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.

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.


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The Cockle Train Experience

The Cockle Train departing Middleton

The Cockle Train departing Middleton

The Cockle Train is based at our 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 our 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. Passengers can buy tickets at any of our 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 our fleet of heritage Redhen and Brill Railcars, along with assistance from diesel locomotives. Steam is featured during most school holiday's and on days where the Southern Encounter operates from Mt Barker.

Operating Dates


COVID-19 Return to Service - June 2020:
Cockle Train services will operate to the blue timetable on the following dates:
June 6th, June 7th, June 8th, June 21st and June 28th.

Wednesday services will not operate during the month of June & Wednesday July 1st.


Various timetables apply during different times of the year, and an operating day is associated with a special event. Please match the coloured header, with the colours on the above calendar.



Buying Tickets

The Cockle train does not have reserved seats
Passengers can buy their Cockle Train tickets online or from Victor Harbor, Pt Elliot or Goolwa station ticket offices on day of travel. We recommend purchasing online so we know to expect you!

Offices open at least 30 minutes before the first train departure of the day.
At Victor and Goolwa stations we accept cash, VISA and MASTERCARD credit cards and most bank EFTPOS cards.
Port Elliot station only accepts cash.

Online Bookings

Click HERE to make a booking online.

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



Family Tickets are 2 Adults and 2 Children, aged 4 and above.

Children under 4 travel free.

Seniors fares are only available on presentation of a Seniors Card.

  Return Fares Single Fare
Goolwa to (or v.v) Adult Child Senior Family Adult Child
Middleton $15.00 $8.00     $10.00 $5.00
Pt. Elliot $20.00 $11     $13.00 $7.00
Victor Harbor $32.00 $16.00 $28.00 $76.00 $20.00 $11.00
Middleton to (or v.v) Adult Child Senior Family Adult Child
Pt. Elliot $5.00 $3.00     $3.50 $2.00
Victor Harbor $17.00 $9.00     $11.00 $6.00
Goolwa $15.00 $8.00     $10.00 $5.00
Pt. Elliot to (or v.v) Adult Child Senior Family Adult Child
Victor Harbor $12.00 $6.00     $8.00 $4.00
Goolwa $20.00 $11.00     $13.00 $7.00
Round Trip $32.00 $16.00 $28.00 $76.00    

Hot Weather Policy

In the event a total fire ban is issued for the Mt Lofty Ranges, trains scheduled to operate using steam locomotives will be substituted by diesel railcars or diesel locomotives.

Likewise, in the event the forecast for Victor Harbor is expected to be 35 degrees Celsius or above, Cockle Train's will not operate.