One of Australia’s most loved heritage railways celebrated its 50th Anniversary in July 2023.

The Society’s volunteers completely operate the entire organisation and are totally committed to conservation, restoration, maintenance and running the authentic heritage Pichi Richi Railway.

On July 22, 1973, at a public meeting in Port Augusta’s Cooinda Hall, Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society was established with the objectives of preserving the historic dry-stone walls and the railway bridges along the original 1800’s railway, which includes a section of the original Ghan line. One year later the Society, based in Quorn SA, was running heritage trains along the old narrow-gauge line, using original steam locomotives and rolling stock.

Over the past 50 years PRR has become a key tourist destination in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia and in 2021 Pichi Richi Railway was awarded the Winner of the SA Tourism Award for Tourist Attraction.In September 2023 was announced a FINALIST in the 2023 SA Tourism Awards. In 2022 the township of Quorn was announced the Winner of the SA Tourism’s Tiny Tourism Town and the Quorn Silo Logo Show awarded Gold at the 2022 Australian Street Art Awards under the Best Mega Mural category.

In addition to riding the authentic and historic Pichi Richi Railway there’s the history of the town itself, as Quorn was once a thriving commercial centre at the intersection of the railway lines across, and from south to north of Australia. Aside from the historic buildings in Quorn there are many new and interesting businesses set amongst the natural beauty of the region.

To mark the 50th Anniversary a short movie premiered on the Quorn Silos showing some of the history and wonderful volunteering achievements of Pichi Richi Railway. Followed by an  Anniversary Dinner for Foundation, Honorary Life Members and current members, as well as a small number of VIPs, and corporate supporters.

The original three principal lobbyists, who understood the historical significance, being Reg Mayes (First PRRPS President) L Quentin Smith (First Honorary Secretary) and Trevor Ward (First Honorary Treasurer) were represented by their families at these events. VIP guests included Hon. Eddie Hughes M.P., Flinders Ranges Councils’ Mayor Ken Anderson and CEO Eric Brown, Port Augusta Mayor Linley Shine and CEO John Banks. The following day we ran our Pichi Richi Explorer train for others to commemorate our 50th Anniversary weekend.

In mid-2024 Pichi Richi Railway will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Society’s FIRST revenue generating train which ran on part of the volunteer-restored “Old Ghan” line.  The restored section of old narrow gauge Central Australia Railway between Quorn and Summit line was reopened by Sir Mark Oliphant in July 1974. This anniversary event will be marked with a steam festival, open to the public and be widely publicised.

Pichi Richi Railway has been run by volunteers for 5 decades and their contribution to heritage rail and South Australia’s regional tourism, is an outstanding achievement.