Indian Pacific railway car
|Service type||Transcontinental passenger rail|
|First service||23 February 1970|
|Current operator(s)||Great Southern Rail|
|Former operator(s)||New South Wales Government Railways|
South Australian Railways
Western Australian Government Railways
|End||East Perth Terminal|
|Distance travelled||4,352 kilometres|
|Average journey time||70.5-75 hours|
|Line(s) used||Main Western|
Broken Hill-Crystal Brook
|Rolling stock||Commonwealth Railways stainless steel carriage stock|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Operating speed||115 km/h|
The Indian Pacific is an Australian passenger rail service that operates between Sydney, on the Pacific Ocean, and Perth, on the Indian Ocean. It is one of the few truly transcontinental trains in the world. The train first ran in February 1970 after the completion of gauge conversion projects in South and Western Australia.
The service was originally operated jointly by the New South Wales Government Railways, South Australian Railways, Commonwealth Railways and Western Australian Government Railways, until February 1993 when Australian National took full ownership. In October 1997, the Indian Pacific was sold to Great Southern Rail.
A one-way trip takes between 70.5 and 75 hours, depending on scheduling and daylight saving periods. The train currently has two classes, branded as Platinum and Gold Service. A motorail service conveys passengers' motor vehicles between Adelaide and Perth.
The first Indian Pacific service left Sydney on 23 February 1970, becoming the first direct train to cross the Australian continent, made possible by the completion of the east-west standard gauge project a few months earlier.
The service was originally operated jointly by the four operators whose networks it traversed, with revenues and costs apportioned New South Wales Government Railways (28.5%), South Australian Railways (10%), Commonwealth Railways (45%) and Western Australian Government Railways (16.5%).
Locomotives and crews were provided by the New South Wales Government Railways between Sydney and Broken Hill, South Australian Railways between Broken Hill and Port Pirie, the Commonwealth Railways between Port Pirie and Kalgoorlie and Western Australian Government Railways between Kalgoorlie and Perth. With the formation of Australian National in July 1975, it provided locomotives and crews from Broken Hill to Kalgoorlie. Locomotives were changed at Lithgow, Broken Hill, Port Pirie and Kalgoorlie.
On-board crews were originally provided between Sydney and Port Pirie by Commonwealth Railways on one service and New South Wales Government Railways on the other services, Commonwealth Railways between Port Pirie and Kalgoolie and West Australian Government Railways between Kalgoolie and Perth.
The train originally operated twice per week. In July 1973, a third service was introduced followed in July 1975 by a fourth, these later two being extensions of existing Trans Australian services. By 1983, the service had been reduced to three times weekly.
The service was suspended from 2 December 1982 to 25 April 1983 due to an industrial dispute over staffing levels in South Australia. From August 1986, the train commenced operating via Adelaide.
In February 1993, Australian National took over operation of the service throughout after agreement was reached with the State Rail Authority and Westrail in 1992. From January 1994 the service was operated throughout by Australian National CL class locomotives. Australian National restored a second weekly service.
As part of the privatisation of Australian National, the Indian Pacific, along with The Ghan and The Overland, was sold to Great Southern Rail in October 1997. Motive power provision was contracted to National Rail. Today the Indian Pacific operates weekly. A second service operated between September and November until 2015.
The route leaves Sydney and travels via the Western and Broken Hill lines to Broken Hill. It then crosses into South Australia on the Broken Hill to Crystal Brook line before heading south to Adelaide. Before the conversion of the Crystal Brook to Adelaide line to standard gauge, passengers for Adelaide had to change at Port Pirie. However, from August 1986, the Indian Pacific was diverted to make an out-and-back trip to Adelaide adding 390 kilometres (240 mi) to the journey. From Crystal Brook it heads north to Port Augusta and then via the Trans-Australian Railway to Kalgoorlie including travelling over the world's longest straight stretch of railway track on the Nullarbor Plain measuring 478 kilometres (297 mi). It then heads via the Eastern Goldfields and Eastern lines to its terminus at East Perth.
In 1970, the journey took 75 hours. With subsequent infrastructure improvements and reductions to the time needed to change locomotives and crew, the journey now takes 65 hours despite the longer distance.
Motive power for the Indian Pacific is a Pacific National NR class diesel-electric locomotive, often one of the five (NR18, NR25-NR28) that have been repainted in Indian Pacific livery. The lead locomotive is assisted by a 81, G or second NR class between Sydney and Adelaide. In 2014, NR25-NR28 were repainted in a new livery that is much closer to that of Pacific National.
