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Broken Hill

Broken Hill has an interesting railway history. While it located in NSW, it is often associated with SA, due to its location and initial rail connection to South Australia. The SA government built a line to the border, and a private company, Silverton Tramway, was responsible for the line between the border and the city of Broken Hill. The line to Sydney was connected much later.

Due to this rail connection to South Australia and the fact that Adelaide is closer than Sydney, Broken Hill developed a preference for SA and now runs on South Australian time and recieves SA television. I think mail comes via Adelaide as well.

Broken Hill is now part of the national standard gauge network, and is a major stopping point for the Indian Pacific. The mines create iron ore traffic which is hauled by rail to SA smelters. Silverton Tramway has diversified and now handles smaller duties that the larger operators aren't interested in, including shunting. Silverton has some fairly active radio frequencies that can be clearly heard in the South, possibly from a branch line to the Zinc mine.

Some of Broken Hill's rail history has been preserved at a museum at the site of the original railway station. One of the Silver City Comets has found its final resting place at this museum.

BH yard, looking towards Adelaide

This preview (above, click to enlarge) of the Broken Hill yards looks towards Adelaide. The business incubator can be seen in the mid background, it seems to be a former station as it has a platform. An ore train can be seen at the base. In the middle are a load of grey cars and some buildings. I believe these buildings are where some wagons are being refurbished and converted for some sort of freight.

There is also a turntable, which is easier to see in an enlarged picture also featuring two Silverton locos. Unfortunately the locos were too far away to identify.

BH passenger platform

Looking the other way we see the passenger platform behind some trees. While it is quite long, the Indian Pacific is often longer. The Musician's Club is the building at the top left and the credit union (with ATM) is just behind the station.

Further towards Sydney there is another platform, which is quite old and looks disused. There is also fuel storage which looks like it might be used for refuelling trains.


A friend and I took the above photos from the new visitors centre on top of the slag heap. We also created a panoramic shot of the visible part of the city. The large(450KB) panoramic image has been stitched together, so it's a bit fish-eyed and has some bends in it.


Shunting trains stop, push button for lights(Click for full image)

This is an interesting sign I saw on the outskirts. Two lines cross the road, one is the main line, the other one goes to a silo. It is locally known as "the backtrack" since the road connects the south and north via the back of the slag heap. Another sign advises of a $40 fine for driving across when the level crossing is activated.

The line around here is not the best. The side line to the silos is on wooden sleepers and obviously has less use, while the main line has a mixture of sleepers with the odd metal sleeper thrown in (very bad). Outside of Broken Hill the line is much better with concrete sleepers on the SA side. It seems that SRA and RIC control Broken Hill. The station is a countrylink station even though countrylink passengers are put on the Indian Pacific at the moment. In a few years time new Hunter railcars may be regularly running to Broken Hill.


Created 7/1/02 by Ben Reuter