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Mt Barker Station

Mt Barker to Philcox

Gemmells to Strath

Strath Station



 Along the Line - Philcox Hill to Gemmells

Beyond Philcox Hill the line begins to fall on a 1 in 45 gradient towards Bugle Ranges, and views open up of the fertile farming countryside, the lower Murray and the Coorong

The track is initially well to the west of the main Mt Barker to Strathalbyn road but approaches to run parallel with the road for a short distance prior to a level crossing just north of Gemmells station.

Leaving Philcox Hill the track winds around Bonython Hill (on the right) in a semi-circle and then, after going through several cuttings, the grade eases as the Bonython Road level crossing is approached on a sharp righthand curve. This crossing at 63.5km was at one time known as Murapena and was a stopping place for passenger trains after railcars had been introduced in the 1920s.

Bugle Ranges
The former Bugle Ranges station at 64km is approached across a curving embankment. Though in the past there were quite a number of residents living in the area, the station was provided mainly to cater for Macclesfield people as compensation for the Government not being able to take the line through their town. This station initially had three tracks as well as lower-quadrant signals and its own signal cabin.

The station existed well into the 1970s. The rather extravagant signal cabin on the other hand was removed to Long Gully in the National Park on the Main South line after less than two years use! A local farmer who has accumulated a treasure trove of old farming implements and other bric-a- brac now occupies the remnants of the station property.

A Vista to the Lakes
On from Bugle Ranges, the track follows around the hills and the view on the eastern side now becomes more open and passengers can see as far as Lake Alexandrina and the Coorong. To the west however, the hills rise rather abruptly and restrict any view being had of the valleys on the other side of them. A long embankment then leads the line to the Pursell Road crossing, which is just by the 65.5 km post and for many years the location of the stopping place known as Nonedia  

After passing through a number of substantial cuttings the line then again crosses the main Mt Barker to Strathalbyn road with its clanging crossing bells and lights and a few more tight curves brings it into Gemmells siding, named after an adjacent land owner, Thomas Gemmell. This siding, originally laid out with three tracks, was closed in 1964 for all except the boarding and alighting of passengers.

Stone from the nearby Quarry Hill was also loaded at this point for transport to Adelaide and other destinations. The road to the disused quarry, Stirling Hill road, is crossed at the southern end of the yard. This road, named after a local land-owning pioneer, winds back and forth across the track between here and Strathalbyn. Today, SteamRanger regularly use Gemmells yard to top up water in smaller steam locos in preparation for the challenging climb back up the hill to Mount Barker.

Along the Line
Mt Barker to Philcox Hill
Survey Map 1
Along the Line
Gemmells to Strath

Motorcaders' Photospots Yard Diagrams as constructed

The railway reserve and adjacent farmers' fields are not public rights of way. We recommend that lineside photographers use only public roads to follow our trains

The following points are easily accessible from public roads and offer good opportunities for lineside photography

63.5km - Bonython Road - turn right off Strathalbyn Road

Bugle Range Road - Turn south from Bonython Rd just prior to rail crossing and follow line (on high embankment) to crossing at Bugle Ranges Station site at 63.9km

Return back to Bonython Rd, turn R then L at Station Road to again follow line (on embankment) to Pursell Rd crossing at 65.4km

Follow Pursell Rd easterly towards main Strathalbyn road. Wakefield Rd to R follows line to crossing at 66.2km Return back to Pursell Rd

68.7km - Line crosses main Strathalbyn Road (gongs)

70.1km - Stirling Hill Road (On left just beyond main road crossing) leads to Gemmells station

Bugle Ranges




All of the sidings and buildings at both Bugle Ranges and Gemmells have now been removed, leaving only a through line.

The Scenery
520 heads away from Bugle Ranges and prepares
to climb to the summit at Philcox Hill (Roger Currie)
SteamRanger's diesel 351 pauses with a ballast train at
Gemmels Station during track reconstruction (Roger Currie)
Along the Line
Gemmells to Strath