Australia 2020 Transcontinental Railway Semicentennial
- Issue Date: 11 February 2020
- Designed by: Jamie and Leanne Tufrey
- Printed by: Ego
- Print Process: Offset lithography
- Perforations: 13.86 x 14.6
- Dimensions: 37.5 mm x 26 mm
- Format: sheetlets of 10
This issue commemorates the 50th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental standard-gauge railway. Before 1970, variation in rail gauge meant that goods and passengers travelling by rail from Sydney to Perth were subject to the inconvenience of several train changes. At the time of Federation in 1901, New South Wales used standard gauge (1,435mm); Victoria and South Australia broad gauge (1,600mm); and Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia and parts of South Australia, narrow gauge (1,067mm). With the agreement and collaboration of the Commonwealth and state governments, standardisation of interstate rail gauges commenced in 1930 and finally completed in 1995 with the Melbourne to Adelaide route.
The first uninterrupted transcontinental freight service commenced on 12 January 1970 and the new passenger service over the same route left Sydney on 23 February 1970, arriving in Perth on the morning of 26 February. This passenger service was named the Indian-Pacific after the oceans it links. Today the Indian Pacific travels from Sydney to Perth via Adelaide, a 4,352-kilometre journey of around 70 hours that includes the world’s longest stretch of straight track (478 kilometres) on the Nullarbor Plain.