As someone who frequently writes on crime, a tale of death on the Indian Pacific Railway came to mind when my partner Rob and I booked our trip from Sydney to Perth. I even checked Dr Google to see if anyone had written a murder mystery inspired by the journey. No…….. nothing.
The only article I could find remotely connected to violence was a piece written in July 1985 by Mr Ian Warden. He had made the journey from Canberra to Perth and back. The train was a bit run down at the time, and not well patronized. $120,000 pounds had been allocated for a study into its problems. Mr Warden commented drily; ‘…that $120,000 would be better spent, methinks, on bribes paid to passengers on the Indian-Pacific in return for their promise not to tell anyone what the train is like once they get off the train. It appeared from his article that relations between disgruntled passengers and harassed staff came close to murderous on occasions.
Thankfully the journey is now quite the gourmet experience, beginning with drinks and canapes on the platform at Sydney Central.
It actually takes Rob and I four hours to make any progress towards Perth. We first have to travel to Sydney from our Blue Mountains village of Blackheath, board the Indian-Pacific at Central, then travel back up the Mountains. How odd it feels to shoot through little Blackheath on our way west.
This is such a long train (3/4 klm). Sometimes we sweep around a bend and can look back at our end bit, so to speak.
One of Mr Warden’s complaints was of being served instant coffee, well thankfully that has changed. Rob could even have his extra hot, double shot flat white.
Poor Mr Warden’s experience of dining on this train was a bit different; ‘The meals themselves are very substantial, but owed a lot to things that come in tins, and were very plain and unimaginative, with the exception one day of an imaginative ‘Weiner Schnittzel’ made with pork instead of veal!’ It is the sort of food that is served to shearers or to armies, or to growing gels at boarding schools.’
We have to leave on a tour around Broken Hill at 6.0am. Better get some sleep……And yes our beds are all ready. That’s odd, there were chocolates on the pillows a minute ago I wonder what happened to them ? Oh well….. Zzzzzz
MORNING DAWNS ABOARD THE INDIAN-PACIFIC
Oh good grief. Look at those strange apparitions as we approach Broken Heel, sorry…Hill. What on earth is in store for us?
To be continued………
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