Outer Harbor railway line

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Outer Harbor railway line
AdelaideRail 2.jpg
3000 class railcar travelling along the Port River bridge
TypeCommuter rail
LocaleAdelaide, South Australia
Operator(s)Adelaide Metro
Rolling stock3000/3100 class
Line length21.9 km (13.6 mi)
Number of tracks
Track gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Route map

Balloon loop
closed 1980s
Outer Harbor
Golf course entrance
Klingberg Drive
North Haven
Osborne Road
Gedville Road
Strathfield Terrace
Kolapore Avenue
Largs North
Fletcher Road
Jetty Road
Largs Jetty
closed 1908
Wills Street
Hargrave Street
Harris Street
State Route A16 (
Glanville Aiga bus trans.svg
Birkenhead Loop to Pelican Point
Hart Street
Wirra Drive
Old Port Road
Church Street
Port Adelaide
over Australian Alphanumeric State Route A7.svg Commercial Road
Aiga bus trans.svg
Lipson Street
Port Dock
State Route A16 (
Jn Road
Rosewater Loop to Dry Creek
Fussell Place
Cheltenham Racecourse
Cheltenham Parade
St Clair
Woodville Aiga bus trans.svg
Woodville Road
Woodville Park
Kilkenny Road/David Terrace
Private road
West Croydon
over Rosetta street
Queen Street/Elizabeth Street
State Route A2 (
Coglin Street
Chief Street
East Street
Bowden (original site)
Gibson Street
State Route A21 (
Torrens Bridge
Adelaide Depot
closed 2011
City West
Montefiore Road
Adelaide BSicon TRAM.svg Aiga bus trans.svg

The Outer Harbor railway line is a suburban branch line in Adelaide, South Australia. It runs from Adelaide station through the north western suburbs to Port Adelaide and Outer Harbor, it is 21.9 kilometres in length, and shares part of its run with the Grange line. It is operated by Adelaide Metro.

Since 2016, the line has been used as a shuttle for cruise liner passengers heading for Adelaide, with additional services provided.


Opening in 1856, the railway between Adelaide and Port Dock railway station was the second railway in the colony of South Australia, and the first government-owned railway in the British Empire[citation needed]. Port Adelaide junction was created when the railway was extended to cross the Port River to Le Fevre Peninsula; as industry developed on the west side of the Port River, and deeper harbour was required. Initially, this was at Semaphore, with the railway extended in 1882 as the now-closed Semaphore railway line to service the overseas shipping jetty there; the Outer Harbor was developed and the railway extended from Glanville railway station to service it.


The line between Port Adelaide Junction and Glanville was dual gauge until early December 2009 when the standard gauge rails were removed. Outer Harbor had a balloon loop railway so that trains could be turned around without shunting or requiring a turntable or triangle; the loop was cut when rail freight moved off the broad gauge Outer Harbor railway to the nearby standard gauge line on the eastern side of the peninsula.

Various plans to modify the line have been proposed. In 2008, the State Government announced a plan to rebuild the Outer Harbour line in preparation for the line to be electrified with the Federal Government also to provide funding.[1] In the 2011 budget, it was announced that electrification of the Outer Harbor line had been deferred until 2016.[2] In June 2012, the project was cancelled.[3]

In May 2016, the State Government announced 1.4 kilometres of the line would be lowered in a grade separation project to pass below the Adelaide to Port Augusta and Gawler lines. A new Bowden station will be built as part of the project.[4][5] In December 2016 the contract was awarded to a consortium of Laing O'Rourke, AECOM and KBR.[6]

As of 2016, the State Government was again considering electrifying the line or converting it to light rail. A 2016 report into potential light rail projects in Adelaide considered two options for the future of the line; the first option would electrify the heavy rail line and provide a short spur-line to central Port Adelaide. The second option would convert the line to light rail and add a new on-street branch to Semaphore. A light rail conversion would also require the conversion or closure of the Grange line - several options for the future of that line were also presented.[7] In June 2017, the state government unveiled plans for a spur line into Port Adelaide,[8] but this proposal was put on hold in 2019.[9]

In January 2017, the line was closed for three weeks alongside the Grange line for the building of an overpass over South Road.[10][11]

Torrens Junction separation[edit]

There are a total of five railway tracks on three bridges in parallel across the River Torrens. North of this bridge, the two tracks of the Gawler railway line continues north, as does the standard gauge railway track, while the two tracks of the Outer Harbor line swing away northwest; until late 2017, the Outer Harbor tracks were the pair between the Gawler tracks on the east and the standard gauge track which was built in 1982 on the west. This meant that Outer Harbor and Grange trains had to cross the track that carries rail freight between Melbourne and the main freight terminals in Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. In 2017, the Torrens Junction project worked to remove this operational conflict; the outcome was to make the Gawler trains use the central pair of tracks, while the Outer Harbor line now uses the eastern pair across the bridge, then descends into a trench and passes underneath the Gawler and standard gauge lines and Park Terrace which had previously been a busy level crossing. The Bowden railway station was also demolished and rebuilt at a new lower level.[12]

