The Ghan turned around, sent back to SA with 221 passengers

 

HOLIDAY plans of rail travellers on The Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin have been destroyed by the sudden COVID-19 forced lockdown of the NT-SA border.

The train, which was on its way to Katherine and Darwin, has been stopped in Alice Springs and will be turned around and sent back to Adelaide.

A spokesman for Journey Beyond confirmed that the NT Health Department ordered The Ghan to turn around and re-route back to Adelaide after government-enforced border restrictions were announced.

The Ghan departed for the final journey of the season last Sunday morning carrying 221 guests from Adelaide to Darwin.

 

The Ghan won’t come to Darwin on its final journey of the season. Picture: Che Chorley
The Ghan won’t come to Darwin on its final journey of the season. Picture: Che Chorley

 

MORE ON THE NT/SA BORDER CLOSURE

'It could happen here too': Chief Health Officer, Chief Minister warn Territorians not to be complacent

Adelaide-Darwin travellers told midair they'll have to quarantine, as the NT reintroduces border restrictions for SA

NT brings in mandatory quarantine for travellers from South Australia residents after cluster outbreak

 

"The service had already crossed the Northern Territory border when the restrictions were announced and there are no suspected or confirmed cases on board," the spokesman said.

"Guests on board have been notified and given the option to disembark in Alice Springs and quarantine for 14 days or stay on board and continue through to Adelaide where they will be supported to return home safely.

"The Ghan return journey from Darwin to Adelaide was scheduled to depart on Wednesday but will now be cancelled."

Journey Beyond will offer affected guests credit vouchers for future travel and work with them to rebook.

Top End Tourism chief executive Glen Hingley said the closure of the SA, NT border had left the Territory's tourism operators scurrying to find alternative solutions for travellers booked from South Australia.

"Our members have been inundated with calls from travellers," Mr Hingley said.

"This is pretty hard news for our tour operators. This has been a year of hell for them.

"Katherine, Darwin, Kakadu are all affected by this. My members are still going through all the implications for those here and those with forward bookings.

"Having said that our industry does understand why this has had to happened."

gary.shipway@news.com.au

Originally published as The Ghan turned around, sent back to SA with 221 passengers


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