Time for another epic train ride – this time on the Indian Pacific which cuts across Australia from Sydney to Perth taking about three days to do so.
I was going to bail early with an exit after a mere 24 hours at Adelaide.
Ok, train spotters, a couple of paragraphs for you…
Why is it called the Indian Pacific? The clue is in the name – from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific.
It opened fairly recently, at least as an unbroken coast to coast connection, only in 1970 and the route includes the world’s longest straight stretch of railway track, a 297 mile stretch of the Trans-Australian Railway over the Nullarbor Plain.
I wouldn’t be crossing this as the Nullarbor Plain lies between Adelaide and Perth.
The part of the route I was travelling was this: from Sydney to Broken Hill and then crossing into South Australia, on the Broken Hill to Crystal Brook line, before heading south to Adelaide – a journey of 1,051 miles.
The route today was to go through the Blue Mountains whereas, a few weeks ago, this had not been possible because of the bushfires.
Boarding was easy… into Central Station, a beautiful building which, as the third attempt at a main station was built in 1906 and is now Heritage Listed.
It was actually built on a cemetery and the bodies were exhumed before construction commenced.
The Indian Pacific train travels only once a week and departure is made an event. It’s more of a cruise on land than a journey by public transport.
After checking in at the entrance to Platform 2, photo identification was all that was required rather than a ticket, I was directed along the platform to a soft drinks and canapes reception.
A very nice lady took my rucksack, which is the first time I’ve checked in luggage on this trip. I expected the cabin to be a little cramped so even though it is only 40 litres I decided it would make a change to be without the luggage.
My carriage was on the half of the train not actually departing from platform 2 so boarding involved walking back down to the concourse to stroll up platform 1.
The train (627m long with 29 carriages) is so long that it is split into half in order to fit alongside the station’s platforms.
This was all very civilised and leisurely though I was less enthusiastic about the on-platform entertainer who repeatedly introduced himself as the ‘resident singer and loudmouth’.
He was also going to be the onboard entertainment it emerged.