Trans Australia Line Anniversary

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 15:10
ThreadID: 134528 Views:3516 Replies:2 FollowUps:3
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This year is the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Trans Australian Railway. As some of you are probably well aware, we filmed the railway in 2015, following the history and the current status of the railway.

There will be a celebration in Port Augusta celebrating of the joining of the tracks at Ooldea in October.

I received an email (and consequently spoke to) from Kym Welsby advising me of the celebrations, and with a request to anyone who worked on the railway who have stories and/or photos and/or video they can supply to the organisers. The email (in part) is as follows

"As you are probably already aware the Trans Australian Railway celebrates its 100 year anniversary in October. We have a number of things planned for our celebration in Port Augusta (listed below).
We are having our celebration on Sunday the 22nd of October which is the 100 year anniversary of the first passenger train to leave Port Augusta for Kalgoorlie (22/10/1917).

Pichi Richi Railway Historical Society – will be running a special train from Quorn for the event. They will also be running shuttle runs out to Stirling North and return on the day for the general public.

Pacific National – Repaint of a PN Indian Pacific locomotive. GSR have already discussed this with PN and repaints are due.

Rail Heritage NSW may be running a special heritage Southern Aurora special for the event although this is far from finalised at this stage.

Genesee & Wyoming – have them display a GM, CL class and a new loco, maybe even get a GM painted for the event, either in CR colours or the anniversary scheme. Allow the public access to the cabs whilst on display at the railway station.

Australia Post – have already organised and had approved a special stamp collection for the occasion. The special edition should be available in early 2017.

Royal Australian Mint – are minting a series of coins for the event along with year long advertising and a chance to mint your own coin when you visit the mint. They are also looking at some form of national advertising on the anniversary and may offer some form of train trip as a prize for those you purchased the coin sets. At this stage it looks as if they will be coming across for the occasion with their portable printing press.

Special Book / Nick Anchen –Sierra Publications are releasing a special book commemorating Outback Railways including the TAR with employee interviews etc. He has published quite a few successful books and does a great job.
EDI – to approach EDI to have a replica made of the Ooldea monument to have on permanent display at the Port Augusta Railway Station.

Budd Car – to have ex Commonwealth Railways CB2 at least roadworthy and on display at the event.

Entertainment – Local musicians will provide entertainment throughout the day.

Platform Gallery – they have kindly allowed us to use the gallery for an exhibition should we wish to do so. My initial idea is to have an exhibition entitled “Living and Working on the Trans Australian Railway”. My thought was to advertise for people who have photographs of their time on the Trans. There are plenty of photos out there they just need to be relevant and of good enough quality. We already have some private photos along with permission from both the National Archives and the State Library of WA to exhibit some photos.

RAAF – organise a flyover on the Sunday of either the Roulettes or a F18 Super Hornet. They are keen to participate in “National Events”. The flyover would be around lunchtime. We have applied but no word yet.

ARTC -  to clean up the triangle which is an eyesore. Maybe help with some funding (maybe to paint a GM loco, entertainment etc).

Vehicle Restorers Club of Pt Augusta – to have vintage cars on display at the Railway Station. They have been invited and are keen to be involved. They have 12 cars ranging from 1912-1970.

The areas highlighted, the book by Nick Anchen and the “Living and Working on the Trans Australian Railway” exhibition, made me think of you. We have plenty of vintage/historic photos but I am also looking for high definition photos of The Trans today including old infrastructure, buildings, trains (obviously) and the scenery. I do not actually know of anyone who has traversed the entire line recently. If you do have any photos that fit into those categories and you feel as though you are happy to contribute please do not hesitate to get in contact with me.

In regard to Nick’s book (under Sierra Publications) I know he was looking for some high quality photos of the TAR for his book. He has plenty of vintage photos but more “up to date” photos of the terrain would work well in the book.
If any photos are displayed you will be credited as the photographer."

If you can help, please contact

This morning, Kym sent me this information ....

