David Palmer crossed the Nullabor last week, fulfilling a long-held ambition to see the Flinders Ranges while completing a special mission that ties together two historic railways.

"This was my first trip to the Flinders Ranges, but I’m already planning a second one", said David. "There’s no way to describe it really, turning around the bend and there in front of you there’s this ancient landscape".

David, a member of Western Australia’s Hotham Valley Railway carried some special cargo from his home near Perth.

David Palmer with Pichi Richi Railway locomotive W22, June 2014

"I’ve also been a taxi this time, carrying a spare piston-cutting jig built by South West Model Engineers in Bunbury, WA, for the Pichi Richi Railway’s W class engines" said David. This part is one of the many rare items necessary to keep the vintage W class steam locomotives held at both Pichi Richi and Hotham Valley Railways in operational condition.

Impressed by his weekend experience, David has just become the latest member of the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society, which celebrates 40 years in operation this year.

David was just one of many rail photographers who travelled from every corner of Australia over last weekend, to explore Quorn’s historic Pichi Richi Railway in a weekend-long program of train rides and photographic experiences.

The Railway’s vast collection of heritage locomotives and carriages are a magnetic attraction for Railway Enthusiasts, photographers and history buffs thanks to the spectacular landscapes, unique heritage rail collection and rich stories behind the "Old Ghan" line.

Maikha Ly, 26, was one of the volunteers responsible for coordinating this inaugural Railfan Weekend. "It was a terrific success, we’ve had really great feedback from all the visitors who are now heading home with some fantastic memories, and some amazing pictures" said Maikha. "Many are keen to do it all again next year".

Railfans were treated to several train rides with carefully planned photographic stops to capture the beautiful Flinders Ranges landscapes, some at locations accessible only by train.

"The photographic quality of the light at this time of year is exceptional", said Maikha. "We planned all the stops to catch the light at just the right time of day. It was great to see our guests really enjoying being in the Pichi Richi Pass and taking home some incredible images to remember the Flinders Ranges".

The weekend-long itinerary included 7 different engines and countless carriages, both passenger and freight, representing close to a century of Australian Railway History.

Railfan’s tastes are as varied as the engines they admire, so it’s hard to pick a universal favourite, but once pressed Jeremy Browne, founding member of the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society and the coordinator of the event, picks the original Ghan locomotive, NM25.

"The NM is just a classic steam engine, it's black and gleaming and looks incredible enveloped by steam", said Jeremy.

NM25 was stored at Homestead Park in Port Augusta for many years, before its acquisition in 1990 by the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society. It is one of many historic locomotives that have been restored by the Society since its inception in 1973.

"All our engines are special, but NM25 particularly so because it used to run the Central Australia Railway on this very line up till 1954", said Jeremy. "This little engine went to Alice Springs and back at least 300 times. It’s great to know that we’re keeping a bit of history running, and that people are willing to come from all over for a glimpse into the past."