The Southern Rail Spectacular

Any Cruise, Anywhere, Any Time

Spectacular Southern Rail

The Southern Rail Spectacular lived up to its billing – it was spectacular!

The Southern Rail Spectacular – a new and first-ever 5-day adventure – offering the opportunity to ride behind one of Australia’s most famous locomotives, the legendary Beyer-Garratt 6029. This 265-ton monster, the largest locomotive ever to operate in Australia, is just part of this heritage rail tour from Sydney to Victoria and back in August of 2018.

Heritage Rail

Written by Cruise Express client and train enthusiast, Ken Ticehurst

The Cruise Express’ team spent over a year in planning this monumental journey and with a mountain of red tape to climb, the team put together an amazing array of 11 steam and diesel engines and 33 carriages to make five train sets for the journeys.

Below are a few highlights I’d like to share:

Day 1: Leaving Sydney Central station at 5:18am the train, hauled by two heritage diesels, travelled on the goods line, passed the dead centre of Sydney (Rookwood) and on to the main southern line. The Beyer-Garrett 6029 was attached at Junee. At Yass Junction, the train waited for the Melbourne bound XPT to pass. It was a great sight to see the 6029 & XTP together.

Day 2: After an overnight stay in the lovely Atura motel in Albury, we joined the first run of the Spirit of Progress on standard gauge tracks for the trip to Melbourne. It was a smooth ride in air-conditioned carriages, and a stop for lunch at Seymour, allowed time to visit the rail museum. Overnight in Melbourne at Vibe Savoy hotel was also most pleasant.

Day 3: The train to Castlemaine was hauled by two steam locos, one A class and one K class, and another set of carriages. At Castlemaine another set of heritage carriages were provided, with the A class Loco pulling the train to Maldon. Two special carriages, Macedon and Tambo, were used in the old Overland express in years gone by. A stop at Muckleford was provided so that we could photograph the train doing a run through the station.

Day 4: Another train, with K707 at the lead, took the group to Newport rail yards for an inspection of the fascinating activities undertaken to restore many locos and carriages. After lunch the Spirit of Progress train once again headed for Albury.

Southern Rail

Day 5: Another night at the Atura, at 6.30am we headed in 3 coaches to Canberra. As unpredictable as any travel can be, heritage rail journeys are no exception! After all the planning, ARTC announced that track work would extend to Monday. The Beyer-Garrett took the train to Moss Vale where it was decoupled and the two diesels were attached for the return to Sydney.

The organisation was first class. So much work behind the scenes was necessary to make a most enjoyable experience for the 150 travellers. Each day a staff member would bring a large card showing times and places for the following day. Nothing was too much trouble. The heritage rail personnel were all volunteers and really love what they do.

Congratulations to the Cruise Express team for a job well done!

Enjoy more of our spectacular photos from this history-making journey here.

Share

We want to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Spectacular Southern Rail

  1. As a client on this wonderful, remarkable and unforgettable journey, I would like to add to Ken’s remarks.

    I have booked for the next chapter of the journey, the Southern Rail Spectacular 2019. The meticulous organisation by Cruise Express was self-evident, as was the enthusiasm of the staff. We were kept informed of everything we needed to know, and anything new that was unplanned, such that our journey was seamless.

    Day 1: The anticipation of seeing the train arrive was magic. These legends of yesteryear have a presence and gravitas that more efficient transports of today somehow lack. They hark from a time when the state of the art for long distance land travel travel was on the rails, and those rails were the ribbons of progress that opened up the interior of the continent for future prosperity. They combined the aesthetics of shape, sight and sound in ways that are lost today, but could be revived.

    A scene of wonder was the seldom-seen freight route through the middle suburbs of Sydney. Hidden logistics on a grand scale that keep the city moving – and kept our train outside intense ramp-up of morning peak.

    Powering through the city around dawn, by the time we reached its perimeter, we saw it wake and come to life. We felt lucky to be in the moment, and probably more than a few surprised commuters seeing us glide by thought we were too. Hopefully some will make the trip one day.

    We were trailed by convoys of photographers on side roads, and that in itself made us feel and know that we were part of something special. The Atura at Albury was superb and a credit to its staff, as were all in Albury.

    Day 2: Anticipation built after we’d gotten away from the hotel – Martin’s Coaches making sure we were looked after until arrival at the grand Albury station. We were greeted by the apogee of technological progress in luxury trains in the 1930’s, the Spirit of Progress. A train tailored to the size of the tour conveyed us to Melbourne in style and comfort – a real testament to the vision and goodwill of the people who recognised that these magnificent trains should be preserved for future generations, and those who volunteered to operate them on the day to raise money to keep them on the rails. Our hotel stay in Melbourne was as good and the perfect choice by Cruise Express.

