Friday, January 16, 2015

Indian Pacific Train from Adelaide to Sydney

Hi All and a Happy New Year 2015 to you! Today I will cover a train journey I took with my wife from Adelaide to Sydney on the Indian Pacific Train.

The Journey began on December 30th, 2014 at Adelaide Parklands Terminal in mid morning, which is where all Great Southerm Rail trains leave from - The Indian Pacific, the Ghan and The Overland.

On this train trip I planned to travel overnight to Sydney, then take the overnight Countrylink XPT from Sydney to Melbourne, and then take The Overland train to return to Adelaide.

Looking on the platform, the Indian Pacific was lined up ready:

This particular train today was very long. Over 20 carriages!

Close up detail of one of the Gold Service carriages:

While waiting for the signal to board the train, I went shopping in the Train Shop located in the Adelaide Parklands Terminal:

I did go a little crazy with souvenir's at the train shop back in Adelaide - here is a beautiful example of a baggage tag I couldn't resist buying:

Having finished my considerable souvenir shopping, I took another look down the platform:

At this point people were boarding so we got onboard our Gold Service carriage for this trip.

Close up of the cabin number outside our cabin:

View inside the corridor towards the rear of our carriage:

Our cabin is a Gold Class Twin room, with a three seater lounge, tabel cupboards, bathroom (with shower) and a bunk bed that is folded down at night time:

The Bathroom in our cabin:

As you can see, the shower is also in the bathroom, and unlike Japan there is no timer on how long the showers can be!

Inside the cupboard is the towels:

Soap, shampoo, conditioner - the usual toiletries are included in the cabin:

Also in the cabin is a mirror and power for a shaver. In the background you can see the seats:

Close up view you can see the music channel selection panel to play different music types in your cabin during the journey, or listen to a running commentary of the area you are travelling through:

As we departed Adelaide Parkland Terminal and headed north out of Adelaide, we could pass alongside the old Adelaide gaol and can see the old Wye Signal cabin (not used), the Adelaide Metro railway lines on the left and right of this picture (heading towards Adelaide Railway Station from the North and South) and the ongoing work on the New Royal Adelaide Hospital in the background.

Wandering around our carriage I found the conductors room has been converted into tea/coffee making facilities for guest in each carriage.

There is also a communal toilet, which I guess guests would use if someone was using their own cabin toilet and they really needed to go!

I moved into the next carriage which has a very different colour timber look and some sturt desert pea incribed glass on the connecting door:

Inside the adjoining carriage:

As with our carriage, this one also has tea/coffee facilities in the former conductors cabin:

As I looked out the windows I could see our progress through Islington, a suburb in Adelaide's inner North which has the Islington workshops, where various work on non-Adelaide Metro trains is performed:

there is an Islington works train stop on the Adelaide Metro, shuttered and unused for years - but the platforms and shelters are still there today:

Some G&W trains being worked on in the Islington Workshops are visible too:

these carriages looks like old Overland carriages - not sure though:

As we continued north we passed a number of Adelaide Metro train stops - these are on the Gawler line.

There were some 3000 series running on the line at Dry Creek Station as we passed through:

Shortly after we could see in the distance the Dry Creek maintenance & storage depot for Adelaide Metro trains. In this shot you can see the rapidly disappearing 2000 series trains, which are being decomissioned right now as the Electric train orders arrive for the Seaford line, and newer 3000 series trains taking the place of the old 2000 series trains.

Next we passed the Genesse &Wyoming Train facility:

Not sure what these next set of tracks are used for - interesting to see them though - inspection or weight station perhaps?

We got to see some more G&W Locos in storage as well:

As we left suburban Adelaide, the landscape quickly changed and we moved into the Lounge car to relax for a while - the view was great:

Inside the Lounge car:

There are some framed information boards covering the explorers Burke & Wills who explored much of this part of Australia.

The lounge car is officially called the Outback Explorer Lounge.

Great Southern Rail staff getting ready to let people into the Restaurant car:

In the lounge car there are also souvenirs available for purchase, and the free Platform magazine:

Another view from inside the Lounge car as we awaited breakfast:

You can tell we are moving through the wheatfields in South Australia as we head further north:

Soon after this we were called in for lunch at the Queen Adelaide Restaurant car - given the sheer number of people on this train, for this journey there were two of these restaurant carriages on this trip!

Starters arrive at our table in the form of Damper Rolls:

We were sharing the table with a nice couple who had travelled on the Indian Pacific from Perth to Adelaide arriving that morning, and were now continuing on to Sydney.

