TRAVEL & TRANSPORT

The Ghan
Australia Crest

Train to Alice Springs named for the Afghans brought to Australia in the 1800s to handle the early outback mode of transport - the camels. When rail replaced the camels on August 4th, 1929, it was called the Afghan Express, later the Ghan.

The train, with all the charm of the Orient Express, leaves Melbourne for the Alice via Adelaide on a 36 hour trip, leaving Spencer St. station late Wednesday evenings and, after a 3 hour stopover, from Adelaide 3.00 pm.

Thursdays and direct from Adelaide 3.00 pm. Mondays. The train wends its way past towns and hamlets with names like Dimboola (where have I seen that name in Dinkum Aussies?), Salisbury Loop and Diapur Loop through Victoria and South Australia on its way to the quaintness of Adelaide.

After Adelaide the terrain changes from the dryness of the sheep country and the wheatfields to the reddening deeper as you go on of the Northern Territory. The country can be so dry at times that no water may be seen between Adelaide and the Alice, some 1,500 km.

The train is for tourists mainly, with prices which are reasonable for such a once-off experience and the First Class Sleepers are very comfortable. Holiday Class can obtain meals and refreshments from Cafe Matilda. and all meals are included in First Class. We are supposing that Coach Class should bring sandwiches and a flask of coffee with them for the journey?

On April 11th, 1999, the inaugural departure of the Ghan from Sydney left for Alice Springs, farewelled by Lord Mayor, Frank Sartor. The Ghan will depart from Sydney 1.15 p.m. each Sunday.

The Ghan is owned and operated by the Great Southern Railway and for bookings and details from within Australia ring 13 21 47


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