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Strathalbyn Station

Strath to Sandergrove

Gilberts to Goolwa

Goolwa Station

Goolwa to Victor

 

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 Along the Line - Sandergrove to Gilberts


The line from Sandegrove to Gilberts continues away from main roads and travels for some distance through a conservation area known as the Finnis Scrub. Between Finnis and Gilberts it crosses the Finnis River on a substantial bridge.





Finniss Scrub
Continuing southwestwards, the line has only slight curves and no intersecting roads. It travels through the thick Finniss scrub on both sides of the line, populated with unique and rare flora. Kangaroos and other wildlife can often be seen leaping along in company with the train.

Finniss
Finniss station, named after Col. B.T. Finniss, the assistant surveyor to Colonel Light still has a platform and passing siding, and the line returns here to “civilisation” just off the main Strathalbyn to Goolwa road. Half a dozen or so houses form a small settlement at this crossroads. Finniss was a significant "accounting" station in the early SAR period, with a Stationmaster until 1927, an electric staff machine from 1912 and train order signals from 1926, both now removed.

Finniss was one of the original 1867 tramway stations and horse stables were located on the eastern side of the track. The station still possessed the original shelter shed into the 1970s . One of Finniss’s claims to fame is that William Bowmans, a local farmer, invented an innovative combine harvester which marked a milestone in agricultural machinery development.

Finniss Bridge
Just south of the station, the line descends in a cutting to cross the Finniss River. Downstream of the bridge on the northern bank there remains evidence of pits used to quarry ballast for construction of the Milang line in 1883. Facilities were also located here to service the contractor's loco which hauled trains up a zigzag track to reach the main line.

The wrought iron bridge across the Finniss River was built for the horse drawn tramway and subsequently strengthened in 1904 and 1926. It was originally designed with 8 metre brick arches which were quickly replaced with a 27m steel span. Unfortunately no foundation stone remains to record the original construction.

Today's construction is interesting in that the two central piers, remnants of the original bridge, play no part in supporting the span! Come back and look carefully one day - there is a 150cm clearance!


Along the Line
Strathalbyn to Sandergrove
Survey Map 1
Along the Line
Gilberts to Goolwa


Motorcaders' Photospots Yard Diagrams as constructed

We recommend that lineside photographers use only public roads to follow our trains and do not trespass onto farmer's fields

There is no road connection between Sandergrove and Finniss along the railway track which passes through low lying farmland and scrub

The best driving conditions (particularly in the winter) are found by crossing to the western side of the track at Sandergrove crossing and returning to the main Strathalbyn to Goolwa Road, then turning left off that road at Signal Flat Road (signposted Clayton - Milang) which leads into Finniss Station.

Leaving Finniss continue south easterly, (signposted to Clayton). After 500m continue straight ahead at a T junction (signposted Finniss) and continue on an unsealed road for 1km to a junction with sealed Winery Road. The road crosses the Finniss River on causeways. Climbing out of the river valley, turn R at Gilberts Siding Road (unsealed) and travel 2km to the west to reach Gilberts Siding.

There is no road access to the Finniss bridge other than by walking northwards along the railway reserve from Gilberts. For safety reasons, however, access along the line is subject to prior approval from SteamRanger

Finniss as originally built

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Later rerarrangement
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To reduce point wear, the original layout above was reintroduced when SteamRanger took over the line SteamRanger occasionally stables track maintenance vehicles on the platform road
A basic shelter shed remains on the southern end of the platform




Snapshots

Brill car 33 pauses at Finniss Station enroute to Strathalbyn
Photo: David Worth
Railcar
Rx207 crosses Finniss Bridge on an ARHS special in 1972
Photo: David Worth


Along the Line
Gilberts to Goolwa