The Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society is a non-profit railway preservation society and operating museum formed in 1973. The society, managed and staffed by volunteer members, operates heritage steam and diesel trains on the restored 39 kilometre section of track between Quorn and Port Augusta in South Australia.
The line was built in 1878 as part of the South Australian Railways' Port Augusta & Government Gums Railway, once formed a part of the Commonwealth Railways Central Australian Railway and east-west Transcontinental line, and is the oldest remaining section of track of the former narrow gauge Ghan. It is now the only operational section of the Central Australia Railway.
I was invited by Meg Drechsler, from Paperclip Ideas, to visit Quorn and the Pichi Richi Railway. I met Meg at Hub Adelaide and she quickly recognised my interest in trains and thought it would be great to shoot some 360˚ panoramas of the trains, carriages and workshops.
So on the 25th of April I headed out early in the morning for the 340 km drive to Quorn. Unfortunately I only had one day free so it was going to be a long drive there and back but it was definitely worth it and I can't wait to go back.
The locomotive running on the 25th was the W22 "Justin Hancock" and I had the opportunity to shoot this panorama, in the cab of the locomotive, just before we steamed off for Woolshed Flats.
In the cab of the "Justin Hancock" locomotive
There is nothing like riding the rails in a period carriage with a thumping great steam train pulling you through the South Australian countryside and I thought it couldn't get much better than this. That was until I went to the Workshops!
The workshops and the grounds around them are a wonderland for a photographer. There is so much texture and bits of machinery from the small to the incredibly large that it I just slowly turned around trying to take it all in.
There are a number of sheds for different aspects of the restoration and maintenance work. The locomotive shed is an amazing place with an number of locomotives and diesel engines in various states of restoration. It was getting toward twilgiht as we entered the locomotive shed and in a pool of light was a young voulenteer working on a huge locomotive. We asked him what he was doing, and in all seriousness, he answered, "Putting the train together."
One of the volunteers, "Putting the train together"
The trip from Adelaide to Quorn is approximately 340 km, I did the round trip in a day but I'd recommend staying over for a night or two and exploring the surrounding countryside. When you arrive head to the Quorn Railway station and book your trip on the train.
Quorn Railway Station