"Centenary of the joining of the Trans Australian Railway Line - October 17, 2017.
Mark the date! An official Centenary Ceremony and replacing the memorials is going ahead.
The debate in the Friday Five about the dilapidated state of the memorials marking the joining of the Trans Australian Railway Line has been going on for a few years now with many and varied solutions put forward. In addition, we have been discussing a formal event at Ooldea. A group of Westprint FF readers and local 4WD club members have been planning to go to Ooldea to mark this centenary, even if it was nothing more than a few 4WDs assembling in the area to acknowledge the significance of the event.

I am very happy to report that there has been considerable progress over the past few months.

Late in 2015 I saw a concept paper prepared by Bob Sampson, Executive Officer of the National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide regarding options for the event. In September 2016. Rural Development Australia – Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula (RDAWEP) came on board. I know that many people have been working behind the scenes to have this occasion recognised with due ceremony and it now looks a certainty that their hard work will pay off. 

Event Coordinator.
Leon Ashton, from Quorn, has been appointed as the Event Coordinator to project manage the logistics for holding the celebration at the rail link site near Ooldea. Leon is the former Caretaker and Manager of Maralinga Village, and has extensive knowledge and experience of working in the vicinity of the Nullarbor Plain and Trans Australian Railway line. 

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has built steel replicas of the 1967 monuments from the original plans. They will be unveiled at the centenary. 

A database has been established of people who have indicated interest in attending the celebration. If you are interested please register with Bob Ramsey, Special Projects Manager RDAWEP.
Details required: your email address, number of vehicles interested, approx. number of people attending, your location (home town), contact mobile phone number. 

Official Ceremony
The National Railway Museum, Port Adelaide is handling the list of official guests and speakers. This information will be advised when known. 

Other events.
The Shire of Port Augusta, Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society and the National Railway museum have also been working on events to be held in the commemorate this event. Activities being investigated include
A steam train re-enactment from Quorn to Port Augusta on the weekend of 21st and 22nd October 2017. The original 1917 route from Adelaide, was via broad gauge to Terowie, then a change of trains onto narrow gauge from Terowie to Quorn and through Pichi Richi Pass, and onto Port Augusta. It is planned that the PRR special will be formed using an appropriate similar locomotive and carriages from that era. Other historical displays and activities at Port Augusta railway station are planned for that weekend. The National Railway Museum at Port Adelaide will also launch a Trans Australian Railway Centenary exhibition during September 2017, which will centre around the original 1917 built steam locomotive G1, which was operated by the Commonwealth Railways, and is now on display at the museum." 

The information was supplied in a Westprint newsletter

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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 18:47

Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 18:47
Sounds fantastic....
How about a once off permission to use the rail access road for visitors to get to and from Ooldea? :)
That would ensure that there were an extra contingent just to take advantage of that opportunity.....

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AnswerID: 609633

Follow Up By: Member - Laurie K (WA) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 21:58

Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 21:58
My understanding is that GSR only have jurisdiction over 80-100 metres either side of the line. The access road runs right alongside the line, while the Telstra track is about 100m+ from the line.

We had no interference from the workers we saw along the journey. The golden rule is, be prepared, be totally self sufficient, and DON'T interfere with the trains.

You can get fuel at Forrest, and unless you are going into Maralinga (recommended), there is no other fuel available once you leave Kalgoorlie.

FollowupID: 879512

Follow Up By: Dion - Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 21:06

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 21:06
GSR have NO jurisdiction over the Transcontinental Australian Railway (TAR). GSR are an above rail operator, that is all.
The jurisdiction of the TAR belongs to Australian Rail Track Corporation, (ARTC).
FollowupID: 879538

Follow Up By: Member - Laurie K (WA) - Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 22:45

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 22:45
Thanks Dion.

I think the main point is that the railway authority only have jurisdiction over about 100m either side of the railway line (as it was explained to me), and that there is room to travel without encroaching on the access road.

I guess it needs to be remembered that you are travelling on station country (and thus private property) for much of the journey (within WA to the WA/SA border), and the appropriate respect should be shown.

FollowupID: 879542

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 07:53

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 07:53
Hi Laurie

I have been promoting the event for more than 12 months to give everyone as much possible notice as possible.

Only around a month or so a go I posted an image of the new memorial plaques what have been made up in Port Augusta.


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