Just over a year ago, I went on a trip to Australia. Starting in Adelade, I decided when booking that a train ride to Sydney would be a good idea. In my mind it was a few hours, hopefully on an XPT.
The travel agent knew better. "You'll want the Indian Pacific then" he said. I'd never heard of it but he seemed to know what he was doing so I nodded.
Rather than 4 hours, the journey actually took and fantastic 26. We passed through proper outback, saw kangaroos and emus running wild and wondered who would live in the remote communities we passed through. I took a bit of video that can be seen on YouTube.
Anyway, being a train fan, of course I wanted a model of one of the locos that had hauled me. The prototype is easy enough, it's the NR Class, built in the late 1990s.
A model was more of a challenge. Looking in one of the Aussie model mags I'd bought, a company called Austrains were commissioning a HO scale replica but it wasn't available at the time.
What a surprise on Christmas day to find an orange box under the tree with the model at the top of this post inside it. My parents had been communicating with Orient Express models to buy one. Just like in the UK, there had been production delays so what had been planned as a birthday present arrived at Christmas.
I'm well chuffed. It's a lovely model and will make a great addition to my little Australian model display. Best that I don't think about building a layout - the train would be over 6 metres long and if I fancy building the whole trip, the baseboard will be 64803 feet long - a bit large for most exhibitions!