The lunch menu was good and had some nice choices! All food and drink is included in the cost of the fare (excluding spirits):

While eating we passed the SCT train logistics facility recently completed in Bolivar:

SCT Rail carriages are visible:

Can also see a SCT Loco and a crew car:

View inside the Queen Adelaide Restaurant Car:

We could see the massive Wind Farm as we awaited our lunch:

Lunch arrived, and it was delicious as you would expect:

While waiting for dessert I took some photos of the interior detail of the Queen Adelaide Restaurant Car - it is very nice inside:

The view outside the window was nice too:

Dessert arrived - and it tasted great too!

After we finished our lunch we went back to the lounge car to watch the mid-north South Australia scenery roll past:

The lounge car is quite relaxing and suits couples and larger groups too!

I almost missed it, but shortly after this we rolled past the mid-north town of Peterborough, which used to a very significant railway town and break of gauge station. With the closure of nearly all the country South Australia branch lines in the 1970's and 1980's it's significance dropped significantly.

These days the mostly boarded up Peterborough railway station is a shadow of it's former self. The Indian Pacific does stop here on request, and there is a very interesting Steamtown Railway Museum in the town, which I have visited in the past also.

As we passed Peterborough and beyond Goyders line, we move into typical arid outback Northern South Australia:

The views from our lounge car remind me why we wanted to come on the Indian Pacific - fantastic!

We went back to our cabin to relax - I took in a video on my ipad while enjoying the scenery roll past as we approached the New South Wales border with South Australia:

Dry river bed crossing:

This is near to MannaHill. To my deep disappointment I missed seeing the beautiful railway station that is here - I guess it was on the other side of the carriage.

Some Emu's were running next to the train:

We crossed into New South Wales, and shortly afterwards into the town of Broken Hill. We stopped at Broken Hill Railway station for a organised tour (which is part of the ticket):

Broken Hill Station building, platform side:

Broken Hill Station - front side. I ran to the front of the station to grab a picture of this amazing artwork produced in 2004 of two steam trains celebrating Broken Hill's mining heritage and Silverton Tramway and the railway's significant role in it. Looks great:

An information plaque explaining the artwork and it's creator:

some views of the Indian Pacific at the Broken Hill Station platform. With a clear sky it was a striking look indeed with the silver carriages:

Waiting for the tour buses to take us away - one group on a tour of Broken Hill and the other on a tour of Pro Hart's artwork - my wife being interested in art, we took the Pro Hart option:

These views from within the bus give a good view of the significant impact Mining has had on the Broken Hill skyline:

I saw this Loco sitting on a siding near Broken Hill station with a message on the side "Do not scrap":

To my regret the Broken Hill Railway Museum was closed when we were there so I couldn't visit it! I took some quick snaps as the bus went past it though:

Here is some photos of the Pro Hart Museum - no pictures allowed inside but some of his artwork is quite impressive:

Once back at Broken Hill Station to resume our journey to Sydney, I grabbed a quick photo of the waiting room inside Broken Hill Station:

We were shortly underway again on the way to Sydney - a nice curve allowed me to take some photos of the Diesel Locos up front:


By this time it was dinner time, so again we found ourselves in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant - having reserved for 7pm - for people wondering about this, 7:30pm is the sweet spot to have dinner to catch the sunset:

View outside the restaurant car window:

The Dinner menu was also great - food on these trains has improved a lot since I travelled on the Ghan in the 1980's:

Entree arrived quickly:

For some reason though, our mains were delayed a lot - the advantage of this though was we were able to hang around long enough to see the sunset while eating it!

Here is the dinner courses:

Due to a mixup, my wife got the wrong dinner order, but this was sorted out and we soon got the original order she made:

Sunset in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant as we continued our journey through western New South Wales:

Dessert arrived and this was delicious too, like the other dishes!

My wife and I were exhausted after this and fell asleep earlier than expected. Unfortunately this meant I didn't get a photo of the sleeping accommodations when made up for us during dinner as we collapsed onto them when we returned to the cabin!

We woke up in the morning to a very different scenery outside the window - much greener:

...very green - and beautiful - passing through the Blue Mountains:

Scenery like this for me is what train travel is all about :-)

It was breakfast time at 7am, so we were back into the Queen Adelaide Restaurant for brekkie.

