Train from Sydney to Melbourne Australia
Long distance train travel in Australia is largely out of fashion. The situation is not helped by discounted & conditional air fares being substantially less than standard train fares as are journey times. The criticism of train travel appears to be largely driven by the "are we there yet" syndrome. In short, travel times. For people with the time there are many train journeys which can be personally rewarding although mostly overlooked, the Sydney-Melbourne route being one. For visitors wishing to see non-touristy rural Australia trains are the most comfortable way to achieve this. Very little, if anything, can be seen from an aircraft.
There are two trains daily each way between Sydney and Melbourne, a day train and an overnight train. They are operated by NSW Trains. Travel by the overnight train is only recommended if booked into a sleeping compartment. There are at least 10 changes of scenery/topography over the journey. In round figures the rail distance is 600 miles or 960kms.
The first image is of the train amongst the canola fields north of Cootamundra in NSW.
The second image is the train crossing the Marybrynong River in suburban Melbourne. The viaduct is 1260ft long and 180ft above the river bed.
The Trains: The carsets are usually 6 or 7 Cars between 2 locomotive units. The design and principle is derived from UK HST trains. The cars are numbered from the Melbourne end. Cars A, B, & C, are first class and the remainder economy class. Car C is fitted out to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs or who need special assistance. The buffet is also situated in car C.
Food Service: Uniquely, the buffet is equipped with convection ovens. These are used to prepare meals and other hot food. Although pre-packaged, the meals are not prepared until AFTER orders have been placed. Some very fussy friends find it difficult to criticize the quality of the meals or the standard of service from the train crew. Prices are reasonable.
Luggage: The cars have overhead luggage racks. There are also baggage storage areas inside the entrance doors of each car. Car C has no dedicated storage area and car B has a very large area at the Melbourne end of the car. Luggage can be checked at no additional cost. This is carried in a dedicated secure area in car G. Collection at destination is supervised by staff.
Smoking is not permitted in any part of the train. Passengers caught smoking can find themselves put off the train at the next stop. Police may also be waiting to make arrest.
The following description of the route is intended to in some small way act as a travel guide for passengers. It is written for a southbound journey from Sydney to Melbourne but can also be used for northbound journeys.
Sydney is a sprawling metropolis and it takes some time to journey through the suburbs. It is not until the Nepean River is crossed at Menangle, some 60kms out, that the country takes on a rural appearance. The Menangle bridge is the oldest railway bridge in Australia having been opened in 1863.