Train jour­ney to savour

Geraldton Guardian - - Guardian Opinion - Peter Fiorenza Peter Fiorenza is the host of SHL Sun­day 10am to noon on Ra­dio MAMA.

It has of­ten been said that the jour­ney is more im­por­tant than the des­ti­na­tion.

Re­cently, I was for­tu­nate to visit the city of Ade­laide for the first time.

Ob­vi­ously, I was ex­cited about vis­it­ing the cap­i­tal of South Aus­tralia, but more so, about how I was go­ing to get there.

I would be trav­el­ling to Ade­laide via the famed In­dian Pa­cific train.

Now, the In­dian Pa­cific is not so much fa­mous for the train it­self, but for the ex­tra­or­di­nary jour­ney it takes across Aus­tralia.

Slim Dusty has sung about it, and his­to­ri­ans and well-known au­thors have writ­ten about this jour­ney.

Since I was a child, I have dreamed about the ro­mance of such train ad­ven­tures, in­clud­ing the Ori­ent Ex­press and the Trans-Siberian Rail­way.

I’ve had the for­tune to travel through Europe on trains, but th­ese are dif­fer­ent beasts that move at in­cred­i­ble speeds.

The In­dian Pa­cific is some­thing en­tirely dif­fer­ent.

Ar­riv­ing at East Perth Ter­mi­nal, we were greeted by our crew, who checked us in, and would re­main with us for the en­tire jour­ney.

Once board­ing the train, we were es­corted to our cab­ins, that were, sim­ply, some­thing spe­cial.

They were a pri­vate sit­ting area that was later trans­formed into a dou­ble bunk sleep­ing ar­range­ment, with a pri­vate bath­room too.

Un­like trains in Europe, the In­dian Pa­cific is a grand lady, that chugs along with dig­nity, style, and grace.

And while she trav­els across some of the most amaz­ing land­scape, those on board can make their way to the or­nate din­ing cart, or to the ad­join­ing bar/cafe car­riage. Am I cre­at­ing the pic­ture? There is re­lax­ation to burn. The pas­sen­gers on­board were a di­verse group, from wealthy Bri­tish and Amer­i­can tourists, to el­derly sis­ters, moth­ers, and daugh­ters, and a Ja­panese fam­ily here and there.

So the con­ver­sa­tion at din­ner, over a drink, or while hav­ing a cof­fee was wide and var­ied.

Cou­ple with this the stop-offs. A visit to Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der’s Su­per Pit, break­fast at a sheep sta­tion sid­ing, and a visit to pos­si­bly Aus­tralia’s small­est set­tle­ment were also part of this ad­ven­ture.

Three days later, we ar­rived in Ade­laide, and said “good­bye” to fel­low pas­sen­gers and crew, who had shared a unique ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Oh the In­dian Pa­cific she goes rollin’ down the track, 5000 miles to travel be­fore she’s there and back, From the wa­ters of the western sea to the east­ern ocean sand, The In­dian Pa­cific spans the land, Oh the In­dian Pa­cific spans the land.”

From the great Slim Dusty.

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