Trans-Australian Railway

The Transaustralische Railway is a single-track, standard gauge in 1917, completed railway, the Western Australia with New South Wales joins. The core route runs from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta. At both ends of the train connects with other paths, so that the designation Transaustralische Railway is also used for the entire connection Perth Sydney in a broader sense.


The railway line crosses the Nullarbor desert, a terrain with almost no slope. Here, between km 797 and km in 1275, is located at 478 km, the longest railway straight in the world. The total length of the track between Kalgoorlie and Port Augusta is 1692.6 kilometers.

The route does not cross any freshwaters. To provide staff and steam locomotives with water, was drilled at great distances by groundwater and reservoirs were created.


In 1901, the six hitherto autonomous Australian colonies joined together to form the state of Australia. Condition for the accession of Western Australia was the promise that the government would build a railway, the associations, the isolated from the rest of the country settlement center of the colony around their city of Perth situated in the south and east of the continent other population centers of the new state.

1907, legislation was passed to prospect the course of the route. This work was completed in 1909. Result was a route proposal between the then ends of the Western Australian Railway in Kalgoorlie and the South Australian Railways in Port Augusta. In 1911 the law was enacted and railway construction and 1912 the Commonwealth Railways established to carry out the construction and subsequent operation. The work was started in September 1912 and executed in standard gauge, although the paths that connected to both ends at that time, were executed in Cape gauge. Construction has begun from both ends and he was also, despite Australia's entry into the First World War, continued. The two building crews met in October 1917 and the track ends were joined on 17 October 1917. The construction cost 4.045 million pounds sterling.

In 1937, the eastern end of the line was extended to Port Pirie. This saved the passengers to Adelaide changing to that exported to Cape gauge connection between Port Augusta and Quorn Terowie over and Peterborough through the Flinders Ranges. They were now able to transfer directly to the South Australian broad gauge (1600 mm). Passengers to Sydney saved it at least the slow drive through the Flinders Ranges. At the same time thus arrived at the station of Port Pirie successive three gauges.

Only in 1970 reached after a gap closure at Broken Hill a plain track to standard gauge of New South Wales and Perth coming the first time enabled through trains between Perth and Sydney. In Broken Hill remembers the station a plaque on February 23, 1970 - the day of the space closure - and numerous vehicles of the former Silverton Tramway, which are summarized here in a museum.


The Transaustralische railway is an important link in the transport of goods between Western Australia and the eastern states of Australia. The passenger, however, is rather insignificant and mainly tourist nature: the Indian Pacific is running on the track in its entire length, the Ghan it uses between Port Augusta and Tarcoola. Originally, the passenger Offer wrong under the name Trans - Australian. During the construction of the route to 1996 also reversed the Tea and Sugar Train, who provided the isolated railway personnel and towns along the route with the everyday necessities.

The water found by drilling was often salty and not suitable for drinking or for the locomotives. So the trains had to carry their water supply. In the days of the steam locomotive meant that the water accounted for up to half of the transported tonnage. The problem was known from the beginning and the first chief engineer, Henry Deane, already tried the use of diesel locomotives prepare. But before this proposal could gain a foothold, he was forced to resign because of a procurement scandal. The successor sat back on steam locomotives. So it was only from 1951 to the scheduled use of diesel locomotives on the track.

Originally, the track was all about 100 km equipped with a 400 -meter-long siding, so train crossings were possible. With increasing traffic, these opportunities have increased and expanded. Since 2008, all passing places can accommodate trains of up to 1800 meters in length and are along the route at intervals between 30 km and 60 km respectively. Most of these alternative sites are unoccupied. They are equipped with off course and will be provided when required by the train crew remotely controlled by radio. There are no signals. The security is ensured via motion commands.

Crossing Australia by rail

1917 - 1927

1927 - 1937

1937 - 1968

1968 - 1970

Since 1970