The Trans-Australian Railway, WA
The Trans-Australian Railway, running from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie and connecting the eastern states with Western Australia, was arguably the first major work of a federated Australia. The promise of a federally funded east-west rail link was one of the deciding factors for Western Australia agreeing to join with the eastern states.

Surveying for the proposed line began in 1908 and continued into 1909, with construction beginning in 1912. Tracks were built simultaneously in both directions, from east of Port Augusta and west of Kalgoorlie. The two tracks met and were joined near Ooldea in South Australia on 17 October 1917. Five days later the first passenger train departed from Port Augusta for the inaugural journey to Kalgoorlie, a trip which took a little over 42 hours.

The track used 138,000 tonne of rails and 2.342 million hardwood sleepers in the construction of its 1683 km length. Maintenance crews lived along the line at intervals, and were supplied by the weekly Tea and Sugar train.

Today the standard gauge rail network has been extended east from Port Augusta as far as Sydney, and west of Kalgoorlie all the way to Perth, making it possible to catch a train from the Pacific Ocean across the continent to the Indian Ocean. This has led to the naming of the Indian-Pacific, the passenger train that now runs along the line at least once a week in both directions.

— Isa Menzies, Curator, National Museum of Australia
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