The Afghan Express service turns the clock back to when the famous old Ghan travelled through the Pichi Richi Pass.  Wherever possible, the Afghan Express uses distinctive timber-bodied carriages built in the late 1920s for the narrow gauge old Ghan train service, and restored old Ghan steam locomotive NM25, built in 1925.

Original Ghan steam locomotive NM25 with the Afghan Express in the scenic Pichi Richi Pass.

The Afghan Express is the name railwaymen gave to the passenger train that ran from Terowie to Oodnadatta, through Quorn, in 1923. This was the first time a sleeping carriage was included on the train, and when an Afghan passenger alighted at Quorn to recite his evening prayers, the train was dubbed the Afghan Express by railwaymen. In time, this was abbreviated to The Ghan and eventually adopted by Commonwealth Railways officials.

The railway was ultimately extended to Alice Springs by 1929. The Ghan service used the Pichi Richi Railway route until 1956 when a new standard gauge railway from Stirling North to Brachina bypassed the narrow gauge railway through the Pichi Richi Pass.

Online booking facility

Service details

  • Genuine timber bodied carriages, including those of the 1930s Ghan
  • Wherever practicable, original Ghan steam locomotive¬†NM25 will be used
  • Diesel services use an historic Ghan locomotive, either NSU52 or NT76
  • Port Augusta to Quorn and return (78km)
  • Approx. 5 hours 40 minutes return journey including 2 hours 20 minutes stopover in Quorn
  • Single (one-way) tickets are available. You can have a one-way journey from either Port Augusta or Quorn.
  • No refreshments on-board, however several outlets are within 3 minutes walk of Quorn station
  • Services depart Port Augusta at 10:30am, and arrive at Quorn at approximately 12:10pm. The return journey then departs Quorn at 2:30pm, arriving at Port Augusta at approximately 4:10pm
  • The Afghan Express service originates from Port Augusta.

Timetable

2014

DayDateTimeDeparts from
September
Saturday20 September10:30 AMPort Augusta
Saturday27 September10:30 AMPort Augusta
October
Saturday4 October10:30 AMPort AugustaDouble heads from Woolshed Flat to Quorn. Arrives Pt Aug 4.40pm.
Saturday11 October10:30 AMPort Augusta
Saturday18 October10:30 AMPort Augusta
Saturday25 October10:30 AMPort AugustaSteam from Port Augusta to Quorn, diesel from Quorn to Port Augusta.

Fares

Adult return$79.00
Concession return$73.00
Child (4+) return$26.00
Family return (2 Adults, 2 children)$183.00
Adult one-way$52.00
Concession one-way$49.00
Child (4+) one-way$19.00
Family one-way (2 adults, 2 children)$122.00

Bookings

Bookings page.