Railways brought changes to the lives of everyone, especially women. Through photos, story boards and exhibits relive what these women who accompanied their husbands to the railway construction camps had to endure as they cared for their families, looking after their needs - schooling, health and nutrition, often in very harsh conditions.

For other women the railways made recreational travel and holidays possible and gave them independence - many of them for the first time. During World War Two women brought changes to the railways with women taking the place of the men who were serving in the military. Women were also employed by the railways, which not only gave them employment and independence but equality.

'The Long Journey' features displays which bring alive stories of pioneer railway families

A recreation of the inside of a signal cabin


The guiding principal behind any railway is keep them moving - safely. This comprehensive display explains the systems that were required to safely regulate the passage of trains, from hand written Train Orders to modern fully computerised systems.

Divided into four main sections - Signal Cabin, Station Office, Signalling Equipment and Train Control Centre - story boards, photographs, written information and actual railway artifacts and equiptment help unravel the puzzle of Safe Working. See block instruments, electric staff machines, semaphore signals, lamps and much more.


The Intercolonial Express, Melbourne Express, or The Overland. Whatever you call it, it is one of Australia's iconic rail journeys. With more than 100 years of history, the story of the South Australian Railways flagship comes to life through images and text as story boards describe The Overland route, locomotives, carriages, stations and misadventure. See beautifully made models of the carriages and 900 class locomotive Lady Norrie which hauled the The Overland.

Fully immerse yourself in the experience by exploring The Overland rollingstock housed in the museum, 500 class locomotive 504, Rx class locomotive Rx 93, 900 class locomotive 900 Lady Norrie, 930 class locomotive 930, Dining Car Adelaide, Sleeping car Onkaparinga, BE42 ,Dogbox 294 and Sleeping car Allambi. The Train Departures Board recalls when the Overland left from the Adelaide Station.

Scaled down replicas of Overland carriages feature detailed interiors

The interactive maps illustrate a timeline of railways in South Australia


This interactive display features a large map of South Australia, with the network of railway lines lit up by LED lights.

Visitors are able to step through the timeline of railways in South Australia, watching as railway lines slowly radiated out from Adelaide, and early short disconnected lines initially built from regional towns to nearby ports were joined and gauge converted to form an impressive railway network.

Moving later into the timeline, watch as lines were closed as the railways faced pressure from road transport and economic rationalisation, and the mainlines to interstate capitals were standardised to form the National network we see today.


Meeting at the Man in Blue under the station clock is something many South Australians would remember fondly. The Train Departures Board was located in the Adelaide Station concourse. Everyone who travelled or who was waiting for people to arrive had to consult the board. There were people coming and going, questions being asked, announcements being made, and the sound of the boards being changed made it a hub of activity.

It comprised of illuminated vertical metal panels which were changed by hand and displayed departure times, platforms and station names for all metropolitan, country, and interstate trains. On top of which was a large two faced Pulsenetic clock, that is still working in Adelaide station today. The board also housed the Man in Blue, an information officer, who daily answered many and varied questions from train passengers.

In 1983-84 the board was removed and replaced with a new display system using computer technology.

The train departures board replica

Purchase items from the Tea and Sugar Provisions van using the interactive touch screens


The Museum has the sole remaining carriages from the legendary Tea and Sugar train which traversed the Nullarbor Plain carrying essential provisions for railway employees. It later services outback communities along the route.

Through digital sound and vision explore the:

  • Pay Car - staffed by clerks who paid the wages to the railway workers.
  • Butcher's Van - carried beef, pork, mutton, fresh milk and icecream and more.
  • Provisions Van - sold groceries, clothing, general household goods, records, cassettes and small furniture.
  • Relay Brake Van - provided fairly comfortable living quarters for the off duty crew, with a shower, toilet and bunks for up to 8 employees.

The Tea and Sugar Train is well thought out display housing touch screens, video and audio.

For teachers and students educational resources and support material is available in the School Section (Pack 1 - Trans Australian Railway and the Tea and Sugar Train).