Friday, January 29, 2010

Travel by train - the journey

Astounding how important the XPT between Sydney and Melbourne is to people who live in the country. Leaving both cities, my carriage was well-nigh empty, but there were points where it was full. Travellers are pensioners, young country folk and backpackers. I had the same lonely Macedonian on each trip. All he wanted to do was talk. He sat next to me on the way down and I heard his tale. He sat behind me on the way back and I heard his tale, again.

I am tempted to take the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin, but I probably wont take this journey again.

The daylight XPT leaves Sydney about 8am and gets into Melbourne about 7pm. The return journey leaves Melbourne about 830am and gets into Sydney about 8pm. Neither journey was on time, due to heat and waiting in lay-bys. With a Seniors Card the return journey cost me $130. I think the least I have paid one-way to Melbourne by plane is about $80. Depends what is more important: time or money. I wanted to see the countryside.


Joan Elizabeth said...

Whoo whoo I didn't know you were travelling by train. Of course it's all about the journey. And don't I know how hard it is to get good shots through the train windows but who cares ... it's worth it. We are beginning to talk serious about the Ghan or maybe out to Broken Hill. Since our trip to Dubbo we've been bitten by the train bug.

Julie said...

The couple I stayed with in Gippsland are doing the Ghan in April with another couple and they waxed lyrical ...

freefalling said...

I didn't know you were catching the train, either!
Why wouldn't you do it again??
Can you get up and walk around?
Do they have a club car??
Vince has started to use the train when he needs to go to Melbourne for his check-ups.
Takes the same amount of time as driving - it deposits him right in the city - and he doesn't have to worry about finding (and paying for) a carpark and he doesn't have the stress of driving. He can just sit back and watch his weird japanese cartoons on his iphone.
A return ticket is $38 - so cheaper than petrol.

Julie said...

Why wouldn't I do it again? It took 22 hours whereas the plane takes <4 hours. Train cost $138 whereas plane costs maybe $160.

Yes, you can get up and walk around. There is a buffet but just a corridor shop, no club car. There is a first class but not sure if they have separate food arrangements. Suspect not.

On the way down, Carriage E had its aircon fail and it got up to 41C in the carriage without being able to open windows. It was stinking outside anyway and we had speed restrictions throughout NSW because the tracks are cecil-suspect when hot!!

When I go next time (if) I will have an i-poddy think with me too. Then I don't have to listen to other conversations that are of no interest to me but which cut through my concentration.

I agree with all the reasons for Vince to train to Melbourne. I use PT a lot up here now that I am not to drive, and I really don't know why I did not do it earlier. The reduction in stress is amazing. Even given what I said above!!

Ann said...

I didn't know you went by train either. Pesonally, I'd pay the extra, go by plane and spend the time down there.

Julie said...

But but but ... clouds is not countryside!