, i need a definite change, something that has no sagebrush or endless cliffs. So I would like to have a go at Making the Willunga branch and since some of the engines have now been made to use in 2019, i expect i will work in that version to create it. The only customised items i'll need are the specific station buildings and Aussie houses of the 1950s era, can anyone recommend items that are existing that can be reskinned, or is anyone out there willing to collaborate and make some ? they do not have to be made with pbr textures, but would prefer them to be made in blender over gmax, for the sake of customisation and/realism. also everything will need to go on the DLS as i intend the route to be freeware and available to the widest audience there is.
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

  13. #13

    Default The Willunga Online Railway Museum

    Hi Everyone,


    Nice set of recent photographs, dangavel.


    At the start of this thread you asked:


    | Been walking the remains of the old railway from Seaford To McLaren vale.
    | very interesting route, lots of cuttings, quite severe grades.
    | its the sort of route worth modelling, has anyone got any reference maps of the old line ?


    You may be pleased to know that there is indeed a wealth of information at The Willunga Online Railway Museum (TheWORM).


    https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheWORM


    I created this facebook group in 2018, and it has grown to 700+ members, many of whom have contributed Photographs, Video (8mm film I suspect), technical documentation, and personal accounts of their direct experience of the line prior to it's closure in ~1970.


    Additionally, you may also be interested in the Noarlunga Model Railroaders Club which is situated at the site of the former Reynella Station.


    Cheers,
    Douglas

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    Quote Originally Posted by DouglasKinsella View Post
    Hi Everyone,


    Nice set of recent photographs, dangavel.


    At the start of this thread you asked:


    | Been walking the remains of the old railway from Seaford To McLaren vale.
    | very interesting route, lots of cuttings, quite severe grades.
    | its the sort of route worth modelling, has anyone got any reference maps of the old line ?


    You may be pleased to know that there is indeed a wealth of information at The Willunga Online Railway Museum (TheWORM).


    https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheWORM


    I created this facebook group in 2018, and it has grown to 700+ members, many of whom have contributed Photographs, Video (8mm film I suspect), technical documentation, and personal accounts of their direct experience of the line prior to it's closure in ~1970.


    Additionally, you may also be interested in the Noarlunga Model Railroaders Club which is situated at the site of the former Reynella Station.


    Cheers,
    Douglas
    excellent news, I'm a fb member so I'll have a wee look at the pages today !
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

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    Hi Dan, I have had a good bit of fun appreciating the grades of the Uintah Railway. I live near the old Willunga line and happy to take photos as needed down the track. Also, a good resource for photos of the line and or SAR is https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/f...llunga/page:14. they have extensive photos around the line.

    The station buildings along the line were mostly weatherboard or corrugated iron.

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