7am – 8am
PA wakes us up requesting we show up for breakfast. Would have been nice for them to give us a bit of notice. Hastily get dressed and head up the corridor for breakfast. See sunrise over outback Australia – quite interesting terrain. Stop to drop off mail at a siding where some eccentric old guy lives with his dogs.
8am – 10am
Go back to cabin and have a leisurely shower and get ready for our arrival into Cook. Scenery becomes a lot more barren as we get out onto the Nullabor Plain.
10am – 11am
Arrive in Cook in time to allow a freight train to pass. We get off the train and spend a bit of time wondering around the metropolis that is Cook. Once home to nearly 300 people, including a two storey school building and a hospital. Now home to a population of two. Many more people come through itinerantly, but only the two of them are permanent. The train takes on water, and a passenger – one of the drivers from that freight train joins us for the journey back to Perth. His train was over 1500m long, compared to ours at under 500m. We buy some souveniers from their store.
11am – 12pm
Depart Cook and head off into the endless nothingness that is the Nullabor.
See numerous Wedgetail Eagles, Emus and Kangaroos.
12pm – 2pm
Lunch is another wonderful meal.
Spot a pair of dingoes wandering along a dirt track beside the railway line.
Cross the SA/WA border and soon after pass the east-bound Indian Pacific train out of Perth. Goes by a little too fast for us to effectively wave to the passengers on that train.
2pm – 6pm
Endless treeless plains pass by in a continuous stream of nothingness. Quite fascinating really.
Read a bit. Listen to the iPod a bit. Play with the cameras. Sleep a bit. Watch the world go by.
5pm – 7pm
Dinner a lovely meal once more – I could get used to this !
Adjust “train time” to WST – gain another 90 minutes.
5:30pm – 7:30pm
Sit and listen to the iPod again. We actually both listen at once – I bought myself some decent earphones and an adaptor plug so we can both sit there and listen together.
7:30pm – 11pm
Arrive into Kalgoorlie after a brief generator refuelling stop, leave the train and board a tour coach for a tour of the town. Quite fascinating history of the gold mining area – and the people and architecture. Visit the nearby “Superpit” where they are actively mining an open-cut mine – currently several km long and wide, and over 300m deep – eventually even longer/wider, and up to 600m deep. At 600m deep you could take all of the worlds top 10 tallest buildings place them side-by-side in the pit (it’s long enough for them to fit) and you would be looking down on all of them ! Now that’s a deep hole !
Get back from the tour with over an hour before we are scheduled to depart Kalgoorlie. Wander up and down the platform for a bit, sit in the lounge for a bit, and eventually head to our cabin, and start packing our bags ready for arrival into Perth tomorrow.
Head to bed before we even depart Kalgoorlie.
Bit of a restless sleep – track is a bit rougher than it was in SA and across the Nullabor – still far better than NSW anyway !
Towns/sidings travelled through today: (asleep) Bookaloo, McLeay, Wirraminna, Kultanaby, Kingoonya, Ferguson, Tarcoola, Wynbring, Mungala, (awake) Bates, Ooldea, Watson, Fisher, Cook, Denman, Deakin, Forrest, Nurina, Rawlinna, Naretha, Kitchener, Chifley, Curtin, Golden Ridge, Kalgoorlie, (asleep) West Kalgoorlie, Stewart