Monday, 1st October – Indian Pacific train

Even though the bed was actually remarkably comfortable, we both had a terrible night’s sleep, with the train movements and all sorts of rattles preventing any sort of slumber. We had pre-ordered a wake-up call at 5.45 a.m. so as to facilitate stepping off the train at 6.15 a.m. at a tiny place called Rawlinnie for no other reason, it seemed, than to get tea, coffee, egg and bacon rolls (known as sliders in these parts) and to sample the morning air. Jean was wide awake, so elected to take this option. I stayed in bed – the opportunity to get a couple of hours’ kip whilst the train was stationary was far too good to pass up.
Jean returned with some pictures of this tiny outpost.

God knows how or why people live here at all. I really don’t get it at any level, but there you go…
The train lurched off again as we entered the Nullarbor plain. The name means “no trees” in Latin, and it truly is a vast wilderness, but there are trees (of a sort). There are even cows. And eagles. And not much else.
We crossed the border into South Australia at 11.54 a.m. Western Australia Time, around 1300 km from Perth. Next stop is a ghost town called Cook, where we will be able to get off for a leg stretch and look around. From here it will be non-stop to Adelaide, arriving at about 7 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Cook used to be a thriving railway junction, but is now deserted apart from a handful of people who run it so as to service the Indian Pacific trains running in either direction. Bit bizarre in many ways:

At least we were able to get up close, if not personal, with the engine that pulls this colossal thing, and see the few cars that get ferried along with all the passengers:

Time for the bar for a few pre-prandial snifters and a very pleasant exchange with fellow travellers. The countryside was generally very flat, but you do get a real sense of the vastness of this place. The Nullarbor Plain alone is twice the size of England.

Another excellent dinner and a relatively early night, as we have to de-train at around 7.15 a.m. tomorrow in Adelaide.

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