The Outer Harbor line was closed (and consequently also Grange services) along with a portion of the Gawler line in April, June, July, and August 2017 to work on the Torrens Rail Junction Project;[13][14][15][16] the entire line was closed on 24 September 2017, and reopened on 15 January 2018, having been delayed from a December 3 opening.[17]


The line is double track from Adelaide to Midlunga, then single for the final three kilometres to Outer Harbour; the northern section of the line runs along the middle of the narrow Lefevre Peninsula with stations at regular intervals.[18] The line's services are operated by 3000 class railcars.

Line guide[edit]

Outer Harbor Line
Name Distance from


Year opened Serving suburbs Connections
Adelaide 0.0 km 1856 Adelaide Train transfers to Belair, Gawler,
Grange, Seaford & Tonsley lines
Tram transfers
Bus transfers
Bowden 2.4 km 1856 Bowden
Croydon 4.2 km 1888 Croydon
West Croydon 5.1 km 1915 West Croydon
Kilkenny 6.0 km 1881 Kilkenny, Woodville Park
Woodville Park 7.5 km 1936 Woodville, Woodville Park
Woodville 7.5 km 1856 St Clair, Woodville Train transfers to Grange
Bus transfers
St Clair 8.6 km 2014 St Clair, Woodville
Cheltenham 9.2 km 1959 Cheltenham
Alberton 10.2 km 1856 Alberton
Port Adelaide 11.7 km 1916 Port Adelaide Bus transfers
Ethelton 13.1 km 1916 Ethelton, New Port
Glanville 13.8 km 1878 Glanville, New Port Bus transfers
Peterhead 14.6 km 1911 Birkenhead, Exeter, Peterhead
Largs 15.5 km 1907 Largs Bay
Largs North 16.4 km 1916 Largs North
Draper 17.2 km ?? Largs North
Taperoo 18.2 km 1908 Taperoo
Midlunga 18.8 km 1921 Osborne
Osborne 19.6 km 1908 North Haven, Osborne
North Haven 20.5 km 1981 North Haven
Outer Harbor 21.9 km 1926 North Haven, Outer Harbor


The Outer Harbor line shares part of its route with the Grange line. All passenger train services are operated by 3000/3100 class railcars. Trains run every 30 minutes between 5am and 9pm on weekdays and weekends; until April 21, 2018, trains ran on an hourly schedule after 9pm[19]. There are no frequent express services on the line, with the only exception being the Osborne service which runs express from Adelaide to Woodville then all stations to Osborne during peak periods only.


  1. ^ 2008/09 State Budget South Australian Department of Treasury & Finance June 2008
  2. ^ Martin, Sarah (10 June 2011). "SA State Budget 11 - $200m in rail revitalisation work delayed". Adelaide Advertiser. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  3. ^ South Australia cuts back Adelaide electrification International Railway Journal 8 June 2012
  4. ^ Torrens Rail Junction Project Department of Transport, Planning & Infrastructure
  5. ^ Adelaide rail upgrade project to separate passenger and freight lines on Outer Harbor line ABC News 6 May 2016
  6. ^ Torrens Rail Junction Upgrade Laing O'Rourke 19 December 2016
  7. ^ "AdeLINK Multi-Criteria Analysis Summary Report" (PDF). Department of Transport, Planning and Infrastructure. 2016. pp. 11–13.
  8. ^ Kemp, Miles (24 June 2017). "State Budget 2017: Trains return to the heart of Port Adelaide after a 36-year absence". The Advertiser.
  9. ^ Adelaide's public transport going back to the future under Stephan Knoll ABC News, 21 June 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  10. ^ Major works kick off to remove one of Adelaide’s worst level crossings Premier of South Australia 2 January 2017
  11. ^ Outer Harbor & Grange line closure January 2 - January 23 2017 Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure
  12. ^ Kemp, Miles (13 September 2017). "Major disruption to Outer Harbor and Gawler train lines as work starts on Park Tce underpass". The Advertiser. news.com.au. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  13. ^ Outer Harbor, Grange and Gawler rail line closures
  14. ^ Outer Harbor, Grange and Gawler train lines temporary closures June long weekend
  15. ^ Outer Harbor, Grange and Gawler line July closure
  16. ^ SA, Service. "Adelaide Metro - UPDATE : Outer Harbor and Grange rail line reopening Mond..." www.adelaidemetro.com.au. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  17. ^ SA, Service. "Adelaide Metro - UPDATE : Outer Harbor and Grange rail line reopening Mond..." www.adelaidemetro.com.au. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  18. ^ Outer Harbor & Grange timetable Adelaide Metro 23 February 2014
  19. ^ More train services, more often from 22 April
  • 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

External links[edit]