Spirit of Queensland
Taking this luxurious train journey from Cairns to Townsville, there is no better way to experience this coastal journey than by rail. Once your onboard, the rest of the train journey is taken care of.
What to know about Spirit of Queensland Train Journey
A train journey is a window to the world. Like the train across Queensland coastline, the Spirit of Queensland train is a chance to gaze out the window of a train while it rumbles over bridges, winds around hills and slithers through canefields and country towns. Queensland’s Spirit of Queensland train is an awesome over-night journey and is most popular with travellers between Brisbane and Cairns. This rail journey from Brisbane to Cairns has been operating for more than 50 years. It is one of the Australia’s longest running and most endearing rail journeys in the country. Today, this train journey is undoubtedly, one of Australia’s greatest rail journeys of all. This train journey makes its way along the Queensland’s incredible east coastline through some of Queensland’s tropical capital cities and country towns. The train journey itself is relaxing, comfortable and flexibility with great social atmosphere makes it no better way to travel than by train. What a simpler style of travel.
Forget air travel, travel by train and view the ever changing scenery.
With this Queensland’s Spirit of Queensland train is an awesome over-night, 1700 kilometres journey that starts in Brisbane and ends in Cairns but my 584km journey that started from Cairns and ended in Townsville. This 6-hour train journey winds passed hills, canefields, towns and temperate rainforests before reaching Townsville.
Why, take the train?
Train journeys provide moments that stand out above others and the experiences you would never get from a plane or a car. They come to represent, for me, the places in which they occurred as well as the thrill of travel as a whole. Yes, trains are not just to get from A to B but train travel really is the journey and not the destination. Any train enthusiast will tell you this. You get to experience the ever changing scenery and the warmness and social atmosphere – the people you meet and the things you share. Trains are more social than any other mode of transportation. You can share meals with people you get to meet, trade information, share stories and make lifelong friends. With all these, has motivated me going on this train journey was to experience this contemporary, comfortable and great scenic journey making its way along the Queensland’s east coast which has been designed for relaxation.
There is something about this rail transportation, that is highly efficient and somewhat adventurous and yet calm. My ambition, taking this train journey has been on my pending bucket-list for years. When it comes to trains, it can be anything which makes it more interesting. Trains can be rattling rides, supersonic bullets or just in between but air travels are cramped and stressful, while coach or buses are ponderous and sweaty. This train travel was a great way to explore Queensland’s North Coast from Cairns to Townsville aboard this luxurious Spirit of Queensland train.
My traint trip on Queensland’s Spirit of Queensland started in Cairns, a six hour train journey ending in Townsville. I hopped onboard the ‘Spirit of Queensland’ 2015 diesel powered locomotive, we left laid-back Cairns just before 9am, where the rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef. I was quick to learn of a last minute upgrade to premium class – an experience I had to tick off. The moment, I step aboard the Spirit of Queensland Railbeds, the comfort of my rail journey experience was taken care of. I was certainly not disappointed, the staff were so friendly and helpful from the platform to the onboard staff and the railbeds were squeaky clean.
The train offers travel options to suit every budget conscious travellers and has two classes of service: Economy and Railbeds service. The premium economy carriages feature leather seats, with entertainments on travel (TV, music, movies etc) are situated in the back of the seat in front of you.
Meanwhile, the Railbeds are similar to business or first class seats on airlines. Whatever way you choose to travel, the same wonderful view is guaranteed. For me, I was craving to be in the Railbed comfort with modern style seating and found it to be the only way to travel, when travelling long distances whilst economy travellers found themselves faced with the most basic seats. The premium section is all inclusive style of travel that features comfortable spacious seatings, which slide out as sleeping beds, which are far larger in the flesh than it appears in photos. I had personalised service with all meals delivered, entertainment and a host of special touches to ensure a memorable journey.
Travelling in Railbed class, all our meals were served at our seats. After leaving Cairns, a short time later during the journey, our morning tea was served. We had the selection of either coffee or tea that came with Australian made cookies. Further along the way, almost 90 minutes of scenic train journey, our lunch was served with one complimentary beverage of our choice. In my case, I wanted a cup of coffee with hot pastry, sausage and vegies. For extra drinks and snacks, we had to purchased at the club bar. The lunch menu has a wide selection that suits all travellers and those with special dietary requirements. The food on board can be good or it can be inedible, I found the meals on board Spirit of Queensland were deliciously tasty.
One of the most important part of long train travel for me is the whole cleanliness of bathrooms. To me it is vital. This train surely keep to its standard, they were spotless rather than horrifying which I have experienced in other parts of the world.
As we made our way through canefields and lush greenery tropical rainforest, we passed through some of the most scenic places along the coastline. We had few stops in few small country towns along the way for passenger boarding or disembarking. I immersed myself in the ever-changing scenery from one town felt like a sense of a slide show happening in front me as the journey continues. As I continued to enjoy this train journey, the more I indulged myself with food, drink and photography. There is something to train travel that nothing else can compare to. It is fast and yet still enjoyably slow. It is social and yet private. It is old and yet ultra-modern. And it is so much fun.
Just after having my delicious lunch, I went for a stroll from my dwellings to the club car. I observed guests reading, listening to music, watching movies or simply watching the world pass by. When guests were not divulging in the leisure life, they were in the club car either eating or drinking. The club-car also known as “Bar Car” or “Galley” is where most economy passengers purchase their meals and drinks. It is also a meeting place – simply, I just hang around for friendly chat with other travellers. While I enjoyed the comfort of a train journey but for me, enjoying a chat with a total stranger creates an atmosphere, how sociable and unique train travel experience is.
Having few extra drinks with other fanatic train travellers, while enjoying the comfort and relaxation of train travel as the views gliding across the windows, my time of on this epic train journey was almost ending. It wasn’t long before arriving in Townsville as I made my way to my seat in time for afternoon tea served. The beauty of travelling on the Railbed, all my meals were provided and brought to my seat which made my journey special and the 6-hour journey worth every minute. With spacious seating and around the train, it provided gentle appreciate of scenery for me to look around and enjoy a sense of place and to marvel at how one region morphs naturally into the next. The beauty of premium passengers, we are able to go to the club car and mingle with rest of other travellers.
Finally, arriving in Townsville before 3:30pm where I disembark in time to beat the peak hour, as I made my way to the hotel just a short distance away from the train station. What a thrill to end this short six-hour train journey in Townsville. It is a train journey that one must do whilst visiting this beautiful part of North Queensland. What a thrill it was to take on this train journey and certainly not the last. This train journey on the Spirit of Queensland is exciting and unconventional experience and it is highly recommended to couple looking for a relaxed way to see the east coastline of Queensland. It is, however, an experience that draws from the effort that you put it, and socialising with the fellow guests is as big a part of the trip as the train itself.
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Categories: TRAIN JOURNEY