    Day 3: Day three was the highlight for us – double-headed steamers leading a glorious consist of Edwardian express carriages lovingly restored by SteamRail Victoria to Castlemaine to meet another train of equal interest, operated by the Victorian Goldfields Railway. The VGR had successfully obtained a lease to operate almost independently, a branchline from there to Maldon, one of Victoria’s many exquisite pioneer gold rush towns, lovingly preserved and enjoying new life as a significant tourist attraction. The food, shopping and sights were wonderful.

    Day 4: After another night at Melbourne, we assembled at Southern Cross Station to be greeted by the luxury train operated by R707 Operations – named after a famous steam engine, which hauled us to the historic Newport Workshops – epicentre of Victorian Railways engineering excellence and innovation in the steam era, and home to one of the finest collections of preserved and restored trains in Australia. From there we returned to Melbourne before departing for Seymour and Albury, courtesy of the Seymour rail heritage group. At Seymour we stopped for lunch and were then treated to a tour of the Seymour Rail Heritage Centre; home of the preserved Spirit of Progress and many other significant railway items. The iconic photos of the tour were taken here.

    Day 5: After another restful night at the Atura in Albury, we were off again, bound for Sydney. An unexpected added bonus was track work between Albury and Goulburn, in the NSW Southern Tablelands. We were conveyed by coach to Canberra, the nation’s capital via the Hume Highway – Australia’s equivalent of Route 66 in the USA. The road trip through some of the most picturesque rural landscapes was worth it. At Canberra, after lunch, we were greeted by steam locomotive 6029 – a behemoth – an articulated Garrett-type and the largest in the southern hemisphere, which had been restored in Canberra. It took us through the spectacular Molongolo Gorge and on to Goulburn where legendary southern line streamlined diesel locomotives sped us home.

    The Cruise Express team had worked extremely hard to make sure every moment of this tour lived up to its potential. The heritage train groups who provided these remarkable trains also did their utmost, and the combination of tourism, heritage and community spirit was the most unforgettable aspect of this epic and wonderful experience.

    1. Hi Chris

      Thank you for sharing this incredible insight into your adventures with us and we trust you will love the Southern Rail Spectacular 2019 even more!

      We are delighted to be able to run and offer these itineraries and experiences on heritage rail and it means so much to us that our clients are also enjoying the journey.

      Thank you again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Spectacular Southern Rail

The Southern Rail Spectacular lived up to its billing – it was spectacular!

The Southern Rail Spectacular – a new and first-ever 5-day adventure – offering the opportunity to ride behind one of Australia’s most famous locomotives, the legendary Beyer-Garratt 6029. This 265-ton monster, the largest locomotive ever to operate in Australia, is just part of this heritage rail tour from Sydney to Victoria and back in August of 2018.

Heritage Rail

Written by Cruise Express client and train enthusiast, Ken Ticehurst

The Cruise Express’ team spent over a year in planning this monumental journey and with a mountain of red tape to climb, the team put together an amazing array of 11 steam and diesel engines and 33 carriages to make five train sets for the journeys.

Below are a few highlights I’d like to share:

Day 1: Leaving Sydney Central station at 5:18am the train, hauled by two heritage diesels, travelled on the goods line, passed the dead centre of Sydney (Rookwood) and on to the main southern line. The Beyer-Garrett 6029 was attached at Junee. At Yass Junction, the train waited for the Melbourne bound XPT to pass. It was a great sight to see the 6029 & XTP together.

Day 2: After an overnight stay in the lovely Atura motel in Albury, we joined the first run of the Spirit of Progress on standard gauge tracks for the trip to Melbourne. It was a smooth ride in air-conditioned carriages, and a stop for lunch at Seymour, allowed time to visit the rail museum. Overnight in Melbourne at Vibe Savoy hotel was also most pleasant.

Day 3: The train to Castlemaine was hauled by two steam locos, one A class and one K class, and another set of carriages. At Castlemaine another set of heritage carriages were provided, with the A class Loco pulling the train to Maldon. Two special carriages, Macedon and Tambo, were used in the old Overland express in years gone by. A stop at Muckleford was provided so that we could photograph the train doing a run through the station.

Day 4: Another train, with K707 at the lead, took the group to Newport rail yards for an inspection of the fascinating activities undertaken to restore many locos and carriages. After lunch the Spirit of Progress train once again headed for Albury.

Southern Rail

Day 5: Another night at the Atura, at 6.30am we headed in 3 coaches to Canberra. As unpredictable as any travel can be, heritage rail journeys are no exception! After all the planning, ARTC announced that track work would extend to Monday. The Beyer-Garrett took the train to Moss Vale where it was decoupled and the two diesels were attached for the return to Sydney.

The organisation was first class. So much work behind the scenes was necessary to make a most enjoyable experience for the 150 travellers. Each day a staff member would bring a large card showing times and places for the following day. Nothing was too much trouble. The heritage rail personnel were all volunteers and really love what they do.

Congratulations to the Cruise Express team for a job well done!

