1845 copper discovered in Burra. Up to 1877 the mine produced approximately 50,000 tonnes of copper.
Adelaide’s first railway station opened on the current North Terrace site in 1856. It served the broad gauge line between Adelaide and Port Adelaide, which was the first government-owned and operated steam railway in the British Empire.
An earlier private railway running down the centre of the Port Road had not proceeded.
The Port line opened for public service on 21 April 1856. It was single track, the current Down Track, with intermediate stations at Bowden, Woodville and Alberton and terminated at Port Dock station (now closed). There were six trains per day in each direction, and two on Sundays. There was a "Passing Loop" at Woodville Station.
A second line, the North Line, opened to Smithfield (near Gawler) on 1 June 1857, the predecessor of today’s Gawler Central line. This diverged from the Port line at a junction in the north parklands, Torrens Junction, and was extended to Kapunda in 1860, and Burra by 1870, both important copper mining towns in the early days of the colony.
There was much adaption of English rail laying technology to match the Australian environment with sleepers being developed to hold the rails in the correct distance apart. The train carrying the Governor on the opening of the Port Line had settled into the mud when the rails spread apart using the technology promoted by English engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
The original Adelaide station handled all passenger, freight and livestock traffic at the North Terrace site. Livestock was unloaded adjacent to the markets and abattoirs, the site of the "New Royal Adelaide Hospital" (RAH), on the corner of West Terrace. The area in front of the camera in this video.
1861 copper discovered in Moonta. In the late 1800s, Moonta had the largest urban population outside of Adelaide, with 12,000 people. Along with Wallaroo, & Kadina the region is also known as the Copper Triangle.
In 1865, the station yard covered an area of 55,000 square metres (13 acres).
1868. Dry Creek to Port Adelaide railway opened. Its original purpose was to allow goods and minerals from South Australia’s mid-north and the River Murray (at Morgan) to reach the Port without needing to travel via Adelaide. This line ran directly into Port Dock station
1873 a private railway "The Adelaide, Glenelg and Suburban Railway Company" opened a single track from South Terrace , Adelaide, to Jetty Road, Glenelg. This company was taken over by the SA Government and later converted in 1929 to become the Glenelg Tram.
1880. A private railway terminated their single track at the Adelaide Railway Station. "Holdfast Bay Railway Company" and opened on 24 May 1880. This company amalgamated with the opposition and the company maintained both tracks to Glenelg. There were plans in 1929 to electrify this railway line, poles were erected but the the plan was then abandoned because of lack of funds
1881 Port Line was duplicated by adding the Up Track.
1883 SA Government built single track of the South Line from Adelaide Railway Station through the Adelaide Hills,to Aldgate, then Nairne. For a short distance the South Line shared the same "right of way" as the private "Holdfast Bay Railway Company".
This created a Level Crossing at Goodwood of the South Line and the "The Adelaide, Glenelg and Suburban Railway Company" line
1886 South Line was extended to Bordertown. At the border with Victoria the line joined with the track from Melbourne built by the Victorian Colonial Government.
1915 Branch of the South Line at Goodwood, Goodwood Junction) to Willunga via Marion, Brighton, Hallett Cove, Reynella, Morphett Vale & Noarlunga was opened
1925 Petrol powered Brill Railcars introduced to serve country rail lines within S.A. Railways network
1929 The single track of "The Adelaide, Glenelg and Suburban Railway Company" line was changed from Broad Gauge to Standard Gauge with twin tracks, overhead electric cables installed and the Level Crossing with the South Line was turned into an Overpass over the South Line. Steam trains were replaced with 600 Volt DC electric trams. To cope with variable loads on the system, very large storage lead–acid batteries had been installed, the initial one at East Terrace comprising 293 cells and a 50 ton tank of sulphuric acid.
1929 Plans to electrify the Port Line and Holdfast Bay Railway Company" Line and change to trams were abandoned. Holdfast Bay Railway Company" Line has reverted to park-lands and a bike path.
1949 first 350 class diesel locomotives entered service for long haul freight and interstate passenger trains
1955 Red Hen diesel commuter passenger trains and Bluebird diesel country passenger trains entered service.
2014 Electric Trains run from Adelaide Railway Station to Seaford along a re-routed Willunga Railway Line using 25,000 Volts AC power.