It’s Australia’s most famous railway journey, attracting tourists from all over the world to admire our sprawling outback from inside the luxury of the Ghan train.
Originally called the Afghan Express, the iconic trans-continental train was named the Ghan after Afghani camel-drivers who helped build infrastructure in the Red Centre more than 150 years ago.
When the train first began operating in 1929, it carried passengers from Adelaide through the pastures and hills of South Australia to the rusty red sands of Alice Springs.
But that all changed on this day in 2004, when the Ghan set off on a new route that had been extended even further.
For the first time in history, the Ghan completed Australia’s longest passenger train journey by travelling roughly 3000 kilometres from Adelaide all the way to Darwin.
It was the first time a passenger train had crossed the Australian continent from south to north.
Some 330 passengers were on board for the entire 54-hour journey, which included a four-hour stopover in Alice Springs.
Hundreds of Northern Territory residents turned out in Darwin and along the track to watch the train make the final leg of its three-day journey.
Between Darwin and Katherine, the track was surrounded by flooded wetlands after a heavy wet season, but thankfully the train made it to its destination without any problems.
Engineers said the new railway had been built to withstand a once in a century flood.
The Ghan train journey still travels from Adelaide to Darwin today, but has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.