The Pichi Richi Railway, Sunday 14th June 2015

The Argadells was our home from Saturday evening 13th June to Monday evening 15th June. The Argadells, a working pastoral property, is an excellent camping location with tent, caravan and trailer sites, some cabins and other facililties including on-suite bathrooms. We left to travel to Farina Station on Tuesday 16th June. Sunday we were in the midst of a heavy rain event in this part of South Australia and further North. There was no way we could activate Mount Arden.

After a discussion we decided to travel into Quorn and take the only train running on that day. The train was scheduled to depart the historic Quorn station at 10.30. We secured tickets, took photos and were soon on the ‘Barwell Bull’. A ‘Barwell Bull’ (nick-name) is a US made Brill diesel railcar and they were obviously pretty impressive in their day. They travelled over both broad-gauge (Irish gauge 5 feet 3 inches) and narrow gauge (3 feet 6 inches) railway tracks in South Australia. Our Barwell Bull, the class was named after the Premier of the day, Sir Henry Barwell, was based at Quorn and saw most of its life running the route from Terowie to Quorn.

The 'Barwell Bull'

The ‘Barwell Bull’

The Driver's cabin in the 'Barwell Bull'

The Driver’s cabin in the ‘Barwell Bull’

The noise in the cabin appeared to me to be excessive. The Driver did not seem to have any ear-protection. I am sure the Society would have occupational and safety rules about ear protection to avoid being exposed to the risk of a damages claim.

The Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society operates the historic 3 feet 6 inch gauge railway from Quorn to Port Augusta. We did not travel to Port Augusta, but only the first stop at Woolshed Flat, about 16 killometres from Quorn. After a coffee and lamington stop we were soon on our way back to Quorn. I haven’t had a lamington for years and I thought it was just as ordinary as I remember them to be. I don’t know what Barry Humphries sees in them! Here is a link to the excellent web pages of the Pichi Richi Railway Society:

Here are three additional sources for those who may be interested to learn more about the railway.

Pichi Richi Times, 2015 Edition, Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society

Fischer, Tim, 2004, Transcontinental Train Odyssey: The Ghan, The Kyber, The Globe. Allen & Unwin, Sydney.

Fuller, Basil, 1975, The Ghan: The Story of the Alice Springs Railway. Lansdowne, Sydney.

Paul had arranged for us to have lunch at the Austral Hotel with VK5KLV, Les and VK5KPR, Peter and his wife. This was a splendid social occasion.

After lunch, adding fuel to the vehicles and buying a few more supplies we travelled back to the Argadells. Paul set up a radio in the back-yard of the Cottage he was using, within a shelter called ‘The RSL Club’. It was a mild evening despite the rain and we enjoyed a barbecue in the back-yard. I made the following contacts before dinner as VK5BJE/P5, the Argadells:

13th June 2015

7.100 VK5DI/P2, Ian in VKFF- 835, Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-835

7.095 VK5PAS/P5 Paul at Winninowie Conservation Park, VKFF- 820

7.095 VK3ACT, Peter

7.095 VK3BNJ, Stan

and 14th June 2015,

7.095 VK5FO/P5, Bob at Mt Gawler SOTA Peak VK5/SE-013



VK2OW, Chris

VK6DW, Ian

and VK2QM, Gary.

One thought on “The Pichi Richi Railway, Sunday 14th June 2015

  1. Hi John,

    Well, despite the rain, this was still a fun day. Marija had never been on the Pichi Richi before, so it was a first. And the catch up with Peter and his wife, & Les at the pub was really good. And we had a bit of fun that night at the ‘RSL’.



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