According to Great Southern Rail, The Ghan is one of the world’s greatest rail journeys. SBS has even made a TV show about it. The Ghan now runs from Adelaide through Tarcoola and then roughly follows the Stuart Highway up to Darwin. But originally, the Ghan followed explorer John MacDouall Stuart’s route through Marree.
In the early years, Marree was the rail head. Drovers brought cattle down the Birdsville Track from Queensland and then loaded them onto the train, for shipment to market in Adelaide. Supplies came up on the return train, and were loaded onto bullock carts and camels, to supply the pastoralists further up the Birdsville Track.
When the railway line was extended, Marree became a transshipping location. There was one railway gauge from the south, and another to the north. Everything had to be taken off one train and loaded onto another, and that kept Marree busy. Over 700 people lived in the town in its heydey.
Trains no longer run through Marree. But you can climb onto this one and have a look around.