13 June 2013

A fabulous Train Ride on the Savannahlander

Today I'd like to tell you about a fabulous train ride in far north Queensland. In fact the best train ride I've been on in Australia. I am, after all what they call, a train buff. Not to be confused with train spotting.

The Savannahlander consists of a back to back railmotor, with a capacity of 96 passengers. If more people book the trip, they can add a central carriage. but that wasn't the case on our trip. In fact we only had 17 passengers on board.

The units were built for QR in 1963. Each unit consists of a 250HP Cummins diesel engine and Alison Auto gear box. OK, the technical stuff out of the way.

 The Savannahlander departs from Cairns railway station on Wednesdays at 6.30 am at daybreak, then proceeds up the Kuranda rail track to Mareeba and from there all the way to Forsayth some 400 km inland, through cattle farms, woodlands and over creeks and rivers to the delight of passangers.

The whole trip takes four days, stopping at various places for the nights and visiting wonderful caves, gorges and lava tubes. No doubt you'll see those on the Blogger's blog. I am just concentrating on the train itself.

The Savannahlnder at Cairns railway ststion

Anthony and Will are our drivers

The train emblem

The train is very comfortable
There are seats at the from, including next to the driver, which passangers can use for periods of five minutes. These seats offer fabulous views for photographers.

Anthony drives us through the hills
The drivers alternate between driving the train and being train guards. They have merchandise on board which can be purchased during the trip

Of course I had to buy a cap

The Blogger enjoys the trip
At Bullock Creek, in the middle of nowhere, the train stops, the drivers disembark and set up for morning tea for the passengers, it's just wonderful. A cup of coffee, a piece of cake and a empty train out in the boondocks. 
Morning Tea
Almaden Station
Every now and then, the train has to stop, the drivers get out and  to shoo off cattle or other wildlife on the tracks.

The drivers communicate by two-way radio

The Savannahlander crosses the Stoney Creek Falls Bridge
I have travelled  bit on trains in Europe and the United States , but who would have thought I could have so much fun on this four day trip though the Queensland Outback.

There are not many trips I've done that I would repeat, but this one I would, it's just a delight moving around on this 60s rail motor seeing the Australian outback.