The views from the restaurant car were truly wonderful at this point of the journey:

Brekkie arrived, and was delicious - no compliants about any of the food served on the trip - it was all excellent:

Bacon and Poached egg coming up:

Some of the architecture of the railway bridges in the blue mountains are amazing to see:

We passed through Katoomba Station - these heritage buildings and surrounds look great:

This station reminds me of Belair Station in Adelaide Metro Belair line:

Penrith Station, getting close to our final destination of Central Station - A Sydney Metro twin deck train is stopped at the station:

Here we are arrived at Central Station, Sydney around 11am Sydney time:

Central Station platform signage:

There was an issue though - because this Indian Pacific train was so long, they had to split it across two platforms in order to get everyone off! So some shunting ensued to get the carriages that didn't fit on the platform to separated and be brought into the neighbouring platform. One of the trains on shunting duties:

A view of half of the Indian Pacific train on the platform:

Luggage is being unloaded promptly for collection:

The remaining half of the Indian Pacific train then arrives into the neighbouring platform at Central Station, headed by Loco NR27:

Here is a shot of the both halfs of the Indian Pacific on the platforms:

As I moved towards the Platform exit I saw the Opal tap and go readers, being progressively used more on the Sydney Metro trains, buses and light rail replacing the paper based tickets:

Having to tap on and off is not so great though - in Adelaide we tap on and that's it.

Here is a shot of the other Indian Pacific loco DL40:

Here is a shot of both halves of the Indian Pacific at Platforms 2 & 3 at Central Station:

Central Station has a long history, and has been around in it's current form for a very long time. The concourse is grand and reflects the age of it:

Here is a plaque comemorating the Trans Australia rail link from Sydney to Perth (via Adelaide), which is the railway line used by the Indian Pacific:

Countrylink has a waiting room and check-in for luggage for their train service from Central Station - we used this since we were only in Sydney for the day, and planned to take the countrylink XPT service from Sydney to Melbourne in the evening.

Departure boards for country and intercity trains leaving from Central Station:

As befitting an old building like Central Station, there is some beautiful touches in it:

This is the entrance gates to the Intercity train platforms at Central Station:

Some Intercity trains at on the platforms, ready to depart:

Another view of the Concourse:

Passageway to the front entrance:

Out of the front entrance to Central Station is the platform for the new Light Rail Trams which run on a former freight line alignment:

Tram is arriving at the platform - we bought a Daytrip ticket to be able to use trains and trams all day:

This tram reminds me of the Citadis Trams we have in Adelaide.

View out of the tram window towards the front of Central Station:

We got off at the first stop so we could explore Sydney - I grabbed some more photos of the tram too:

I took some photos of the beautiful Town Hall as we explored the Sydney CBD:

Queen Victoria Building:

Queen Victoria Building inside - amazingly beautiful building:

The required tourist photos of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera house:

View showing some of the Sydney skyline at Circular Quay and the and Circular Quay Railway Station can also be seen in the shot:

Given it is New Years Eve there were a lot of crowds, barriers and security around!

We then went to Circular Quay Station, which was blocked off except for one entrance, due to the New Years Eve celebrations:

Circular Quay platform as a Sydney Metro train arrives:

The trains are twin deck which is quite different to trains I have ridden elsewhere in Australia:

We got off at Town Hall Station - this is the view from the platform:

Just after I took this photo a security guard on the platform told me to stop taking any more photos in the station...shame really.

The next photos I took was outside the Town Hall station gates:

Here is a view of Sydney Tower as we walked along the main roads in the CBD towards Central Station again:

Took some photos of another light rail tram that was running:

Here we are arrived back into Central Station again, ready for the next leg of our journey:

Central Station platforms:

This train has arrived on a platform at Central from Canberra Railway Museum - this is a special Heritage car train that runs on New Years Eve from Canberra to Sydney with dining car facilities on board, for customers to experience the New Years Eve fireworks on a boat in Sydney Harbor, and then return here at 3am for the return train ride to Canberra.

Some more photos of the heritage carriages on the train from Canberra at Central Station:

View of the train from another platform:

I also took the opportunity to take some photos of the separate section concourse at Central Station for the Sydney Metro train line services:

Sydney ticket machines:

A statue for John Witton the "Father of the NSW Railways":

I finish this blog post with another view of the Central Station concourse towards the platforms.

I hope you enjoyed this coverage of my trip on the Indian Pacific from Adelaide to Sydney. In the next blog post I will cover the XPT trip from Sydney to Melbourne!

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