Brisbane, QLD

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Just in case you haven't realised already from reading my blog, I must tell you that Bill loves trains. When we did the Lake Eyre Tour in South Australia in 2010 our tour guide told us about the historic Pichi Richi Railway which goes between Pt Augusta and Quorn. We saw books and pictures of it and decided we would go back and travel on it one day. So our friend Ann who organised this trip booked up for us to do the train trip.  First I will explain a little about the rail line. 
The Ghan pulling into Alice Springs Station when we were there some years ago.
We flew there, we have never been on The Ghan.
 The Ghan Train runs right through the centre of Australia from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the north. It was called The Afghan Express and then shortened to 'The Ghan" in memory of the Afghan and Indian cameleers who used to travel in caravans along this route before the rail line was built.
 The line commenced in Port Augusta in 1876 but didn't reach Alice Springs until 1929. The second stage to Darwin wasn't started until 2001 and was completed in 2004.   In 1956  the line was moved to the west a few hundred miles to avoid the continual washouts in the wet season.
The section of line between Port Augusta and Quorn runs through an area called Pichi Richi an aboriginal name of a plant that grows there. The Ghan no longer uses this section of line and in 1974 the Pichi Richi Preservation society restored the line and an original Afghan Express Train, which now takes tourists between Port Augusta and Quorn.   
 We arrived early at the station and watched the volunteers get the train out of its shed and put together for our ride.

 It comes in backwards.

Bill gets his ticket checked by
 a volunteer.

Passing scenery.

 It was fun hanging out from the veranda taking shots until I got soot in my eye.

 We went over an old iron bridge and tourists in cars stopped to take photos of the historic train.

 Grass trees or Xanthorrhoea covered the hillside.

After 2 hours of fun we arrived at Quorn, a beautiful little town that I will show in the next post.


  1. I'm fascinated by the fact that you have volunteers who keep the train-tourism going. And of course, the cleanliness. Lovely post, Diane. I'll be back to read all about Quorn. Have a great week. Jo

  2. Hi Diane, what a fun train ride. The scenery looks pretty and the train station is pretty. I wonder why it took so long 1876-2004 to finish the line, from beginning to the end?

  3. I love Train journeys,how long would it take to do the whole journey?.

  4. Very well, Bill loves trains, you love Bill and I love you blog. So I can see the story about the train with the Indian camel on it.
    On your map I've found Port Augusta but not Quorn. How long is the distance?
    I think it's a wonderful journey.
    Greetings from Switzerland

  5. I think that's really neat that the preservation society restored the railway line.

    It sounds like it was a great experience. I look forward to seeing more of your Quorn photos.

  6. It's so important that these historic railways are preserved. There could be a worse thing than Bill LOVING trains - he could be volunteering ... and then you'd never see him.

  7. I can understand Bill's fascination with trains! Just plain fun! (Except for the soot part.) You passed through some lovely countryside. And the old station looks marvelous... just look at the shape of that building!

  8. Not too many years ago a dog who used to pace the train for a few kilometres. Good to see a steam train in a rather different setting to usual.

  9. me too on loving trains and these are so very colorful, ours here are not bright like these. and even more i love that gnarled old tree by the trestle.

  10. Sounds like you had a fun day on this historic train and I can imagine it was a real treat for Bill. I must do this trip one day!

  11. Are you going to do the full track?


  12. Eilleen: I am not absolutely sure why it took so long but it was probably due to the cost of the construction. It travels through very hot, harsh, dry conditions. The final section cost 1.3 billion dollars. Air travel and road trains were providing the links to the north.

    Cathy: It takes 48 hours on a good day. The train is notorious for its slow pace, and its delays.

    Angels: The distance between Pt Augusta and Quorn is 39 k/25m.

    Andrew: The dog is still there to greet the train as it passes his farmhouse. he runs along by the side of the train for a while.

    Fillip: I doubt that we will ever do the whole Ghan journey. We did part of the Indian Pacific which crosses the country from east to west which I will post about soon. However, we were not too impressed with Australian trains. The tracks are uneven and it is a pretty rocky ride. They are nothing like the intercity European trains but they are still great fun to experience.

  13. i always think of my late husband when i hear about this railway. he visited it years ago. the name just makes me think of him. i used to go to the city every friday night in an old steam train with my mum and sister. i always got soot in my eye because i loved to look out the window. just imagine the oh&s issues. lol

  14. It is so fun to have a ride in such a train, the steam and the quiet speed. You can imagine how things were long ago. It looks great.

  15. I am so jealous I would love to travel on such trains as like Bill I love trains...........

  16. The grass tree photo is wonderful and the huge tree in the bridge photo is most impressive. It must have been fascinating to ride on that steam train through such beautiful countryside!

  17. There is nothing like the old trains..Such character and I bet so many stories to tell...Apparently the Quorn bakery does the best cornish pasty also...Haven`t tried one myself...

  18. Beautiful. I love the depth in your first shot.

  19. Thanks for the interesting information and the pictures. Betsy and I rode a steam train this past summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. At least I didn't get any soot in my eye.

  20. Hi Diane, Tell Bill that I love trains too. I grew up in the coal mining area of southwest Virginia. My Daddy worked for the railroad. When I was little, Daddy would sometimes take me to work with him. I'd get to ride some of the trains ---up front with the engineer... SO much fun!!!!

    George and I rode an old steam engine last summer in West Virginia. I was excited like a little child. LOVED it.

    Great pictures.

  21. Diane
    Why was Bill in the carriage?
    I thought he would have enjoyed the driving part more - the train may have even gone faster.
    Good replies to the questions.
    An another beautiful rail station???

  22. Colin: He wasn't allowed up front.

  23. Trains do so evoke memories, like Yevisha's. Familiar people, smells, senses like the soot in the eyes.

    Thank you so much for sharing the detailed post. I didn't see Quorn on the map... but my eyes aren't so good.

    Anxious to see your next post.

  24. Wow, I would love to be on those trains taking trips.

    I told Phil I was going to investigate our taking a trip (by train) to tour the New England States. I have always wanted to do this, and I would love to do it soon.

  25. What an interesting post!! I had not realised there was a heritage train trip from Quorn to Port Augusta!!!. I shall put it on the list for the next time we are in SOuth Australia. Interestingly Quorn was the location of the Colebrook Children's Home run by the United Aborigines Mission in the 20th Century... so I imagine it was a working line in that respect, too.

  26. Hi Diane,
    Thanks for your visit :)
    To answer your question, I use a Nikon D 3000, Nikon's base model SLR. I actually want to upgrade, but have to save my pennies first. Overall, I like my camera. My one complaint is with the ISO. I pretty much try to shoot at ISO's under 800 because with this camera, ISO's at 800 or above give noisy results.

    Happy shooting!

  27. That is a great train and a great journey on it.

    And by the way, I think the Aboriginal place names you often mention would be as impossible for me to pronounce as our Native American names, like the River we live on, would be for you ;>)

  28. I noticed the camel graphic on the train right away so I'm glad to know what it references.
    A great capture of the moving train and the iron train trestle or that's what we call them here.

  29. I love old trains too ! and making a tour on them is great. What a long distance this train made !!! I wonder how many days it took to arrive.
    The Camel on the end of the trains tells the history !

  30. We didn't manage to do any more than drive through Quorn so really interested in your shots and story. We love trains too.

  31. The train carries camels too?

    My nephews like trains, and they go to Ipwish to see them.

  32. I'm glad you enjoyed your day Diane and Bill - I was one of the chaps on the locomotive that day - I enjoyed your Youtube Video!