History of Morphett Vale Railway

MVRail was founded on 24th July 1977. After a short period, suitable land to establish the railway was found at Wilfred Taylor Reserve, Morphett Vale, and a lease negotiated with the Noarlunga City Council, (now City of Onkaparinga).

Basic facilities and a simple track layout were constructed initially. Over the past 10-15 years the railway has undergone rapid expansion with the construction of a Signal Cabin, numerous workshop extensions, and track and rolling stock improvements.

Today, MVRail boasts around 40+ items of rollingstock and around 2kms of new and refurbished track. Additionally, a semi-automatic, fully interlocked, colour-light signalling system has been installed; this is based upon prototype practice.

The rolling-stock fleet consists of 4 diesel locomotives, numerous maintenance wagons and a large passenger car fleet. MVRail does not own any steam locomotives.

Other highlights include the large lattice girder bridge, (known as Algebuckina Bridge), which crosses Christies Creek. This bridge is over 40 metres in length and is the highest (and longest) public miniature railway bridge in South Australia.

Additional features include Turntable and Traverser facilities, clubrooms, workshops, two-storey Signal Cabin and railway station.

P20 Locomotive

The original was based on a GM design and built in NSW during the 1950s for the Victorian Railways.

They ran in SA in the Freight Australia livery. The model was built by a member over 18 months.

Powered by a Kubota Diesel with hydraulic drive to two 4 wheel bogies (BO-BO). It is 3.3m long and weighs 850kg.


Amelia is 2-6-2 Tender Locomotive based on locomotives built in the USA for use in South America.

Built by a member it took app 3,000 hours over 4 years to construct.

Including the tender it is 3m long  and weighs 600kg. Like all American locomotives Amelia has a bell.

SA Railways 904 Diesel

The original locomotive, built in 1951 at the Islington Workshop was the first mainline diesel electric locomotive in Australia.

This model was built from works drawings by an MVR member who drove the original.

Powered by a Kubota motor with hydraulic drive to all axles.
Scale 1 3/4” : foot (0.14)

GM Diesel

The original was built under licence from GM by Clyde Engineering in Sydney for the Commonwealth Railways in 1951. It operated out of the Port Augusta yards across to Perth.
The model belongs to MVR.

Powered by a Ford motor with hydraulic drive to two six wheel bogies (CO-CO).
Scale 1 ½”:foot (0.12)
Weight 500 kg

SA Railways 727

Designed in 1929 and built at Islington the original SA Railways 720 class was part of a group of locomotives that revolutionized Australian Railways. Based on an American style 2-8-4 Mikado it was at the time the largest and most powerful locomotive in Australia.

The model was built by a member in 1987 and then extensively rebuilt by another member in 2012.


The original locomotive was imported from Germany for use in the Kalgoorlie mines in 1905.

Helga was first steamed in 1977 and saw 30 years service in Melbourne before being rebuilt by an MVR member 10 years ago. He has also built a rake of scale rolling stock for Helga.

F40 Locomotive

Based on a GM design built to haul Amtrak passenger trains across the United States.
Powered by a Nissan Engine with hydraulic drive to two 4 wheel bogies (BO-B0). It weighs 700kg.

The Locomotive belongs to MVRail.


Named by a Perth siding Koojedda is a model of a WA government Railways D Class 4-6-4 tank locomotive.
Built for use on Perth suburban trains they were also used for light freights & shunters.

The model was built in WA 1992 & overhauled in 2015.


CK4 was originally a Victorian T class locomotive.

In SA it served as a ‘banker’ in the Adelaide hills. It was transferred to Genesee & Wyoming for use at Whyalla. The model was built by member Jeff Hague over 18 months.

Powered by a Kubota Diesel with hydraulic drive to two 4 wheel bogies (BO-BO). It is 3.3m long and weighs 850kg.

P20 belongs to MVRail and is the newest locomotive on our roster.

Colossus and the Fire Train

Colossus is our track maintenance locomotive. It was built MVRail members.
Powered by a Honda engine with hydraulic drive to an 0-6-0 wheel arrangement. It weighs around 300 kg.

During summer running days it is kept coupled to the fire train which forms a key part of our fire precautions. The two water tank cars, pump and hose equip us to fight a fire anywhere along the track.

The Algebuckina Bridge

Modeled on the Algebuckina Bridge on the Ghan line our bridge is the longest and highest model railway bridge in SA.

The bridge which spans Christies Creek, is made from beams from the old Bowden Gasworks.

Malcolm Butler Tunnel

Named in honour of Macolm Butler, a long time member of MVRail the tunnel is the latest enhancement to the track.

It was completed in 2016 and formally opened in 2017 to mark the club’s 40th anniversary.