1. Who provides the rail service between Melbourne – Sydney – Brisbane?
The rail service is provided by Transport NSW. Their site provides timetables, fares, and bookings online.
2. Can I catch a train from Melbourne through to Brisbane without having to change trains in Sydney?
No, unfortunately. Such a service has been contemplated for the last 100 years or more. Maybe one day it will happen. For the time being, you need to catch a CountryLink train to Sydney. Then change for another CountryLink train to Brisbane.
3. Can I take a battery-powered short wave/FM radio on the train?
Good question. Yes, you certainly can. Unlike airplanes, trains don’t have sensitive navigation equipment that radios can interfere with. Also, suggest you take some earphones. The reception in many places is not very good.
4. Can I take my mobile phone and use it on board?
Yes, you can. You can have radios, mobile phones, CD players, etc on and work from the time you board the train right to the end of your journey. The good thing is that you don’t have to turn them off every time the train arrives and leaves a station.
5. Is there an ATM machine on board the train?.
No there isn’t, but Visa and Mastercard, credit, and debt cards are accepted onboard. Take some cash with you if you prefer to use cash.
6. Is there a Movie screen and TV onboard.
Not on the trains between Sydney and Melbourne. This helps to keep the old fashioned romantic feel of rail travel. You’ll be able to experience travel just like your baby boomer parents did. Back in those days before the internet, mobile phones, etc, people actually sat around on trains and talked to one another – amazing!
7.With no TV or movies, I’d expect CountryLink to provide some magazines like the airlines do. Am I right?
Country Link does have its own in house magazine like the airlines do. Apart from that, you might be lucky to find an old copy of Time magazine that some other passenger has left behind. It has always been a tradition in rail travel to buy yourself a magazine at the station before departure.
8. I’ve just recently immigrated to Australia. Can I get a vegetarian meal like I do on the airplanes?
Yes. You’ll need to inform CountryLink 48 hours before departure.
9. What sort of food does the snack bar sell?
Good Aussie tucker. Pies, scones, Cherry Ripes, cups ‘a’ tea, etc. They also provide cooked lunches and dinners.
10. Can I get an alcoholic beverage onboard?
Yes, you can. Beer and wine are available. The beer may be watered down to stop you from getting drunk. Only light beer is sold on certain trains.
11. Do trains have sleeping accommodation?
12. Is there a shower on board.
Yes. For sleeping class passengers only.
13. Is there anywhere on the train I can smoke.
Certainly not. Smoking is banned on all trains in Australia.
14. Does the train make a stop occasionally so that I can get out, stretch my legs and have a smoke?
Yes. But to keep to the timetable, stops are short-lived. You’ll know when a smoking stop is approaching as half the carriage will jump out of their seats and head for the door.
15. Can I get a through train from Sydney to Cairns.
No. You need to change trains in Brisbane and catch another train, run by a different company in a different state.
The Brisbane to Cairns trains are run by TravelTrain which is a part of QR
16. Why doesn’t Australia have one company and one gauge to cover the whole country like Amtrak. Wouldn’t that be simpler?
That’s a good idea.