To operate the service, a fleet of 22.92-metre (75.2 ft) stainless steel carriages, power vans and luggage vans was built by Commonwealth Engineering, Granville in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Originally, the services operated in consists of 12 carriages. Today, the weekly service consists of up to 25 carriages and two motorail wagons. Because of its length, the train is split in two when stabled at Sydney Central station.
The train originally offered just 52 first-class sleeping berths and 96 second-class sleeping berths. However, the train was limited to 144 passengers, as this was the number that could be serviced by three sittings in the 48-seat dining car.
From 1973, the accommodation was altered to provide 88 first-class sleeping berths and 64 second-class. The club-cafeteria car also provided a small number of second-class seats for short-distance travelers on the Commonwealth Railways segment.
From 1975, Australian National provided full sitting carriages west of Port Pirie on two journeys per week. The New South Wales Government Railways initially resisted providing sitting accommodation over the whole journey, but State Rail Authority HUB/RUB sitting carriages were included between Sydney and Port Pirie from 1980, with Australian National providing sitting carriages further west. Sitting carriages provided by Australian National became part of the full through service from Sydney to Perth in 1988.
The train formerly had four classes, branded as Platinum, Gold Service, Red Service Sleeper and Red Service Daynighter. The Platinum Service was introduced in 2008 as a premium class of travel. The Gold Service, the former first-class service, features either roomette or twinette sleeper cabins, with complimentary meals in the restaurant car.
Red Service, the equivalent of economy class, featured both dual-berth shared sleeper cabins and airline-style 'sit-up' seats similar to other Australian trains. It also had its own restaurant car. Red Service was withdrawn in July 2016.
The train also has a Motorail service to carry passengers' motor vehicles. This facility was available throughout the journey until November 2015, when it was reduced to only operate between Adelaide and Perth.
Following the conversion of the Adelaide to Melbourne railway line to standard gauge in 1995, the Indian Pacific made a promotional trip from Perth to Brisbane via Melbourne over 6 days in June of that year.
In recent years, the Indian Pacific has operated a Christmas Train with a notable music personality on board.
Some of the performers on board have been: David Campbell (2007), Human Nature (2006), Guy Sebastian (2005), Jimmy Barnes (2004), John Paul Young (2003), Marcia Hines (2002), John Williamson (2001) and Nikki Webster (2000).
- 24 December 1975: 13 of the 25 carriages on the eastbound train derailed due to a collapsed bogie on the leading carriage, east of the remote Nullarbor siding of Rawlinna. Three of the 200 passengers were injured; they were flown from Forrest to Adelaide.
- 24 January 1978: The westbound train derailed near Forbes, New South Wales as a result of wet weather washing away part of the track. The train had been diverted south through Forbes, because of washaways between Parkes and Broken Hill. Three of the 153 passengers were taken to Forbes District Hospital.
- 18 August 1999: Zanthus train collision - the westbound train was accidentally directed into a crossing loop occupied by an eastbound train at Zanthus.
- 3 December 1999: Glenbrook train disaster - a CityRail Intercity train ran into the back of the eastbound train at Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Seven people died, all on the CityRail train.
- 26 November 2017: At 10:12 am, just 600 metres after departing from East Perth Station, the Indian Pacific, heading for Sydney, derailed. “The second carriage jumped the tracks, grinding the train-ride to a halt.”
- "The Indian Pacific". Great Southern Rail. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Indian Pacific Timetables". Great Southern Rail. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- Facts about the Nullabor Plain Outback Australia Travel Guide
- "Indian Paific Timetables". Great Southern Rail. 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
- "The Indian Pacific Fares 2016-2017". Great Southern Rail. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Taking your car - Indian Pacific". Great Southern Rail. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Indian Pacific train turns 40". WA Today. www.theage.com.au. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
- Higham, Geoffrey (2007). Marble Bar to Mandurah: A history of passenger rail services in Western Australia. Bassendean: Rail Heritage WA. p. 150. ISBN 978 0 9803922 0 3.
- "Indian Pacific back after long strike". The Age. 26 April 1983.
