Old Ghan Railway Route - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT
Bush land along the Old Ghan Route south of Alice Springs
Old Ghan Railway Route - FURTHER INFORMATION
Old Ghan Railway Route - Alice Springs visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Old Ghan Railway Route' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Northern Territory.
The Ghan is a passenger train operating between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin on the Adelaide-Darwin railway in Australia. Operated by Great Southern Railway and with locomotives provided by Pacific National, the journey takes 48 hours to travel the 2,979 kilometres. The service's name is an abbreviated version of its previous nickname The Afghan Express, which comes from the Afghan camel trains that trekked the same route before the advent of the railway.
Construction of what is now known as the Ghan began in 1878 when premier of South Australia Sir William Jervois broke ground at Port Augusta. The line reached Hawker in June 1880, Beltana in July 1881, Marree in January 1884 and Oodnadatta on 7 January 1891. It wasn't until 1926 that development to Alice Springs began, and that section was completed in 1929. Prior to completion, the final leg of the train journey was still completed by camel. The train's current name honors Afghan camel drivers who arrived in Australia in the late 19th century to help find a way to reach the country's unexplored interior.
The original Ghan line followed the same track as the overland telegraph, which is believed to be the route taken by John McDouall Stuart during his 1862 crossing of Australia. The original Ghan ran for the last time in 1980. Its preservation is now in the hands of the Ghan Preservation Society who repair sections of the old narrow gauge track and some notable sidings.
The route of the original Ghan is now a heritage trail suitable for 4WD vehicles. South of Alice Springs the route crosses landscape typical for the Red Centre with red sand dunes covered by spinifex and rugged dark red mountain ranges.