On March 10, 2019 Pichi Richi Railway marked the end of rail passenger services to Quorn

Pichi Richi Railway captured an unsung event 50 years later, when on March 10 it ran two special trains to mark the end of South Australian Railways’ rail passenger services to Quorn.

Far back in late January 1969, SAR train driver, Len Brewster, entered a stifling hot Quorn station yard, completing the railcar’s 95 mile journey from Terowie – for the very last time.

Driver Brewster turned off the motor of his railcar, grabbed his kit-bag and climbed down from the cab, and so ended SAR’s rail passenger services to this small Flinders Ranges town.

From then onwards passengers would have to travel by bus in order to reach the small town which is now often touted as the ‘Gateway to the Flinders’.

To mark that event, on March 10, Pichi Richi Railway ran two special return trains from Quorn to Woolshed Flat, so that today’s travellers could experience the thrill of journeying over the old narrow gauge railway.

Sitting inside a 91 year old Brill railcar that once trundled this line from the 1930s until the end of passenger services to Quorn, passengers were able to recapture the spirit of country rail travel more than 50 years ago.

To make the trips as historically accurate as possible the railcar also hauled a century old railway carriage and an ancient brakevan on its two journeys through Pichi Richi Pass, re-creating the everyday experiences of life in the Flinders some 50 to 80 years ago.

One passenger who travelled on the special trains said she’d done so to relive the journeys that her father had managed while he was a Quorn train controller during the 1950s. The woman beamed that she had thoroughly enjoyed the “historical experience” and the leisurely way of travel.

In fact, such an event may not be repeated for another 25 years, if at all. They could well be once-offs, never to be repeated! 

If you missed the above special trains, but are interested in further historic events occurring to and from Quorn, why not visit Pichi Richi Railway’s website www.pichirichirailway.org.au to learn first about upcoming events?