- "Western Report" Railway Digest September 1986 page 281
- "Interstate cutbacks" Railway Digest July 1991 page 231
- "Indian Pacific service cut to weekly" Railway Digest February 1992 page 50
- "IP to come under sole control of AN" Railway Digest March 1992
- "IP handed to AN" Railway Digest February 1993
- "CLP Class Locos Take-Over Indian Pacific Workings" Railway Digest March 1994
- Great Southern Railway Consortium completes acquisition of Australian National Railways Passenger Business Archived 10 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine Serco Group plc 31 October 1997
- Indian Pacific Timetables 2016-2017 Great Southern Rail
- Indian Pacific Timetables 2015-2016 Great Southern Rail
- Vincent, Peter (27 September 2006). "Railroaded Into Fun". The Age. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
- Staff, AG (22 September 2010). "Indian Pacific celebrates 40 years". Australian Geographic. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
- "Carriage Review" Railway Digest November 1986 page 351
- Dunn, John (2010). Comeng A History of Commonwealth Engineering Volume 3 1966-1977. Rosenberg Publishing. pp. 16–35. ISBN 9781877058905.
- "Compare Service Levels". Great Southern Railway. Archived from the original on 28 March 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
- High rollers only for rail as Indian Pacific cuts economy class ABC News 8 March 2016
- Taking Your Car - Indian Pacific Great Southern Rail
- "Special Agents". Sydney Morning Herald. 10 February 1970.
- Evans, John (2004), "Australia's Longest Passenger Train" (PDF), Table Talk, Australian Timetable Association Previously Australian Association of Timetable Collectors (141), p. 3
- "The Indian Pacific's Commemorative Rail Journey" Railway Digest July 1995
- Platt, Craig (21 December 2007). "Getting Into the Christmas Spirit(s)". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
- Simmonds, Diana (19 April 2007). "On the Right Track". The Australian. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
- Nader, Carol (17 December 2005). "Splendid Isolation". The Age. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
- "Indian Pacific Outback Christmas". Archived from the original on 3 January 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
- Air Doctor, Issue 325, February 2006. Page 10. Great Southern Railway Spreading The Joy Of Christmas. Retrieved 2 March 2009
- "Indian-Pacific derailed". The Canberra Times. 50, (14, 258). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 26 December 1975. p. 3. Retrieved 10 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Indian Pacific train derailed". The Canberra Times. 52, (14, 993). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 25 January 1978. p. 3. Retrieved 10 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Chronology of Australian Train Crashes". The Daily Telegraph. Australian Associated Press. 6 June 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- Daly, Jon (26 November 2017). "'A pain-in-the-a**e': Indian Pacific derails 600m from East Perth Station". WA Today. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
- Adam-Smith, Patsy; Rodda, Lindsay (1971). Across Australia by Indian-Pacific. Melbourne: Thomas Nelson (Australia). ISBN 0170019535.
- Attenborough, Peter (2009). Indian Pacific. Australian Trains series. Matraville, NSW: Eveleigh Press. ISBN 9781876568511.
- Brodie, Will (4 January 2012). "Travelling on Australia's longest train journey". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
- Chenu, Mal (19 September 2010). "Laughing all the way". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
- Cubby, Ben (13 November 2008). "Line dancer". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
- Dennis, Anthony; Bird, Ross (1991). Ribbons of Steel: Riding the Indian-Pacific. North Sydney: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1863730583.
- Dennis, Anthony (8 November 2015). "Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth review: Ribbons of Steel". traveller.com.au. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
- Dixon, Craig (21 December 2010). "Nullarbor Christmas odyssey". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
- Downes, Jim; Daum, Berthold (1997). The Indian-Pacific: from coast to coast. Cromer, Vic: Lichtbild. ISBN 0646312634.
- Jackson, Gabrielle (18 February 2016). "The Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth: a trip to Australia through the middle of nowhere". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
- Karnikowski, Nina (29 December 2012). "Rolling in luxury". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
- LaPersonne, Gary (13 November 2008). "Memories in the middle". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
- Lewis, Steven (2011). Hot Silver: Riding the Indian Pacific. Sydney: Taleist. ISBN 9780980855951.
- Madgwick, Steve (31 March 2016). "The Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth – a train journey for time travellers". Australian Traveller. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- Nader, Carol (13 November 2008). "Splendid isolation". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
- Smith, Keith A. (2004). Tales from a Railway Odyssey: Nullarbor Interlude: a recollection of a railway journey across Australia with Lord Louis Mountbatten. Encounter Bay, SA: Robin Rise Books. ISBN 1864770406.