Indian Pacific car transport

Submitted: Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 17:14
ThreadID: 109583 Views:7001 Replies:3 FollowUps:22
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We are looking to transport our Toyota Landcruiser 200 series and Track T Van from Adelaide to Perth on the Indian Pacific.

They seem uncomfortable carrying the T Van.

Has anyone completed the trip with the same or similar camper trailer.
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Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 17:57

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 17:57
When I read this in the thread list I wondered about the "cat" and the difficulty with cats and the Indian Pacific.

You might get more response if you re-post with "CT" instead of "cat" in the title, or ask the mods if they will change it for you.

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AnswerID: 539402

Follow Up By: pling - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 18:21

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 18:21
Thank you, been a bad day!

Should be car transport.
FollowupID: 824024

Reply By: Ron N - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 19:33

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 19:33
pling, I don't understand your statement; "They seem uncomfortable carrying the T van".

The conditions of Indian Pacific Motorail carriage are pretty clear to me.

"Caravans, including pop tops and boats are not able to be conveyed by Motorail."

Great Southern Rail - Taking your car

The NR locos that haul the IP can do 115kmh, and they'll do that speed for extended periods. That train speed, coupled with regular strong wind gusts across the plains would be able to create some serious stresses on campers that could cause damage to them. GSR don't want to be held responsible for damage to campers and caravans that are usually fairly lightweight in construction, so they normally decline to carry them.

There have been derailments caused by strong winds across the Nullarbor.

Blow-down derailments (scroll down to 6th picture for Trans-Line derailment stories)
AnswerID: 539407

Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 19:48

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 19:48
O.K. - I see the confusion problem. They state they will take campers and camper trailers on Motorail.
I was under the impression the T Van would classed as a caravan - although the manufacturer calls it a camper trailer.

Regardless, there's one simple reason GSR would decline to carry the T Van.
The specifications for the T Van state an unladen height of 2050mm.

The maximum height allowance for Adelaide-Perth on the IP is 1940mm.
FollowupID: 824029

Follow Up By: pling - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 20:52

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 20:52
Thanks Ron for your info.

My 200 would also not fit as it has a 50mm lift, let alone the roof rack.

The T Van came down from Brisbane on the top level of the car carry truck with no problems, so looks like it may go by truck to Perth as they have no problem carrying the 200 or the T Van together.

kind regards
FollowupID: 824031

Follow Up By: 08crd - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 21:38

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 21:38
Both answers are correct, I took the Jeep Commander on the train.
The height relates to the underpasses and bridge clearances.
But with regard the speed, I woke up in the middle of the night on the nullabor section. The first thing that struck me was the speed we were doing, I thought $hit we are in the air as much as on the rail, we were really barreling and swaying along.
When morning came, we were meandering along at normal speed again.
FollowupID: 824034

Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 21:49

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 21:49
pling - google,, and

Give all your details about the preferred move date, the load, the dimensions, and anything else of relevance.

These people will all come back to you rapidly with quotes from interested carriers.

The 200 and T Van is going to be a problem even to road-based car transporters. This is due to the dimensions. Most car transporter trailers are pretty tight on dimension allowances.
You will most likely get an offer to transport on a flat deck, or on a cradle mounted on a flat deck above other flat freight.
In this case, they forklift the car and van up onto the cradle.

Be aware that most car carriers carry no insurance for vehicles carried - so clarify this point and get transit insurance from a broker who deals in that type of business if you do send your 'Cruiser and van by road.

Be aware also, that road freight from Adelaide to Perth is full price - there's no specials or backload prices, because all the trucks heading West are full.
If you send a vehicle Perth-Adelaide you can usually get a good backload deal.
Good luck,

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 824035

Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 21:56

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 21:56
O.K. - I see you posted while I had the page open and I missed your comment about the 'Cruiser and van being O.K. on the top deck of car transporters. That's good, the transporters must be getting more flexible.
FollowupID: 824037

Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 22:00

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 22:00
Another company that gave me a good quote recently on vehicle transport East to West, was ACR Australia Transport.
FollowupID: 824038

Reply By: Freshstart - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 12:46

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 12:46
Have you tried asking again calling the Tvan a Trax camper trailer with height of "x", width of "x" and length of "x" and an overall car and trailer length of "x"? Don't even mention the Tvan word.

