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the ghan rail australia

10 things you didn’t know about The Ghan

10 things you didn’t know about The Ghan

The Ghan is a world-famous train, which travels a legendary route through the heart of Australia. The wonderful views are ever changing, made even better by being seen from the comfort of your cabin. Read on to learn more about the Ghan in these 10 fascinating facts about The Ghan:

    1. It was one of the biggest feats of engineering in history, costing over £500,000 million in today’s money.


    1. The Ghan railway route was named in honour of the Afghan cameleers who, prior to the rail line being built, would laboriously transport vital goods to remote Outback Australian communities.


    1. The Ghan used to be notorious for being late, on one notable occasion running three months late due to flooding on its journey from Adelaide to Alice Springs. It was said: ‘the timetable was matter more of hope than fact’. Luckily now, a journey on The Ghan railway will be much more punctual!


    1. On 22nd May 2017, The Ghan broke records as Australia’s longest passenger train in over a decade. Leaving Adelaide with 44 carriages and two locomotives, The Ghan headed for Darwin with a total length of 1,096 metres.


    1. In 1949, the top speed allowed was 20 miles per hour, as it was thought to be dangerous to travel at speeds any faster. Thankfully today that speed has substantially increased to a maximum of 70 miles per hour, although the average is a steady 50 mph.


    1. The track up to Darwin was only opened in 2004, linking the south of Australia with the far north – an epic journey taken over 2 nights. More than half a million people have travelled on this route since the new leg of the journey opened.


    1. The Ghan train was used to transport troops in World War II, and to this day there is an annual tribute trip between Adelaide and Darwin to pay tribute to the ANZAC war veterans.


    1. It used to be possible to climb aboard The Ghan in one season and disembark in another due to the length and duration of the journey. Nowadays, although the journey is shorter, the contrast between the cool, temperate climate of Adelaide and the hot, desert climate of Alice Springs is just as striking.


    1. Each journey on board The Ghan railway is made up of an average of 30 carriages, including guest carriages, separate crew quarters, lounges, restaurants and power vans.


    1. Over 60,000 excited passengers are transported on board The Ghan every year.


As The Ghan facts show, you don’t have to be a Michael Portillo-type train enthusiast to want to ride this world-class train and experience the luxury service at the Ghan and the beauty of Australia. Sit back and lose yourself in the ever-changing landscapes, knowing you are experiencing a truly iconic travel experience on board The Ghan railway.

Images: Simon Pielow under Creative Commons








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