National Railway Museum opens its gates

Bluebird Railcar, Kestrel at the. National Railway Museum. The engine to the left is 752 which worked Clare line goods train is in the 1950s. The engine to the right is number 523, Essington Lewis, the streamlined express passenger engine that worked the Adelaide to Terowie route from the 1940s through to the 1960s.
Bluebird Railcar, Kestrel at the. National Railway Museum. The engine to the left is 752 which worked Clare line goods train is in the 1950s. The engine to the right is number 523, Essington Lewis, the streamlined express passenger engine that worked the Adelaide to Terowie route from the 1940s through to the 1960s.

The National Railway Museum at Port Adelaide will host a major event on the weekend of July 7-8, as part of Clare’s Railway Centenary celebrations. 

This event has been planned to fit in with the launch of John Wilson’s book, The Riesling Railway that traces the history of the Clare line, from the time it was first mooted in the 1840s, through to the development of the Riesling Trail.

The Museum’s Executive Officer, Bob Sampson said there may be another exciting aspect to the weekend, as it could be the first time the museum has a major event, where metropolitan train travellers will be able to travel right to the museum’s entrance. 

This will be possible with the extension of the metropolitan rail system to the heritage precinct of Port Adelaide due to be completed in mid-2018..

One of the highlights of the weekend will be the running of the museum’s Bluebird railcar, Kestrel, which is the only remaining operational unit of this once-extensive fleet that provided country passenger services in South Australia, and would be well-known to Clare travellers from the 1950s through to the 1980s. 

Kestrel will operate shuttle runs over 1km of track within the Museum grounds. 

The weekend will also see displays of photographs and movie film of trains on the Clare line, along with other items related to rail operations on the line.

The intention is to make this event attractive to Clare Valley producers to show and sell their products, and for this occasion the Museum will waive its normal stallholders charge.