Indian Pacific: Ice on the tracks

It’s a strange sensation to wake up in a train carriage, especially when you are on the outskirts of Broken Hill. The previous night the train was delayed because of ice on the tracks in the Blue Mountains, not the kind of delay you expect in Australia.

The hills are grey and ghostly in the pre-dawn light. Broken Hill holds a central part in Australian labour history as home of the 35-hour week, fought for by local miners. It is extremely cold in the clear morning light. As I walk down to buy a morning paper, there is little to indicate the dramatic past of the town. Two fat bikers pull up beside me on a chopped hog and ask if there is a McDonalds anywhere.

Overcharged for breakfast but in no mood to argue after a rough night’s sleep (Julie is trainsick.)

Rough, dusty land all day. We arrive in Adelaide at night and have a brief trip to the supermarket. The suburbs feel depressingly like the south end of Christchurch. Thankfully “Jungle Boy” (see previous entry) has left the train. At least we can sleep without worrying about a grenade incident. The train pulls out and heads west towards the Nullabor Plain.





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