The Ghan

Submitted: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 07:18
ThreadID: 12801 Views:1744 Replies:7 FollowUps:13
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On the way home out of Darwin yesterday I was caught at a railway crossing as the Ghan was completing it's journey - an impressive sight. It was interesting to note the number of vehicles on the car carriers, especially 4wd's and it reminded me of a conversation I had with a bloke up here a couple of years back.

He and his wife had caught the Ghan from Adelaide to Alice with their late model Pajero transported on the car carrier. After picking up the vehicle in Alice he noticed that the doors would not open & close without some effort, but continued his trip through to Darwin before getting the problem looked at by a crash repair shop. Close inspection showed metal fatigue in the pillars and also in all cross members - the entire chassis frame had twisted.

He was not amused and said that the railway mob were not at all concerned about his problem - they claimed that the matter should have been attended to in Alice, not 2 weeks later in Darwin.

I wonder how many proud 4wd owners arriving in Darwin yesterday will be wishing that they had driven the Stuart H'way instead.

Diesel 1
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Reply By: gumagoo93 - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 08:09

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 08:09
I was at the level crossing at Fairway Waters yesterday afternoon and I was looking at the number of vehicles on the wagons, wondering why would you bother to take the train when you have your vehicle with you?.....Don
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Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 09:37

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 09:37
My thoughts exactly Don. It's not the way I would choose to travel, but I guess there are a lot of southerners who are strapped for time and see the Ghan as a means to get up here fast without the problem of driver fatigue.

Diesel 1
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Reply By: Michael - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 08:19

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 08:19
I find it hard to believe that you would get metal fatigue from a train journey, What were the tyres and suspension doing, If thats the case, 100's of kilometres of corrugated roads must have a worse effect. The best way to avoid this is it does happen, would be to strap the wheels to the deck instead of the tying down the body. The whole thing doesnt sound right to me,.. Best regards Michael
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Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 09:46

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 09:46
G'day Michael,

The bloke with the Pajero tried to find out how the vehicle was actually anchored down on the train, but he struck a wall of silence with the railway people - he reckoned that they were reluctant to say too much in case they admitted negligence in relation to perhaps an over zealous or inexperienced employee performing the task.

Apparently, the crash repairer seemed to be of the opinion that the vehicle had been secured from points on the chassis and the constant sideways swaying motion of the train had contributed to the damage. Who knows? The fact of the matter was that the damage was not there before the train trip.

Diesel 1
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Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 09:56

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 09:56
Another train of thought here Michael is that it was a Pajero - do I need say anymore.

Diesel 1
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Follow Up By: Patrol22 (Queanbeyan - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 16:21

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 16:21
This just might be a problem associated with monocoque construction - the new Pajero doesn't have a chassis does it?
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Reply By: Michael - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 13:44

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 13:44
Ive seen some of those tilt tray trucks lately, they have the wheels on the cars,strapped down as i mentioned earlier, body not touched, that would be the way to go. I suppose the new $800,00 set of shockies would be stuffed then LOL. Michael
AnswerID: 58314

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 14:19

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 14:19
With the exorbantat cost of the train, how can anyone afford to put a car on there as well??? $440 for just a seat??? How could you take a family of 4 or 5, or Diamond, family of 30... :P

Surely isnt the family train.. the novelty will wear off in 12-18mths and it will go broke again...

If a person is upto $1700, what would a car be?!! $5000?

Adelaide - Darwin/ Katherine or v.v*
ONE WAY
PER Adult
Gold class $1740
Sleeper $1390
Normal seat! $440

Kids
Gold 1183
Sleeper 834
Seat 198

http://www.gsr.com.au/fares/ghan.htm
AnswerID: 58318

Follow Up By: Rick Blaine - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 15:43

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 15:43
Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee... you should thank yourself that you are not on a war vets pension... we have to pay $58 gold kangaroo sydney to perth & have to drive to Adelaide & put our car on the train there....
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Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 16:19

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 16:19
Why can't you put it on in Sydney?
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Follow Up By: Rick Blaine - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 17:01

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 17:01
The hight restrictions dont let cars over 1.5m tall on for that leg... Blue mountains tunnels I think
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Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 22:34

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 22:34
It's hard to say if & when the novelty will wear off Truckster, there was talk just recently about running 2 Ghans per week next year because of the bookings.

Diesel 1
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 23:30

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 23:30
Diesel, its still new.. people are still suffering from WOW...

12 -18mths everyone will have done it, and have the Tshirt to prove it... It will die then
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Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Friday, May 14, 2004 at 07:47

Friday, May 14, 2004 at 07:47
You could be right there Truckster - the novelty factor will wear off in due time with Aussie travellers especially when people start doing their arithmetic and realise how much money they could have saved by driving instead.

My own opinion is that the rail link to Darwin will eventually only be utilised for freight and the Ghan will revert back to terminating at Alice,
but then the Indian Pacific has supposedly been running at a loss for years - makes you wonder.

Diesel 1
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Reply By: Willem - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 20:03

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 20:03
Diesel 1

Whereabouts is the level crossing in Darwin? Down towards the Trade Development Zone?

Cheers
AnswerID: 58369

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 22:38

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 22:38
G'day Willem,

You're about spot on there mate. Coming out of town via Tiger Brennon Drive and Wishart Rd, the first crossing is near the Tivendale Rd intersection and then there is another just before you reach Palmerston.

Diesel 1
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Reply By: Slammin - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 21:04

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 21:04
Out of interest, we caught a train from Switzerland to Italy that cut thru some huge mountains, you drive your car on they anchor the car via the axles and you stay in the car for the journey of about two hrs. No costs for seats!

Most of the journey was underground.

Wonder if I can sit in my car on the Ghan..........., I'll save @$400 ;-)
AnswerID: 58388

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 22:41

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 22:41
It would be good if you could sit in your vehicle all the way and if you've got a Troopy like me you can roll the swag out in the back - a sleeper berth.

Diesel 1
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Follow Up By: Member - StevenL - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 23:17

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 23:17
Bit of a bugger when you need a leak!

Steven
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Reply By: cloughie - Thursday, May 13, 2004 at 20:22

Thursday, May 13, 2004 at 20:22
Recently did the trip from Adelaide to Alice. We left Melb on Fri night and arrived Alice Mon morning. This gave us more time to see Central Australia rather than the Stuart Highway twice. Also gave us the opportunity to travel back home via the Oodnadatta Track. In other word if you are tight on time - we had 22 days, the expense is worth it . Cost for 2 adults, 2 kids 1car and 1 camper trailer was $1400. No damage was noticed.
AnswerID: 58501

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