The long awaited day had come – we were starting our journey on the legendary Ghan Railway. The first Ghan train started out way back in 1929, carrying 100 passengers and supplies to Alice Springs, formerly known as Stuart. The train played a crucial part during WW11, carrying troops with as many as 247 trains running each week during 1944. Finally in 2001 the line was extended from Alice Springs onto Darwin, a trip of 2979 kms.
Ready to start our Ghan adventure
We are travelling in Gold Class – in reality a small self contained cabin with a sofa, which converts into two bunks in the evenings. We were requested to wait in our cabin until our hostess had called in to tell us of all the rules and regulations.
Our small cabin in the daytime configeration
Our tiny all in one bathroom
Lunch was served soon after departure, and then we spent the rest of the afternoon in the Outback Explorer Lounge, chatting to other passengers. Most seemed to be Aussie, so there was quite a bit of Aussie-Kiwi banter going on. We checked out the passing scenery, most of the ground cover was quite green, but this is sure to change before too long. There was great excitement when the train entered several curves, and the keen photographers rushed from window to window to snap a few photos.
The front of our train.
Two locos are pulling three power vans, 38 carriages, 40 crew and 300 passengers. At a length of 900m the average weight of the train is 1700 tonnes, rolling along at speeds ranging from 85km/h to 115km/h. The train chugged slowly into Port Augusta, and stopped for a while to change crew.
Port Augusta station.
We were given an allocated time for the evening meal at 8.00pm, and enjoyed a tasty three cores meal in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant.. The waiting staff really work hard, rushing to and fro taking orders, delivering plates of food, and everything done with a friendly smile.
Ready for our dinner
While we were dining, a staff member was busy changing all the cabins to the sleeping configuration. Two bunks, a ladder, and a chocolate on each pillow. It’s been a busy day, I’m sure we will sleep like babes tonight, gently rocked by the motion of the train.
Our Sleeping configuration