SBS to screen 17 hrs of The Ghan trip after all

SBS has reversed a decision not to make available a 17hr edition of The Ghan it initially promised (and subsequently abandoned) after a huge audience response to the 3 hour version.

Now it will screen the full daylight trip this Sunday 14 January, from 2.40am – 8.30pm on SBS VICELAND.

The extended version of the 54 hour train trip, only leaves out the nighttime portions of the trip, but will run with commercials.

It will be available thereafter at SBS On Demand.

SBS VICELAND will be all train, all the time with the spectacular journey of The Ghan in full, for 17 hours.

Australia’s first foray into the Slow TV movement last Sunday night on SBS got the nation talking, trending nationally on social media, and recorded an average of 583,000 viewers in metro + regional markets throughout the three hour program, making this the highest performing SBS program in the past 12 months (based on overnight rating).

This 17 hour extended-duration version captures the entire iconic 2979 kilometre rail journey from Adelaide to Darwin, omitting the black screen night time segments of travel, and is not commercial-free.

Produced by Mint Pictures for SBS, The Ghan: Australia’s Greatest Train Journey explores a story important to our shared multicultural history. The train line and subsequent development of central Australia can be attributed to local Indigenous communities as well as early immigrants, including Europeans, Chinese, and the Afghan cameleers ‘The Ghan’ is named after.

2:40am Sunday at SBS VICELAND.


  1. It’s disappointing that there’s no coverage of the South Australian desert, but that’s the train timetable’s fault more than the camera crew — in both directions, the Ghan traverses this most interesting segment at night. For my money, the salt lakes and hills south of Marla are far more interesting than the flat savannah that goes all the way north to Darwin. If you drive through Coober Pedy (you have to stop there — there’s no other choice for a motel bed) you’ll see the best part of the north-south odyssey.

  2. Reminds me of the old days of VHS video where you could buy four hour tapes of fish swimming in an aquarium. “Turn your TV into an aquarium!” the ads said.

  3. What could be the next Slow TV? hmm
    1.A plane trip (great shot of the clouds from the cockpit)
    2.A boat trip to Tasmania on the Ferry!
    3.A bus trip from Sydney to Canberra on a Murray bus!

  4. Well I guess if people wanted it SBS answered the call. You could just have it on in the background and just check where it’s at. Its a shame they arent showing the nighttime.

    I know it was in the paper a few days ago but that little article they put in the herald sun and probably the others where the journo wrote negatively about it and how people on facebook found it boring, if the journo went on twitter most of them were positive comments and how they were enjoying it.

    I also think this would be an interesting doco for the goggle box crew to review.

      • Yeah, I saw the article too and was both confused & disappointed. But that’s ok, I’m sure they will soon balance that out with constant & overbearingly positive articles about the South African jungle. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the mainstream media will be negative on one show and positive on the other. No, it takes a ticket!

  5. Mind bogglingly boring. Could only watch it in hourly stretches on demand. While I love Oz for the same price I can get a luxurious 14 day Med. cruise with an overnight in Venice. How about doing that one SBS ?

    • I watched the 3 hour show in bits and thought it was OK, but I can’t see the 17 hour edition rating all that well. The 3 hour show depicted enough of the terrain to give anyone a good idea of what the countryside is like and there’s only so many shots of the train to be done too. Keeping people interested across the other 14 hours is going to be a tall task.

      Then again, people watch Survivor so one never knows …

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