"AROUND THE WORLD BY TRAIN #1 AUSTRALIA" Personal Page by DennyP
AUSTRALIAS EAST COAST TO THE WEST COAST. SYDNEY..NEW SOUTH WALES...
The morning was a cool autumn one as I waited to board my XPT EXPLORER train bound for Melbourne.A journey of almost a thousand kilometers.I was really looking forward to this ..as this was the first of my many train journeys that I would take ,around and across Australia from Sydney to Perth then (fly to Singapore) and various train journeys through SE Asia in the next five months..as part of my "Around the World by Train".
The initial train trip departed Sydney Central at 06.30 for the nearly 13 hour journey to Melbourne Central arriving at 19.00..Leaving Sydney it seemed to take a long time to clear the city and suburbs as Sydney is really such a spread out city from the coast as we headed south west....then there were the many stops between the two cities for local travellers...but I was very comfortable and my accompanying passenger was a very interesting young German woman now living temporarily in Australia ,whom I found out through our conversation that she was a gold medal winner at the Athens and also the Beijing Olympic Games..amazing who you meet on trains!..it didn't take long for the train then to be in the country of New South Wales and heading south., with the buffet car open this made the trip even more enjoyable..A good breakfast was available as also was lunch and for train travel was not that expensive..Country New South Wales at the time was exceptionaly dry and still in the throes of a long and severe drought and as the land was so dry and parched in most of the areas inland so much had been had been noticeably burnt in the recent summer fires that not only inflict so much damage on the land and its flora and fauna but the native animals take a huge toll and also the farm livestock pay a huge price.
The NSW XPT EXPLORER EXPRESS travels Australias East coast between between Sydney-Melbourne and Sydney-Brisbane..A good and relaxing way to travel between the Capitals..
SYDNEY CENTRAL STATION TO MELBOURNE SOUTHERN CROSS CENTRAL 950 KLMS
MELBOURNE...VICTORIA..At Last I get to ride on "THE OVERLANDER EXPRESS" that travels between the Capitals of Melbourne in Victoria and Adelaide in South Australia..another early departure 08.00 to arrive in Adelaide 17.45. I arrived in plenty of time at the station and took some photos etc. before boarding the train and quickly found my seat as we departed Melbourne on time. ..after departing the city and suburbs of Melbourne it was immediately noticeable how dry the areas were..The dry mallee countryside passing by my window was wheat country ..that had recently been harvested ,and the sheep were in cleaning up what was left..also very noticeable was the many places that had been badly burnt in the summers previous horrendous bush fire season..not only the bush but fences and properties..Victoria has been and still is suffering from acute water shortages with very little recent rainfall..heading into South Australia the beef cattle I observed appeared to be in good condition even with the extremely dry conditions that they were enduring also..
The buffet car once again had good food and a welcome cold beer.at a very reasonable price...a few people that I spoke with had taken the opportunity to get a few discount tickets for the "GHAN" and were heading for Adelaide to board the "GHAN "train and the wonderful experience of that long journey north into the "Territory".."The Overlander express"arrived in Parklands on time after a journey of nearly one thousand kilometers..but not before the really picturesque evening trip through the majestic tall stands of eucalyptus forrest of the Adelaide Hills..where I even noticed a few Koalas in the trees..
MELBOURNE SOUTHERN CROSS STATION TO ADELAIDE PARKLANDS STATION DISTANCE 830 KLMS
ADELAIDE...SOUTH AUSTRALIA. again I find myself back at Parklands Railway Terminal in Adelaide..The last time I was here ..nine months previously, I had just gotten off the INDIAN PACIFIC train from Sydney, an overnight trip of some two thousand kilometers..(see travelogue OZ train journeys #1) and it was here that I was to board the GHAN TRAIN for my ongoing journeys to Alice Springs ("the red centre") and Darwin in the Northern Territory.(and this is one of the great train journeys of the world).
Now,once again I was going to board THE INDIAN PACIFIC and this time continue the journey to Perth.. a long journey of three nights and two days..and a distance of some three thousand kilometers...This train journey onwards to Perth was to complete the across Australia journey that I had broken last year here in Adelaide.
Adelaide is such a really clean and orderly city with great transport system and much early colonial architecture with lovely well kept gardens and with a lot of little towns close by offering various things to see and do..with many good restaurants and pubs and one of my favourite backpackers for accomodation that made my stay in Adelaide most enjoyable , but ,after six days ,the time had come to eagerly board the INDIAN PACIFIC..I had arrived a little early and was excited with anticipation about this trip. So, while waiting I purchased some postcards of the train to post on to friends..
This INDIAN PACIFIC trip is another of the worlds greatest train journeys..and it seemed like there was just so many people on the platform waiting also to board the train and wondering if everyone had a spot..but looking at the length of the train with so many carriages..it certainly was not a problem everybody being ticketed..I boarded the train in the glare of the Adelaide afternoon setting sun and I was immediately ready to be on my way..having been on this train before I knew exactly what to expect ..the friendly staff...great train food and the hot showers that make this train one of the best that I have ever been on...as usual I was travelling budget and I had a "sleep seat".. like a plane seat but better this was very comfortable and it reclined way back for a good sleep..I made my way to my seat , stowed my pack above the seat on the rack and settled in..we left on time departing Adelaide at 18.40
ADELAIDE PARKLANDS STATION TO PERTH CENTRAL 2260 KLMS.
