The Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society Incorporated's (PRRPS) main sources of income are from membership subscriptions, scheduled train services, chartered trains and special hires, souvenir shop trading and catering/refreshments.

PRRPS currently has no paid employees, and is therefore reliant on its dedicated volunteers to operate trains, to sell souvenirs and refreshments, to undertake maintenance and restoration activities, and to govern the society.

The society's financial year runs from 1 January to 31 December. The following information is based on 2011 Audited Financial Statements.

Income $'000 %
Net Train Revenue (timetabled trains, charters and special hires) 290 69
Souvenir Department Profits 25 6
Grants (from Federal Government) 15 4
Transfers from Appeal Funds and Provisions 21 5
Membership Subscriptions 18 4
Donations, Appeals & Bequests 19 4
Refreshments & Catering Profits 20 5
Bank Interest 9 2
Miscellaneous / Other 3 1
Rounding Nil Nil
Total Income 420 100


Expenditure $'000 %
Traffic, Locomotives, Carriages, Trackwork, Buildings, Services & Grounds 195 54
Marketing 44 12
Operating Costs (Quorn & Port Augusta) 31 8
Administration & Bank Charges 29 8
Depreciation of Fixed Assets 30 8
Insurances 23 6
Members Services 11 3
Miscellaneous / Other 3 1
Rounding Nil Nil
Total Expenditure 366 100


Gross Profit 54
Less Quorn Railway Station Expenditure 15
Less transfer of Donations, Appeals and Bequests to Appeal Funds 19
Less Grant in Advance Nil
Surplus of Income over Expenditure for the year 20

As the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation, all proceeds go back into restoration activities and development of the railway as an operating museum.

The society is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) organisation, thus all donations to the society are tax deductible. Contact the Secretary if you wish to make a donation (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Over the years there have been a variety of grants from local, state and federal government sources for specific development projects, including:

  • Purchase of mechanised sleeper replacement equipment
  • Track rehabilitation from Woolshed Flat to Stirling North
  • Track extension from Stirling North to Port Augusta and associated works
  • Restoration of ex-Commonwealth Railways steam locomotive NM25 and refurbishment of three NABPa carriages, which usually form the 'Afghan Express' that originates from Port Augusta
  • Lineside control of noxious weeds, funded by Northern & Yorke Natural Resources Management
  • Improved water harvesting from shed rooves at the Quorn Locomotive Depot to maximise the amount of rainwater that can be used in steam locomotive boilers.

Local and state government have also assisted significantly with easing the burden of public liability insurance premiums in recent years, with premiums returning to more affordable levels of late. Incidentally, the society has never lodged a claim since its formation in 1973.

In addition, local and state government have provided funding to help develop professional marketing of the Pichi Richi Railway, which is currently performed by a part-time contractor. Most of this assistance has been provided by the South Australian Tourism Commission.

Local government funding has been provided by both the Flinders Ranges Council and the Port Augusta City Council. Additionally certain project funding has been provided by the Northern Regional Development Board (now Regional Development Australia Far North).

Corporate assistance has also been received, though this has been somewhat ad-hoc. Central TV (i.e. Spencer Gulf Telecasters – Southern Cross Austereo) are currently sponsoring the Pichi Richi Railway through in-kind support while The Savings Bank of South Australia (later becoming part of BankSA) contributed funds some years ago to help restore Model 75 Diesel Railcar No. 106, which operates timetabled services and is available for private hire.

Bequests have also been a valuable source of support.

Regional spending by the society

In 2008 calculations indicated that about 27% (or just over one dollar in every four) of the Society’s annual spending involved businesses in Quorn and Port Augusta, together with ticket agency commission charged by Wadlata Interpretive Centre (operated by Port Augusta City Council), and rates paid to Flinders Ranges Council.

Such local spending includes fuel and lubricants, advertising, timetable printing, hardware, refreshments/catering supplies, mechanical repairs, rail safety worker medical assessments, and pest control services.

This percentage would increase slightly when spending in Whyalla and Port Pirie is taken into account.

Also the 27% rate of regional spending did not include members’ reimbursements for purchases they made from regional businesses, due to the extra time necessary to capture this information.

There are a variety of purchases that cannot be transacted with businesses in the region, such as utility providers (e.g. electricity, gas, telecommunications). Additionally, there are some goods and services which cannot be locally obtained. These include coal, specialist plant & equipment repairs, most souvenirs purchased for resale, insurance, sleepers etc.

Included in the society’s purchasing are payments to local suppliers which are part of larger Australian or international companies. Crushed rock supplies as railway track ballast are a good example, supplied from the ‘Crusher’ at Stirling North with payments made to Boral.

The society aims to achieve a balance between the total cost and availability of supplies whether obtained in the region, or from further afar, together with transport and related costs. Nevertheless the 27% rate of regional spending is a significant economic outcome considering the railway's location and distance from major population centres in South Australia.

National Australia Bank “Schools First” grant

During 2010 the Quorn Area School and PRRPS were jointly awarded $100,000 by NAB to foster their partnership and provide accredited training to students from QAS and surrounding districts. Construction of an accommodation building and kitchen commenced during 2011. Grant funds are being administered by QAS on behalf of the partnership, which may involve financial and/or in-kind contribution by the society to the partnership.

Pichi Richi Trade Training Centre

During 2010 the partnership between Quorn Area School and PRRPS was awarded around $750,000 of federal government funding, focused on equipment purchases to assist with student learning on the railway. The first item of portable plant and equipment was delivered to Quorn in early 2012. The partnership may involve financial and/or in-kind contribution by the society.

National Heritage Sites grant

During 2011 PRRPS was awarded a grant by the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities to renovate the Quorn Railway Station and to build toilet facilities nearby, as part of a project to co-locate the Flinders Ranges Visitor Information Centre with the society’s souvenir shop. The grant conditions require matching dollar-for-dollar contribution by society and The Flinders Ranges Council. It is expected that most if not all of the society’s contribution will come from in-kind labour and services. The majority of spending, renovation and construction activity occurred in 2012.