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Sunlander Train

Berkshire
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Sunlander Train

Would anyone give there thoughts on the Sunlander from

Brisbane to Prosperine then

Prosperine to Cairns.

We can only do one of these sections, anyone travelled these routes, and is queenslander class worth the extra dollars.

Time of year will be January.

Oz
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11,487 posts
51 reviews
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1. Re: Sunlander Train

Hi,

No direct experience but we had some friends in their late seventies do the trip Brisbane to Cairns. They said they were the youngest on the train and were happy to fly back.

Cheers,

gk
Brisbane, Australia
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2,280 posts
55 reviews
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2. Re: Sunlander Train

The Proserpine to Cairns link is through cane fields and greenery. It's a nice trip, but only if you're real train buffs. I haven't travelled Queenslander class. Flying is cheaper and quicker.

Ballan, Australia
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20 posts
106 reviews
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3. Re: Sunlander Train

I've travelled several times on the Sunlander from Brisbane to Proserpine/Cairns. And as there is an overnight component of the journey I recommend you book in advance and take advantage of the relatively low priced sleeper cost of $308pp, you choose if you want a roomette (single) or twinette (bunk for twin) which will give you your own private cabin, access to showers etc, the first class lounge etc. Meals are not included. Feel free to travel budget (economy) for $122, you'll still see the same scenery of course. The distant mountains, the cane fields, the mountains, very little of the actual sea.

Queenslander class, around $750 each is the same standard of twinette sleepers as the Sunlander, with the addition of an orchid vase. Toilets/showers at the end of the cars. They do give you a complimentary dressing gown, slippers and a very good toiletries bag. Queenslander class is never crowded and all meal sittings in the linen/silver service dining car are at the same time. Meals are nothing short of astounding, cooked on the train by renowned chefs and plenty of it, with quality to match. You’ll be treated like royalty as the train slowly glides along, with light entertainment usually in the form of an acoustic guitarist for company. Alcohol and reasonably priced cocktails are extra. Queenslander class is locked off from the rest of the Sunlander and comprises the first three or four cars of this normally 17+ carriage train.

The tilt train is a good daylight journey from Proserpine to Cairns, yes I have done it after a holiday at Proserpine/Shute harbour. It’s a nice daylight journey, however don’t expect speed, the speed component of the Tilt train is much further south of Proserpine where you would be on the Sunlander. Bear in mind, the QR network is 3’ 6” gauge, so the fact that the tilt train reaches 100 MPH is in itself something of a wonder.

You can ‘plug-in’ on the train and internet access is ok for virtually the whole 1000 mile journey, something that cannot be said about aeroplanes and flying. On long distance trains, people always talk to each other...it must have something to do with the time seemingly slowing down, the addition of alcohol, things of interest passing by the windows, and the general demeanour of passengers who have taken the time to 'smell the roses' on their journey, and have thought about it, and made a conscious decision about it. A note about January, it will be HOT, it will be HUMID and there's a good chance of at least getting afternoon storms throughout the entirety of Queensland.

Of course as the former poster wrote, you can get to these places much faster by plane, and much cheaper as well, however clouds are pretty much the same the world over. The Economy class part of the train has many aged pensioners on their free travel vouchers, if you have the time, see Queensland, preferably by train, and you shouldn't leave disappointed.

Melbourne
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1 post
61 reviews
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4. Re: Sunlander Train

I travelled on the Sunlander a week ago, Cairns to Brisbane. When booking I was told the Sunlander will be taken out of service nest year, leaving only the tilt train.

The cost of the train is more than flying so it's something to do if you're a train buff .... or a pensioner, then it only costs $25 apparently - bargain!!

For a 32 hour trip I didn't think it worth paying the astronomical price for a sleeper.

The seat was comfortable, as easy to sleep in as a sleeper (I've had those on longre - 3 and 4 day train trips). During the day though I spent quite a bit of time in the club car - you get a much better view from there.

Food: Take your own snacks of choice. Some locals took their entire needs for the trip, I noticed. Lunch both days was good (hot beef roll with gravy; chicken burger, no onion). The evening meal was less successful. Nice fresh salad but pretty ordinary piece of fish. There are no desserts, if you're that way inclined.

Station stops; If you're after a bit of fresh air, forget it. The smokers pile out and in spite of the announcement prior to every stop that smoking is not permitted on platforms or within so many metres of the platform, none of the smokers think the announcements apply to them . The regulation is not policed, obviously. A pity - fines would be a nice little earner.

What's worse, smokers get back on the train reeking of cigarettes. This is a real negative about the trip because there are quite a few (brief) stops.

Overall, if you love train travel, yes, this is well worth doing. Once is enough though. The scenery is lovely without being spectacular.

Sydney, Australia
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612 posts
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5. Re: Sunlander Train

I have just done a return trip by the Sunlander travelling Queenslander class.

For your journey I suggest that you travel Proserpine-Cairns using the tilt train. The journey is entirely in daylight.

I would certainly travel by the Sunlander again, but would travel by 1st class sleeper and not Queenslander. I found the Queenslander class meals of mixed quality. Much of the food had been pre-cooked and "nuked" before being served. The result left much to be desired. Other dishes were extremely rich. There was little or no alternatives available.

The Sunlander will be progressively replaced from later this year with new TiltTrains. They will not have sleeping compartments but have "flatbed" seats. Think airlne business class. I consider this a retrograde step.

Sydney, Australia
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1 post
25 reviews
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6. Re: Sunlander Train

January will be very hot. Fortunately the air con on the Sunlander is very good.

I've just done the Sunlander Brisbane to Cairns in Queenslander Class. Grand. I loved every minute of it. Friendly, efficient service. Good food. Comfortable bed. Everything meticulously clean. We left on time, arrived on time & traveled in convivial comfort. Highly recommend. Oh, and although retired I've several years to go before turning sixty.

Wellington, New...
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1 post
1 review
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7. Re: Sunlander Train

We are travelling on the sunlander in a couple of days from Cairns to Brisbane. Am wondering if we will have our large suitcases in our compartment with us or will they be stored elsewhere on the train?

Ballan, Australia
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20 posts
106 reviews
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8. Re: Sunlander Train

Assuming you have booked a First class twinette sleeping berth, that's for 2 people, or an Economy berth that sleeps three, largish suitcases can be stored in the space provided in your cabin, above the adjacent corridor. You'll work out what I mean when you board the train and go to your cabin.

You can also check your luggage in at Cairns station at no charge(Queensland Rail is not an airline, consequently it's not setting out to make a dollar out of everything that was once free), and your luggage, (don't exceed 20Kg per case) will be stowed in the Baggage car. As you appear to be from overseas, I believe you are entitled to a generous luggage allowance.

Just take an overnight bag with toiletries with you into the cabin. Also do yourselves a favour and purchase some earplugs, they will minimise the things that go bump in the night allowing the gentle rocking of the train to lull you to sleep. A nightcap from the Club car will also assist in that regard. I hope you enjoy your journey.

Perth, Australia
1 post
2 reviews
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9. Re: Sunlander Train

I went on this train a few weeks ago and was very impressed. The single sleeper was small, but comfortable and was adequate for one nights sleep. The economy class sit up was also comfortable. The meals from the dinning car were of good quality, like that from a restaurant. The overnight trip from Prosipine to Brisbane was comfortable and relaxing and I was disappointed when it was over. The interior is quite modern for a 60 year old train if you ignore the lack of TV's. It will be sad day when the Sunlander is decommissioned, since the train that is replacing it is no where near as good as the Sunlander.

10. Re: Sunlander Train

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