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19 January 1887 First express train to Melbourne

 19 January 1887   First express train to Melbourne

On the 19 January 1887 the first express train from Adelaide to Melbourne took 19 hours to make the journey.

 A number of viaducts and tunnels were built to carry the line across the Mount Lofty Ranges, as well as a bridge across the Murray River. Work on the bridge at Edwards Crossing, now Murray Bridge, commenced in 1873, but there was political wrangling over its construction which delayed the work, and in fact much of the imported iron work lay at Dry Creek for several years. The bridge was finally completed at a cost of £122,000. 'R' class engines were brought out from Scotland in 1886 to work part of the new line, to cope with the steep gradients in the hills.

Later, in 1926, the '500' class locomotives, known as mountain type, were used on the Overland Express between Adelaide and Tailem Bend where smaller '600' class, Pacific type locos took over for the run to Serviceton on the border, the rest of the journey being completed with Victorian Railway engines. The locomotive No 504, named Tom Barr Smith, had a record run of 37 minutes from Adelaide to Mount Lofty on its last run on the line on 15 October 1961. This engine is now preserved in the Port Dock Railway Museum having completed 855, 029 miles in service.

R.E. Fluck, R. Sampson, K.J. Bird, Steam Locos and Railcars of the South Australian Railways , Railway Museum, 1986, pp. 91-95.

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