Enjoy more of our spectacular photos from this history-making journey here.

2 thoughts on “Spectacular Southern Rail

  1. As a client on this wonderful, remarkable and unforgettable journey, I would like to add to Ken’s remarks.

    I have booked for the next chapter of the journey, the Southern Rail Spectacular 2019. The meticulous organisation by Cruise Express was self-evident, as was the enthusiasm of the staff. We were kept informed of everything we needed to know, and anything new that was unplanned, such that our journey was seamless.

    Day 1: The anticipation of seeing the train arrive was magic. These legends of yesteryear have a presence and gravitas that more efficient transports of today somehow lack. They hark from a time when the state of the art for long distance land travel travel was on the rails, and those rails were the ribbons of progress that opened up the interior of the continent for future prosperity. They combined the aesthetics of shape, sight and sound in ways that are lost today, but could be revived.

    A scene of wonder was the seldom-seen freight route through the middle suburbs of Sydney. Hidden logistics on a grand scale that keep the city moving – and kept our train outside intense ramp-up of morning peak.

    Powering through the city around dawn, by the time we reached its perimeter, we saw it wake and come to life. We felt lucky to be in the moment, and probably more than a few surprised commuters seeing us glide by thought we were too. Hopefully some will make the trip one day.

    We were trailed by convoys of photographers on side roads, and that in itself made us feel and know that we were part of something special. The Atura at Albury was superb and a credit to its staff, as were all in Albury.

    Day 2: Anticipation built after we’d gotten away from the hotel – Martin’s Coaches making sure we were looked after until arrival at the grand Albury station. We were greeted by the apogee of technological progress in luxury trains in the 1930’s, the Spirit of Progress. A train tailored to the size of the tour conveyed us to Melbourne in style and comfort – a real testament to the vision and goodwill of the people who recognised that these magnificent trains should be preserved for future generations, and those who volunteered to operate them on the day to raise money to keep them on the rails. Our hotel stay in Melbourne was as good and the perfect choice by Cruise Express.

    Day 3: Day three was the highlight for us – double-headed steamers leading a glorious consist of Edwardian express carriages lovingly restored by SteamRail Victoria to Castlemaine to meet another train of equal interest, operated by the Victorian Goldfields Railway. The VGR had successfully obtained a lease to operate almost independently, a branchline from there to Maldon, one of Victoria’s many exquisite pioneer gold rush towns, lovingly preserved and enjoying new life as a significant tourist attraction. The food, shopping and sights were wonderful.

    Day 4: After another night at Melbourne, we assembled at Southern Cross Station to be greeted by the luxury train operated by R707 Operations – named after a famous steam engine, which hauled us to the historic Newport Workshops – epicentre of Victorian Railways engineering excellence and innovation in the steam era, and home to one of the finest collections of preserved and restored trains in Australia. From there we returned to Melbourne before departing for Seymour and Albury, courtesy of the Seymour rail heritage group. At Seymour we stopped for lunch and were then treated to a tour of the Seymour Rail Heritage Centre; home of the preserved Spirit of Progress and many other significant railway items. The iconic photos of the tour were taken here.

    Day 5: After another restful night at the Atura in Albury, we were off again, bound for Sydney. An unexpected added bonus was track work between Albury and Goulburn, in the NSW Southern Tablelands. We were conveyed by coach to Canberra, the nation’s capital via the Hume Highway – Australia’s equivalent of Route 66 in the USA. The road trip through some of the most picturesque rural landscapes was worth it. At Canberra, after lunch, we were greeted by steam locomotive 6029 – a behemoth – an articulated Garrett-type and the largest in the southern hemisphere, which had been restored in Canberra. It took us through the spectacular Molongolo Gorge and on to Goulburn where legendary southern line streamlined diesel locomotives sped us home.

    The Cruise Express team had worked extremely hard to make sure every moment of this tour lived up to its potential. The heritage train groups who provided these remarkable trains also did their utmost, and the combination of tourism, heritage and community spirit was the most unforgettable aspect of this epic and wonderful experience.

    1. Hi Chris

      Thank you for sharing this incredible insight into your adventures with us and we trust you will love the Southern Rail Spectacular 2019 even more!

      We are delighted to be able to run and offer these itineraries and experiences on heritage rail and it means so much to us that our clients are also enjoying the journey.

      Thank you again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free newsletters and specials

Sign up so you don't miss out on our latest holiday offers and news. You can update subscription details at the bottom of any email.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Don’t worry, we hate spam too.

Need more information?

Payment Options

Read more

Travel Insurance

Read more

Cruise Check In

Read more

Visa Information

Read more
Get in touch
Suite 92/24 Buchanan Street Balmain NSW 2041
Suite 2/30 Karalta Road Erina NSW 2250
Suite 8/2 St Johns Avenue Gordon NSW 2072
Perth (contact us for a face to face meeting)