Day 134: Alice Springs
At the functional, unromantic modern station metal steps are set out at each doorway like a long line of Zimmer frames. Our three-thousand horsepower diesel engine is called City of Port Augusta and will, we are told by our informative Train Manager, reach a top speed of 110 kilometres an hour.
Colony wattles, desert cassias and witchetty bushes provide sparse cover as we roll over old, tired landscape, ribbed with low red ridges like some primaeval seabed. The Finke River, which we cross two hours out of Alice, is described as the oldest river bed in the world. It's a damp patch in the sand today.
Sunset is a violent crimson slash in the western sky. By the time it's over we have slipped past Kulgera and into South Australia.
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