Ben spends a night at a train station. It's way cool!
If you're visiting Mount Lofty in the Adelaide Hills and need to catch a train, think again. Trains don't stop at Mount Lofty Railway Station any longer.
Jim Emmet bought the 1880s railway station, which has not been used since 1987, and has turned it into a unique holiday retreat.
The railway line, the main interstate line between Adelaide and Melbourne, is still in operation. The Overland express passes by twice a day, four days a week, and on average around 10 trains pass by each day.
Jim has provided four bedrooms and up to 18 people can stay. He has kept to the spirit of the past and provides comfort with the original atmosphere. The result is very much like a big old country home. You can book a single room and share the station with other people guesthouse style or book the entire station for family or group occupancy.
It took Jim a couple of years to be given the necessary leases and approvals. Now he has a long-term lease from the state government. It is one of the few owner-operated railway stations capable of still being used all Jim needs now is a train.
The building contains the equipment necessary to operate the railway, with relays for changing signals and points. Not that they are used. Everything is now operated electronically from a central control in the city.
Of course, train enthusiasts just love the concept. Even the one room which looks directly onto the platform, which can be noisy when trains come through, is in high demand. Most guests, though, report that noise is far less than they imagined and most of the time it is all blissfully quiet.
Jim's office is in the 1884 signal box next to the main building.
The surrounding area is one of the Hills' most-admired residential districts, with open spaces, large historic homes and gardens. It is easy to reach cafes, restaurants, wineries, the Cleland Wildlife Park, Warrawong Sanctuary and the charming town of Hahndorf.