Australia and other great train journeys

Travel Destinations — By on January 8, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Trains are a great way to travel and there are many great rail journeys in the world.  One such trip cuts across central Australia, from Adelaide to Darwin.  Beverly Beyette recently took that 1,850-mile train ride and wrote about it for the Los Angeles Times.

All told, the trip takes 48 hours, two full days of slicing through a land that is Texas times five. It is rugged and it is real, an antidote to the too-well-trod territories that are beginning to crowd the planet. …

At 5 a.m., I sat up, opened my blind and gazed at a sky full of crystal-clear stars. An hour later, the faintest pink glow crept over the desert, and I could make out scrubby trees. Just as our attendant brought coffee (instant), a blindingly bright sun popped over the horizon.

I propped myself up on my pillows, snuggling under the red comforter, and watched great stretches of nothingness, just red dirt and, now and then, a few cattle.

If you’re interested in train travel, one of the great resources I’ve come across is the website Seat 61

Train journeys have also proven to be a fertile source for travel writing.  Paul Theroux, in particular, has penned some classics of this genre, including The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas and The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia.

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