Posted by: travelrat | February 1, 2012

The Pichi Richi Railway

We’re really going back for this one … back beyond the start of the blog, back to even beyond the ‘Trip Diary’. Back to 1992 … and that was so long ago, I had to check the stamps on an old passport to remember which year it happened.

Of course, it’s easier now I have a digital camera, because all my pictures are date-stamped. But, back then, I don’t believe I even had a computer.

Since we’re about to take a journey on the Ghan, though, I thought I would write something about a trip on the Pichi Richi Railway. This runs over the Pichi Richi Pass, in the Flinders Ranges, and the track it runs on used to be part of the ‘old’ 3’6″ gauge Ghan. Nowadays, of course, it’s standard gauge, and by-passes the mountains completely.

The train operates between Quorn and Port Augusta, although, when we rode it, the line only went as far as a place called Woolshed Flats. The engine, ‘W6’, came from Western Australia, which, like South Australia and Queensland, used this gauge extensively. I later saw one of the original Ghan engines in the National Railway Museum, in Port Adelaide.

They don’t always operate a steam loco, though, in fact, they close down completely during the summer months, and, on days of serious fire risk, it’s replaced by a diesel loco. And, even when a steam loco is operated, it’s followed by a diesel with fire-fighting equipment aboard.

Riding in those old-time carriages was fun, and the end platforms made excellent photographic vantage points. It took me back to the early 60s, when I lived in Adelaide, and such carriages were … well, not in regular use, but brought out when the need arose. But, I don’t think I would have cared for an overnight trip to Alice Springs in one.



  1. Hi Keith,
    Excellent photos of the old train. I’m so glad you hear you really enjoyed it all back then, it’s great to learn the history of these things, there is always a story to be told, and I know you will enjoy your new trip coming up as well. 🙂

  2. Oi! Who’s the young fella in the photo…with the short-shorts! LOL

    • Looks kind of familiar, doesn’t he? Was my hair ever that colour? 😀

  3. What a wonderful piece of history. Those old trains really were classics. I still love them to this day. Love the shorts 😀

  4. good pictures of the old train 🙂

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