Trans-Australian Railway celebrates centenary

EXACTLY 100 years after it opened on October 22, 1917, a ceremony was held at Port Augusta (South Australia) to commemorate the opening of the Trans-Australian Railway between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie (Western Australia).

A week previously, a simpler ceremony had marked the centenary of the physical completion of the line at Ooldea, around 700km from Port Augusta, on October 17, 1917, the line opening just a week after the construction teams from east and west had met.

As part of the Trans-Australian Railway centenary celebrations at Port Augusta on October 22 former Commonwealth Railways (CR) 4-8-0 NM25 ran two shuttle trains from Port Augusta to Stirling North. The ‘NM’ class 4-8-0s were based on the Queensland Railways’ ‘C17’ class and were the most powerful CR steam locos used on the former 1,067mm narrow gauge. STEVE McNICOL

The 1,711km-long line was built as standard gauge although the lines it connected to at both ends were then 1,067mm gauge.

The line includes the world’s longest continuous straight section of railway line – a 478km section across the almost uninhabited Nullabor Plain.

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