Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Slowwww Tv

We found it mesmerising. Radio is not attracting me much of late, so one Sunday we had on in the background some slow tv. The programme began at something like 4am and was still running by 6pm. It had no commentary, aside from what was written on the screen. Many different cameras were used, giving different views, but the cameras were static. There was also, I guess, drone footage of the train.

Oh, I haven't said what it was. It was the Ghan train making the journey north from the southern Australian coastal city of Adelaide to the northern coastal city of Darwin.

The journey is nearly 3000 kilometres and takes 54 hours at an average speed of 85 km/h.

For many years there was a train to the roughly  midpoint of Alice Springs and it was subjected very often to delays. In wet weather it was a question of how late will the The Ghan be? At times it was how many days late will it be and food parcels had to be dropped to the train when it was stranded in flood waters?

One of the few good things former Prime Minister John Howard achieved was to see the extension of the line to Darwin, and following a new and much more weather proof path down south, so it was much less prone to delays.

It is now quite an expensive train trip, especially if you travel in the top class, but I reckon it would be a pretty good trip. A couple of people we know have taken the trip. We hope to one day.

The Ghan name is in honour of the Afghan cameleers who are an integral part of Australia's outback history.


Very bored looking train driver.


I loved the way The Ghan began in the relative green of southern South Australia and we then went out. When we returned, it was in hot desert country. Tuning again in later, we were in the green tropical north.




Yes, slow, boring, but also quite mesmerising. 

36 comments:

  1. I didn't watch the show, I thought about it and then missed it by watching something else and forgetting to change the channel. Now I'm glad of that. I don't think I could watch something that ran all day. I did once think I might take that trip and changed my mind quick smart when I saw the ticket price. I had no idea it would take so long to get there either, 54 hours seems like too long, I'd rather fly. I'd still see the scenery by looking out the plane window unless it was cloudy I suppose.

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    1. River, we just had on in the background and didn't watch it in the evening. Yes, it is expensive. Many people fly one way and catch the train the other way.

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  2. I have only seen the three hour version so far and I watched every minute of it fascinated.

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    1. Victor, I wonder what slow tv they will come up with next?

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  3. I did not watch it as it would drive me crazy with boredom ....sorry Andrew.

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    1. Lady J, as I said, it was just on in the background, glancing at it every so often.

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  4. I, too, only saw the 3 hour version, which I found really soothing to have going whilst I researched history - popped my head up over the top of the laptop every coupla minutes and got mesmerised by the scenery.

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    1. Jayne, that is what happened with us.

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  5. I often wondered where the name Ghan came from

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    1. Marie, horses couldn't cut it in the outback nearly as well as camels. Unfortunately they are now in plague proportions.

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    2. There's a remedy for that, camel burgers, camel stew, camel hair coats...

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  6. Fantastic trip, great food and interesting stops - highly recommended. But don't forget to take your Kindle and film supply.

    I had no idea I had to thank ex-Prime Minister John Howard for the Darwin extension. Bugger... he did well.

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    1. Hels, haha, film supply. That and the gun laws were about all the good he did.

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  7. Andrew, Slow tv seems to have taken off here in the U.K. The first show we saw was the mesmerising "All Aboard The Country Bus." A bus ride through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. No commentary, no gimmicks, no music and even better no commercials... just occasional text to give you information on the route.

    Then we had 'All Aboard: The Canal Journey' a Canal boat journey on the Kennet & Avon Canal.
    Apparently BBC 4's viewing figures doubled with a surge of interest of slow tv. Usually running at around two to three hours, I thought that the Yorkshire bus journey was the best, even showing passengers boarding the bus. It gave you that odd feeling of actually being outdoors when in fact you're sitting at home in your favorite armchair.

    The most recent one they showed was 'All Aboard: The Sleigh Ride' a journey across the frozen Artic with a reindeer pulling a sleigh as the evening draws in in a snow covered landscape.

    Now if only they would do one on the Great Western Train route to Cornwall.

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    1. Dee, thanks for that. The bus one sounds the most interesting. I heard of one made in Europe by a European broadcaster, but I can't remember what it was. Oh yes, the train to Cornwall would be great.

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  8. Watched part of it, amazing the different terrain as it did change along the way, well each time I came back to look at the TV. I personally wouldn't go on the train as we have travelled 3 times up the middle.

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    1. Margaret, I never noticed the changing landscape until it has really changed. Your an old hand at going up the middle then.

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  9. Also one of the trips I would love to do one day, but it's quite expensive.

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    1. It is expensive Sami, yet it is one trip where I think you should travel top class.

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  10. Not too keen on train after being involved in a derailment as a passenger on a train heading out of ondon to Liverpool during the war. a bomb was the cause.

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    1. Vest, was it a serious derailment? Were people injured?

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  11. Typo Trains London.

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  12. I do not watch Tv it is a waste of time for me only You Tube

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    1. Gosia, so that is how you fit so much into life.

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  13. Sounds sort of like me watching the Christmas Yule Long, Andrew. (lol) I'd much rather take the train trip than watch it, I think. Hugs...RO

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    1. RO, it is one of not to miss train trips, designed for tourists.

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  14. That's not very quick 85km/h when I think that the Eurostar does 300km/h ! But certainly interesting for tourists to see the landscape.

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    1. Gattina, it does get up to a speed of 115 km/h, but yes as high speed trains go, that is pathetic. But it is not a high speed train. It is luxurious tourist train.

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  15. I've never really travelled very long distances by train. Perhaps a few hundred miles from Wales to London us my limit. I would love to travel for days on a luxury train

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    1. John, future travel plan? I think it is one of your blogmates, I can't remember his name, who's wife bought him surprise tickets for the Orient Express, some years ago. First class travel on European and British trains is not quite what I thought it would be. First class on the Trans Pennine is rubbish. Not ever a biscuit or cup of tea, never mind a voddy. It was better on the Great East Coast line, but that is now run by Branson, so who knows. First class from Amsterdam to Brussels? No Sir, you can only have food and drinks if you are going on to Paris. I expect very little from Eurostar but at least the journey is quickly over.

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  16. I think I might have been a wee bit fascinated by that too Andrew 😀 The train trip across the Nullarbor could be interesting.. NOT!

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    1. Grace, I once thought it might be nice to take the......Indian Pacific. But it sounded a bit ordinary by the reviews. The same company runs both.

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  17. A friend of mine went on The Ghan a few years ago...not long after it was up and running...and she loved the journey.

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    1. Lee, I would suggest your quite rich friend.

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  18. I read the book Tracks, about the woman who took camels across Australia and had to learn how to handle them first working with cameliers, some very rough people. It was really interesting because I didn't know much about the camels there.

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    1. Ah yes, Robyn someone. Even Australians don't know much about the outback camels.

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