The Ghan turns 90 in 2020

As the legendary train prepares to celebrate its 90th birthday, we take a look back at how The Ghan helped shape Australia’s history.

  1. The name ‘The Ghan’ is an abbreviation of the train’s original name ‘The Afghan Express.’ It earned its title from the Afghan cameleers who started trade and transport routes in the Outback in the 1830s.

  2. In 1911, a promise was made to create a transcontinental route from Darwin to Adelaide. Finally, in 2004, the route was ready for its inaugural crossing.

  3. The first route for The Ghan as we know it travelled between the Flinders Ranges to Alice Springs, or Stuart, as it was called then.

  4. During WWII, The Ghan’s route between Darwin and Alice Springs became an integral part of Australia’s fight. The train helped transport troops to Darwin, which had become a military base, for their training and deployment.

  5. At 43 passenger carriages and a length of over a kilometre, The Ghan has the longest passenger train in Australia and the title of one of the longest passenger trains in the world.

  6. Today, The Ghan’s Gold and Platinum level service both feature All Inclusive fare, offering all-inclusive dining the Queen Adelaide Restaurant and all-inclusive wines, beers, base spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages.

  7. Dining onboard The Ghan is a trip within itself; the menu is famous for placing local fare in the spotlight. Think Top End barramundi, crocodile, kangaroo, Margaret River cheeses, and much more!

  8. Passengers getting ready for a trip on The Ghan are advised to pack for the immersive excursions - from camel rides, boat cruises, or even creating your own original artwork with Aboriginal locals - and various climates of the stops on their itinerary.

  9. The Ghan is one of four trains in the Great Southern Rail family. Its sister trains are Indian Pacific, Great Southern, and The Overland.