Don’t make the mistake… A ‘train’ means the full length of loco and rolling stock (more accurately called ‘a consist’). The vehicle at the front is only ever an ‘engine’ or a ‘locomotive’.
Early to bed, early to rise… In its heyday, the Roundhouse had 350 men working three eight-hour shifts to maintain, clean and stoke the engines. To heat a loco up to full steam typically took four hours. The job was left to the ‘lighter-upper’ who would need to start work at 2am if an engine was to leave the sheds by 6am.
Respect… Drivers who moved locos in the Roundhouse were seen to have reached the top of their profession and as such were accorded the respectful title ‘Mr’ before their surname.
Easy as ABC… The four pubs of Peterborough run alphabetically along the street: The Federal, The Junction, The Peterborough and The Railway.
Numbers game… At its height in the 1960s, there were more than 100 loco movements on any single day within Peterborough. This was down to eight by the mid-1990s.
Nutty slack…The coal that powered all the locos was shipped in from Newcastle in NSW.
A shifty character… The Roundhouse had a little shunting loco, affectionately known as the ‘Roundhouse Rat’.
Four-square… There are four model trains located at the four entrances to the town. They were all made in steel by local blacksmith, Colin Campbell.
Blowing hot and cold… Peterborough has recorded some of the hottest and coldest days in South Australia: it’s not unusual to experience 45 degrees in summer and -5 degrees in winter.
Stop him not and let him jog… Bob the Railway Dog was a well-loved canine who rode the railways of the late-19th century, covering huge distances on the South Australian network. It’s thought he knew the different whistles of the locos, though the engineers and drivers of the day gave him assisted passage, usually letting him sit in the coal space of loco tenders.
According to the Petersburg Times his favourite place was ‘on a Yankee engine; the big whistle and belching smokestack seem(ed) to have an irresistible attraction for him... He lived on the fat of the land, and was not particular from whom he accepted his dinner.’ You can see Bob’s statue on Main Street. He also has a column in the local newsletter...