Tag Archives: The Ghan

Double Headed Steam: Pichi Richi Railway

So far in this series of posts, we’ve followed the Pichi Richi Railway’s Afghan Express heritage train from Port Augusta up into the Pichi Richi Pass as far as Woolshed Flat in:

Head full of steam

and

Heading for the hills

This third post starts at Woolshed Flat and what attracted me to come up to see the Pichi Richi Railway on this particular weekend is revealed – the rare opportunity to see a steam double-headed train. Waiting at Woolshed Flat for the Ghan Express to arrive was the Pichi Richi Explorer, a second heritage steam service that had come up to Woolshed Flat from the other end of the line at Quorn.

W22, Pichi Richi Railway

The Pichi Richi Explorer

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Heading for the hills: Pichi Richi Railway

NM25, Afghan Express, Pichi Richi Railway

Continuing on from the prior post, we follow the Pichi Richi Railways’ Afghan Express as it heads out of Port Augusta and up into the Flinders Ranges through the Pichi Richi Pass.

If you haven’t taken a look at the earlier post Head full of steam: Pichi Richi Railway I suggest you take a look there before continuing with this post.

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Head full of steam: Pichi Richi Railway

Yep, I’m back to posting about trains again. It’s been a year since the last post dedicated to trains, so that’s not too bad for self discipline!

There are two historical railway societies within South Australia running regularly scheduled tourist railways. One is the Steamranger Heritage Railway operating in the Adelaide Hills and along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula  and which I have previously looked at in several posts. The other society is the Pichi Richi Railway located some 300 kilometres (200 miles) north of Adelaide in the southern Flinders Ranges.

In early October 2013 I took a major detour on the way from Adelaide to a camping weekend along the Murray River to first head to Port Augusta and check out the Pichi Richi operations. Photos from this trip were to have been posted to Photo Morsels but an unexpected visit to the National Railway Museum in suburban Port Adelaide later in October yielded an extensive collection of photos. Those photos rather than the Pichi Richi photos ended up appearing on Photo Morsels in late 2013.

I still intended though that the Pichi Richi photos were to have been a follow-on series published soon thereafter. The ‘soon thereafter’ didn’t eventuate, so with considerable delay, let’s now take a look at the Pichi Richi Railway.

The Pichi Richi Railway is headquartered in the township of Quorn, historically an important railway junction straddling the east/west line across Australia and the railway that headed north to Alice Springs. The heritage railway workshops are in Quorn, but rolling stock is also stored in Port Augusta. This allows heritage services to be operated out of either location.

Joining Port Augusta to Quorn is 39 kilometres (24 miles) of lightly built narrow gauge railway. This section of line was built in 1878 as part of the South Australian Railways’ Port Augusta & Government Gums Railway, and later formed a part of the Commonwealth Railways Central Australian Railway and the east-west Transcontinental line. The original Ghan passenger service operated on the line initially to the remote South Australian community of Oodnadatta and later to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. The section of track maintained by the Pichi Richi Railway is the oldest remaining section of this now abandoned and largely removed narrow gauge track. The Ghan still runs, but on standard gauge track built in the late 1970’s on a completely different alignment to the original.

This post looks at the assembly of an Afghan Express heritage service prior to its run from Port Augusta to Quorn and back.

NM25, Pichi Richi Railway

After building up steam, former Commonwealth Railways 4-8-0 locomotive NM25 brings the some of the original Ghan’s wooden railway carriages out of the storage sheds located at the Port Augusta railway station.

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