Summer Cockle Trains | Goolwa to Victor Harbor | Dec & Jan

summer cockle trains

Summer Cockle Trains – Goolwa – Middleton – Port Elliot – Victor Harbor

The Cockle Train travels along the oldest steel railed railway in Australia dating back to 1887 when it was constructed to provide a link between the River Murray and the ocean wharfs at Pt Elliot and later at Victor Harbor.

The Steam locomotives Rx207 and 621 are currently being prepared for the busy Christmas-New Year block, with 6 trains operating daily between 27 December 2019 and 1 January 2020. Trains will then revert back to the 3 train per day schedule from 2 January to 27 January 2020 inclusive. 

Note: Trains will be hauled by diesel locomotive 507 and the Redhen Railcars if a total fireban is declared for the Mt Lofty Ranges. No trains will operate if the forecast temperature for Victor Harbor is 35 degrees or higher.


About The Cockle Train:

Why is this icon journey called the “Cockle Train”? In early days of settlement the local residents would take a horse drawn train to Goolwa to collect Cockles from the sandy beaches near the Murray mouth. It was a great day’s outing and thus gained its name.

The Cockle Train is based at the Goolwa Depot and commences its run each day at Goolwa station, in the historic Wharf Precinct alongside the River Murray. After crossing the main Goolwa to Victor road the line heads off across the plains to Middleton, picking up or dropping off passengers on request, and then to Port Elliot where it reaches the Encounter Bay coast. The station here is operated by the local National Trust and features a small historical museum.

After leaving Port Elliot the train climbs to the top of the coastal cliffs and passengers then experiemce some of the most picturesque coastal scenery on the Fleurieu Peninsula, with nothing separating you from the beach below and a perfect view of the Southern Ocean – in winter the home of Southern Right Whale

After a 30 minute journey the train edges into Victor Harbor station, right in the centre of the town and surrounded with its iconic pine trees. Here, the locomotive is detached from the carriages and turned on a specially retained 30m long electric turntable before rejoining the carriages for the return journey to Goolwa.

The number of trains operated varies through the year.

cockle train


The Cockle train does not have reserved seats.  Most passengers buy their Cockle Train tickets from Victor Harbor, Pt Elliot or Goolwa station ticket offices on day of travel.  Offices open at least 30 minutes before the first train departure of the day.

At Victor and Goolwa stations they accept cash, Visa and Mastercard credit cards and most bank EFTPOS cards.

Port Elliot station only accepts cash.

Passengers can buy tickets at any of the stations for one-way journeys in either direction along the line or for a bargain priced round trip. Trains wait for about 30 minutes at both Goolwa and Victor and roundtrip passengers can extend this period by returning on a later train.

Trains are generally formed by the fleet of heritage Redhen and Brill Railcars, along with assistance from diesel locomotives. Steam is featured during most school holidays and on days where the Southern Encounter operates from Mt Barker.

For Round Trip:

  • Adults | $32
  • Children | $16
  • Seniors | $28
  • Family | $76 

Online Bookings:

Please note: All online bookings must be made a maximum of 48 hours prior to intended travel, to ensure booking officers can process the purchase and have tickets available at the departure point on the day of your visit.


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For more information and all enquiries please visit the SteamRanger Heritage Railway website.

What:   Summer Cockle Trains

When:    27 December 2019 – 27 January 2020 | See timetable here

Where:   Goolwa, Middleton, Port Elliot and Victor Harbor | South Australia

Who:   Everyone

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: SteamRanger Heritage Railway website and Facebook


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