Two famous trains travel this line – the Indian Pacific, which runs from Perth to Sydney, and the Trans-Australian which operates between Perth and Adelaide.
The famous Indian Pacific train runs from Perth to Sydney on this line. The Trans Australian Railway includes the longest straight stretch of railway line in the world – 478 kilometres between Nurina and Watson.
Construction of the Trans Australia Railway was started in September 1912 and completed five years later. 3500 men and 800 animals were employed in the building of the railway. An average of 370 kilometres of track per year was laid. The line has 2,500,000 sleepers, 140,000 tons of rails and an average grade of only 1 in 100.
Supply of water was one of the biggest problems facing the railway builders. Local waterholes were grossly inadequate to supply all the water requirements and barrel loads of water had to be brought in by camel. The lack of water remained a problem even after the line was in operation. Steam locomotives used 170 litres per kilometre. The water necessary to operate the locomotives and sustain the small communities at each of the sidings dotted along the track was hauled out and dumped into various dams. The problem of evaporation was severe. Later, treatment plants enabled water from local bores to be used. The change from steam to diesel locomotives in 1951 eased the water supply problem.
© Kim Epton 1995-2018
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