Sydney woman Lesley Thompson was enthusiastic about her journey across the heart of Australia when she stepped onto the Indian Pacific train with her sister Pam last month.
Carrie Fellner of the Sydney Morning Herald reports Ms Thompson is one of at least 100 passengers to have fallen ill in a mass outbreak of norovirus, a form of gastroenteritis, on the Indian Pacific train in recent weeks.
The 80-year-old, from Greenwich on Sydney’s north shore, was relieved she was in good health with no pre-existing heart problems, and has been able to recover from her ordeal.
The Indian Pacific train travels from Sydney to Perth via Adelaide, crossing the Nullarbor Plain on its 4352-kilometre journey.
More than 100 people have become ill with gastro after travelling on the Indian Pacific train.
The first case linked to the train was recorded on September 8 and the latest case was identified on Monday September 30.
Ms Thompson has been unable to get through to health authorities and does not know if they have counted her among the two passengers reported as requiring hospitalisation.
She boarded the train on September 11 in Sydney and fell ill during a stopover in the South Australian town of Hahndorf the following day.
“I was throwing up everywhere,” she said. “It was vile.”
Ms Thompson is yet to receive a refund on the ticket cost of nearly $10,000, and was initially told she had to pay a “curtailment fee” for abandoning the train during the stopover.
A spokesperson for Great Southern Rail, which operates the service, said it was still working through compensation options for affected guests on a case-by-case basis.
The Indian Pacific remains in operation but SA Health said it had the power to take the train off the tracks if the situation escalates.
“The health and wellbeing of guests is paramount and we have acted quickly to respond to this situation,” a spokesperson said.
(Not an Ozzy fan so I go for this train song)