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150th Anniversary of the Stockade (Northfield) Line

Adelaide / South Australia Transport Discussion

150th Anniversary of the Stockade (Northfield) Line

Postby Volvo B12BLEA » Fri May 18, 2007 2:35 am

In the May 2007 issue of "Catch Point" there is a brief but very interesting article about the History of this Line.
Article also includes B&W photos from the "Reg Atkinson Collection".
The author is Richard Maurovic and he is also in the process of starting to publish a publication about this Historic line and is after stories, memories or photographs.
Any posts are my views or opinions and are NOT on behalf of any Organisation.
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Postby Obi Wan Kenobi » Sun May 20, 2007 9:58 am

The Stockade (Northfield) Line opened for traffic on 1 June 1857. However the stations at Cavan opened in 1910 and Pooraka in 1941.

Northfield Station was not opened until 1912, but the original station was on the Eastern side of Briens Road.

Trains last ran to the Stockade in 1961, however the line was occassionally used as a siding until it was ripped up in about 1973!
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Postby Volvo B12BLEA » Mon May 21, 2007 12:07 am

This is the article from Catchpoint.
Author is Richard Maurovic.
Catchpoint May 2007 wrote:A Brief History of the Dry Creek to Stockade Railway.

The Dry Creek to Stockade (Northfield) railway was opened on 1 June 1857 - the same day as the Adelaide-Smithfield section of a new railway being built to Gawler. It was originally planned to extend the Stockade line eastward to Modbury, passing through the suburb of Valley View. The terrain is hilly and would have needed deep cuttings or tunnels along the corridor.
in its early years, the single track was principally used to carry stone from quarries established behind the Yatala Prison, on the banks of Dry Creek. In 1878, the quarry supplied 25,000 tons of stone for construction projects, including the duplication of the Adelaide to Port Adelaide railway.
In 1909, a large area of land was acquired for the site of the new Metropolitan Abattoirs. During this time, the Stockade line saw major expansion with new sidings and a station constructed to serve the abattoirs and saleyards. Facilities included a permanent stand for 400 sheep vans, eight sheep unloading ramps, and a 500 feet-long platform to load and unload cattle. A narrow guage (2ft) railway was built onn the abattoirs site to ferry building materials A small village, known as Abattoirs was established near the railway to house meatworkers and their families. The abattoirs opened on 12 July 1913 and Abattoirs station opened for passengers and livestock the same day. A small station nearby, at Cavan, opened in 1914. Abattoirs station changed its name to Pooraka in December 1940. Trains carrying meatworkers stopped at the Butcher's Platform, located midway between Cavan and Pooraka, allowing them to walk directly into the works.
Electric staff block working began on the Stockdale line on 19 January 1916. The token staff method was used between Pooraka and Northfield.
The line had a siding for coal trains; the coal used to fuel the abattoirs boilers and powerhouse. A railway platform was even integrated into the freezers for loading frozen meat. Loaded sheep vans were normally detached from trains at Dry Creek and shunted to unloading ramps at the Pooraka saleyards. In 1937, a line known as Export Siding was built to allow sheep to be unloaded directly into covered pre-slaughter holding yards.
Passenger services on the line were initially served by loco-hauled trains and Northfield station had a small turntable provided. In July 1961, the line was truncated to the west side of Briens Road and the turntable removed, ending the accessibility of loco hauled trains.
passenger motors that used the line included the 55 class, introduced in 1924. They were coupled back-to-back. The line was also served by the larger 75 class 'Brill' railcars, Redhens, and the 2000 class 'Jumbo' railcars, introduced in 1980.
Over its time, the line had various sidings between Dry Creek and Cavan. They served the Steamranger depot, Cold Stores and Comeng Aresco - the latter fitting out STA's new 2000 class railcars.
In 1982, standard guage cattle trains began shunting from a new yard at Dry Creek North. On 20 December that year, the first direct cattle train with 42 vans from Alice Springs arrived a t Dry Creek with loading for Southern Yards.
Pooraka closed as an attended station on 22 October 1982, four months after Bob Johnston, its last permanent stationmaster, retired.
A new dual-guage stock van washout plant was built at Dry Creek South and the Pooraka to Northfield section was closed after the last passenger train ran on 29 May 1987. Closure of the Northfield line was imminent after Australian National ceased carrying livestock in South Australia's South East region on 28 January 1991.
Other lines around the state stopped carrying cattle and sheep shortly after and the Dry Creek to Pooraka section of the line was closed in 1991. Cattle trains operated to Cavan (Southern Yards) until 1995.
The Gepps Cross abattoirs closed on 15 July 1999 and a new modern saleyard complex began operation at Dublin, north of Two Wells soon after. All livestock is now transported by road.
The abattoirs have been demolished and nearly all trace of the once busy Stockade branch line has vanished. The visionary railway, once proposed to serve Adelaide's rapidly growing north eastern suburbs was never completed and the area is now served instead by buses.
A 60ft section of the double headed rail, used on the far eastern end of the Stockade line, has been laid within the main display pavilion at the National Railway Museum.

There is 3 B&W photos from the "Reg Atkinson Collection" accompanying the article in the magazine.

I quoted the article here for the benefit of people who do not have access to the Catchpoint magazine so they can read the history of this railway line.
Any posts are my views or opinions and are NOT on behalf of any Organisation.
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