There was a 4WD and camper on the train that we went on in 2005.

If you are TPI then you get one hell of a huge discount. eg: For me, in 2010, it was less than $300 Gold Kangaroo from Adelaide to Darwin on the Ghan. Had to pay full for my wife and car though.

AnswerID: 539425

Follow Up By: Freshstart - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 12:49

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 12:49
You can see the 4WDs on the top level. The front one's windscreen get tons of unburnt diesel on it if the carrier is up the front like ours was for the Darwin trip. You can see the camper near the front. As long as the overall dimensions are withing clearances then you shouldn't have a problem. Don't forget to do the Kalgoolie tour.

I hope this info is not too l;ate. I have been in and out of hospital ever since I got home from the CSR drive.
FollowupID: 824052

Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 13:00

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 13:00
Freshstart - The West-bound IP Kalgoorlie Tour is under threat.
A timetable change from April 2015 will see the West-bound IP service go through Kalgoorlie without stopping, so the Tour will be no longer possible.

This change is causing some angst amongst Kalgoorlie tour operators and there's pressure being brought to bear to try and change GSR's decision.
However, I think they might be whistling in the wind.

West-bound Indian Pacific to cease Kalgoorlie stops from April 2015
FollowupID: 824053

Follow Up By: Freshstart - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 13:15

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 13:15
Funny how you can sit in Port Augusta for hours and not see a single freight train on the Perth line. Hmmmm


FollowupID: 824054

Follow Up By: ian.g - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 14:48

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 14:48
Maximum height and width restrictions are different for Darwin to Adelaide, Adelaide to Perth, Adelaide to Sydney. They wouldn't carry our Colorado from Sydney to Adelaide but were quite happy from Adelaide to Perth. Also trip down on Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide with offload at Alice for week touring in centre was quite OK
FollowupID: 824059

Follow Up By: pling - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 15:02

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 15:02
Thank you all for the advice, but they have rejected carrying both car and camper.

We can travel by truck, just we miss out on the train trip. (take that off the bucket list)

Hope we meet on the road or a nice camp site one day.

Safe travel.

kind regards
FollowupID: 824062

Follow Up By: Brett H - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 16:01

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 16:01
I'm not 100% sure if it's true, but I have heard that the restrictions on the train leaving Sydney is because of the tunnels that the trains need to go through when crossing the Blue Mountains. Obviously not an issue once you get passed Lithgow.
FollowupID: 824063

Follow Up By: pling - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 16:06

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 16:06
I am told there is one tunnel going into Perth.
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Follow Up By: Freshstart - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 16:21

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 16:21
Hey Pling. Try again as I said. Get the measurements and call.

If camper trailers are allowed then all they have to be is within the measurements. If you don't try again you will never know.

Our trip was a Vietnam reunion and we basically had the train booked out. But I do not believe that Vietnam had anything to do with it.
FollowupID: 824067

Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 19:48

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 19:48
Nope - No tunnels at all between Adelaide and East Perth station, where the IP terminates.
There is a very deep cutting through the Avon Valley just East of Perth, but there's no dimensions restrictions through the cutting.

Where the height restrictions come into play, is with the several road overpasses once into the Perth metro area.

These overpasses are quite old, dating back to the late 1800's and they have never been lifted or widened.

There were three main restriction points - the Meltham overpass, the 7th Avenue bridge at Maylands, and the 2nd Avenue overpass at Mt Lawley.
The ancient 7th Avenue bridge has just been demolished and is being replaced with a new structure.
Even though the new 7th Avenue bridge will have increased rail line clearance, the Meltham overpass and the 2nd Avenue overpass will still remain, and provide the choke point for the stated height

If GSR could drop the vehicle-carrying railcars in say, Midland, at the terminus of the metro services, then they could carry substantially increased height of vehicles - because the only other road overpasses between Adelaide and Perth, are ones that have been built in recent decades - and they all provide generous clearance to the railcars.