COOK ON THE NULLABOR PLAINSThe time onboard the INDIAN PACIFIC TRAIN I found passed rather quickly as there was always somebody new to meet and talk to and as this is the great thing about train travel that can't be had on busses or aircraft, is the ability to move around and walk to different carriages, and have the accessability of a great buffet car and lounge bar to either drink and eat, or just read and charge your batteries for phones ,camera ,or self...or.. maybe plug in your laptop..or,...just look out the windows to take in the amazingly red landscape, so many interesting people from all over the world catch this popular train..I found it so easy to fall asleep but the good thing is also after a sleep there are the hot/cold showers that always make you feel so good after.
I always carry my own water on trains as I find it's the way to go..another great thing about trains is your baggage...no problem.. nobody is going to hassle you about the weight and also it's safe with plenty of storage room..no having to arrive two or more hours prior to departure and having to remove half your clothes for a security check..yes..train travel is really a great way to travel now..providing that you have the time..
The INDIAN PACIFIC TRAIN stops here at Cook to take on water..Cook is a small extremly isolated place in the middle of nowhere on the Nullabor Plains .and it is here that everyone can get off the train for about 45 minutes ...have a stretch and have a wander around this tiny community and really see how remote this location is. many taking the opportunity to take a few photos of this little ghost town..that only now has a population of five ..one can't help but think of the isolation that the previously small population had to live with...most were Sandalwood timber getters..This town is situated on the longest straight section of railway line in the world ...a distance of 478 kilometers in length..ALL of the Railway stations along this line are named after previous Australian Prime Ministers..
KALGOORLIE CENTRAL WESTERN AUSTRALIA.. Travelling across the Nullabor Plains from Cook to Kalgoorlie it is easy to see the vastness and enormity of the Australian mainland..The train pulled into Kalgoorlie in the early evening and stops there for a few hours for refuelling and passengers..Kalgoorlie is a hugely rich gold mining town known as the "Golden Mile" located 600 kilometers east of Perth..and when gold was discovered there in 1893 they say it changed the history of Western Australia...now a huge mining and mineral state.
In the early seventies another precious mineral was discovered in abundance in Kalgoorlie and that was nickle ..and the preceding boom added much to the prosperity of the region..Today Kalgoorlie and Boulder are the service centres for the outlying pastoral properties and growing tourist industry.from Kalgoorlie to Perth gradually the train enters the western Wheatbelt a huge area of wheat farms that help make Australia one of the biggest suppliers of wheat in the world..it's a morning arrival into the city of Perths Central Railway Station and after a wonderful hot shower ..I am ready to welcome my time in sunny Perth and with that ,it brings an end to one of the greatest train journeys that you can take in the world...The Indian Pacific...Australia's east coast to west coast..
BELGRAVE..The "PUFFIN BILLY TRAIN" that runs between the towns of Belgrave and Gembrook is truly a wonderful train journey and experience..although it is not a long trip the little train takes you through some of Victorias beautiful mountain scenery..the Dandenong Ranges and the Sherbrooke Forrest ...the trees are absolutely magnificent especially the flowering Mountain Ash.. the bird and wildlife is in abundance here and much can be seen from the train....While I waited on the Sunday morning to catch this special train the platform was awash with so many people and wasn't sure if everybody would get on but we did as they also put on another train though the other was a diesel..Leaving Belgrave the workshops where all the volunteers work on these trains can be seen ..also some of the other trains in use on this special line...
Along with three timber bridges there is a special timber tressle bridge with some 15 spans (that is now National Trust of Victoria) which carries the trains over Monbulk Creek..The Tressle is 91.5 meters long (300 feet) and12.8meters high (42 feet)...This is a great place to take some photos and as the carriages are open photography is made easy..some wonderful farm scenery also can be seen..The train stops at a few stations for passengers to alight and also board. at Menzies Creek where there is a railway Museum ..and Emerald(township) is the highest station on the line this is a popular place for weekend visitors with its fine picnic and toilet facilitiesthere is also a railway carriage workshop here..the train passes through many little towns until it finally arrives at Gembrook..The sunday that I was in Gembrook there was a local market just by the station and it has also a good pub with live music on the weekend..trains usually stop over here for one hour ...I chose to stay longer and enjoy some of the live country music at the pub..
BELGRAVE VICTORIA. After spending a few hours looking about the market and the many craft shops here I had a few beers while at the local pub listening to some good live music..then it was time for the return journey to Belgrave...This time as I had missed the return trip on the "Puffin Billy" but I got the diesel loco back..once again a great return trip in the afternoon sun..This is a really interesting little train journey if you ever get the chance to do it...The train distance out from Melbourne by train to Belgrave is 42 kilometers (26 miles) and is a great day out..Some of these original train engines are a hundred years old now..*
GEMBROOK VICTORIA..While I was waiting at Gembrook for my return trip to Belgrave...this little train engine came along the line...different eh!!!*
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