It’s a Great 3-Night Ride, Mate!

Seven years ago, I flew to Australia and took both of their trans-continental trains. These are just a few of the photos I took during the three-night ride on the flagship train that crosses the continent between Perth on the Indian Ocean in the west and Sydney on the Pacific Ocean in the east—hence the name of the train: the Indian Pacific.

 I’ll admit I was very excited about this trip. I wasn’t alone. I got to Sydney’s main station more than 90-minutes before the scheduled departure time and joined several of the other passengers trying to look nonchalant as we prowled the platform, peering into the windows, anxious to board.

 My accommodations weren’t fancy, but were very adequate: an upholstered seat running the width of the compartment and an en suite lavatory with shower. The wide seat slid down to form a very comfortable bed at night.

 Around the middle of the afternoon on the second day—this was a three-night trip—we stopped at the town of Cook where the locomotives were fueled and serviced. Originally a town of several dozen people, Cook’s population was two—not two dozen, just two—on the day we stopped there. The two ladies were working in the souvenir shop when we stopped. One joked that the town’s population would double in a few days when their husbands returned on the next train through.

 Cook is situated near the beginning of the longest perfectly straight stretch of railroad track in the world: straight as a string due west for 297 miles.

 They’re hard to see, even after I’ve enlarged the photo, but that’s a herd of wild camels out there. They were originally brought to Australia to transport men and supplies into the outback when the railroad was being built.
I spend several days in Perth at the end of this journey, then flew up to Darwin to take the north-south train, the Ghan. Photos from that trip coming next.

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