However, the problem is, of course, that the IP terminates at East Perth, and if the vehicles were dropped off in Midland, this would create extra shunting work, and the passengers would have to be bussed the 18 kms back to the vehicles in Midland.
FollowupID: 824082

Follow Up By: get outmore - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 11:18

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 11:18
Not quite true Ron.... there is one but it hasnt been used for a very looong time its at the western end of John Forrest NP ... :)
FollowupID: 824100

Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 13:46

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 13:46
getoutmore - Yep, been a long time since the Swan View tunnel has seen a train ... or even any rail lines!
We used to play in it when I first started going to high school in the early 1960's!
Not a lot of people know it was the site of W.A.'s second-worst train wreck, during WW2 when the driver was asphyxiated, and the extremely-heavily-loaded train ran back down the grade, and derailed in a huge pileup at the foot of the Darling Range.
We used to still find pieces of wreckage from the pileup in the 1960's.

W.A's worst train disaster was the Morning Mills (SE of Wokalup) Millars timber train wreck on a Saturday night, 6 November, 1920, when a fully laden timber train ran away down the escarpment to the mill, and wrecked in a massive pileup at the bottom of the hill.

The train was carrying 4000 sleepers and had a total weight of 600 tons.
There were a number of millhands riding the train down to the mill to go home, thus the death toll was increased a lot more than it would have been.
The engine driver didn't even know millhands were riding on the train.

The fireman and guard were killed but the engine driver survived despite major injuries.
The father of the fireman and another jumped off as the train gained speed, and the father claimed he yelled to the others to jump - but they either didn't hear him over the noise, or they thought it was better to ride her out.

The total death toll came to 9 men, although it was initially thought 11 had been killed.
One lucky millhand told how he tried to jump on the train as it left, but he missed it, it was moving too fast.

The loco was running tender first down the hill and it's possible this assisted in the derailment.
However, the primary blame was placed on inadequate braking at the top of the hill.
Normally all the rail waggon hand brakes were screwed down at the top of the hill to slow the train down, as it went down the hill.
It was reported later, during the inquiry, that only 6 of rail waggons brakes were found screwed down, out of the 51 waggons in the train.
The engine driver stated he signalled with the train horn to the guard to apply the brakes as he approached the edge of the escarpment, but it appears the guard did not get enough brakes screwed down in time.

There were only 3 waggons in the consist that were fitted with vacuum brakes, and the engine driver regarded them as next to useless anyway, because of vacuum losses over the length of the train.
The surprising finding of the coronial inquest was that the coroner found there were no regulations in place for running the train (as it was a private wood line belonging to Millars) - and recommendations were put forward that regulations for running the trains, be put in place!
FollowupID: 824106

Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 15:09

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 15:09
That should be "Mornington Mills". Darn the lack of editing on here.
FollowupID: 824109

Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 15:29

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 15:29
Here's two pages of photos from the "Western Mail" of 11th November 1920, showing the carnage from the Mornington Mills train disaster.

FollowupID: 824111

Follow Up By: Mike K7 - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 22:06

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 22:06
1. its heaps cheaper for vehicles on train heading East - check their prices
2. they have limited spaces - I wanted to travel Perth to Adelaide in '12 & needed top deck (Patrol & Jayco Swan) they couldn't fit me in till 6 weeks after my dates, & I was booking 4 months prior.
3. I drove - family flew - I enjoyed it ;)
FollowupID: 824136

Follow Up By: Freshstart - Thursday, Sep 25, 2014 at 09:35

Thursday, Sep 25, 2014 at 09:35
It's harder for sedans and family cars. We had to book 6 months ahead.
FollowupID: 824149

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