Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
1 million Australian readers every month      list your event

The Inlander

Home > Townsville > Travel | Trains | Tours | Railway Journeys | Escape the City
by T. A. Rose (subscribe)
Enjoying challenging myself to add to the WeekendNotes vast library.
Published August 27th 2021
A beyond belief train journey and great value for money
Train ariving prior to departing Townsville
Train ariving prior to departing Townsville 25-08-2021.


What started off as a bit of an individual personal dare is now a fixture in many of my future holiday dreams. I must address why The Inlander made me think it was beyond belief, and yet also address as to what exactly is The Inlander. It is a 977-kilometre train journey west of Townsville to Mt Isa, that travels overnight for 21 hours between first and last stop. Tickets are advertised at queenslandrailtravel.com.au for 108 dollars, all the way in one direction. It is an old refurbished train with about four carriages - one carriage used for its passengers, and a spare carriage if they somehow get more than expected bookings, no sleepers, and a capable yet small crew that work usefully to aid your time on this train. It is a great train journey for rail history buffs, aficionados of great rail journeys, and I can say it was well worth my efforts to sum it up with some photos and provide a concept on taking the journey yourself, why you should take it, and some tips or hints on how to gain an appreciation of it.

I've left a gallery below of the journey's progression - with all this review's photos taken by me after some preliminary photos, so starting at the first sunrise of the trip to the end of the photos is chronologically ordered. I took the trip consecutively in both directions, yet really valued those journeys. I found I'd done many concentrated and long amounts of train travel on this holiday to help me explain to take rests and not overdo it, but if you just do one full journey at a time, then it's the ultimate rail experience and adventure. Resting and stopovers help build the overall experience, for example, I could have booked my trip to Brisbane home by train, but realised it was unrealistic to do 50 plus hours of train travel, so I booked a stay prior to flying home at Townsville's City Oasis Inn, which turned out to have an ideal landscaped cold water swimming pool and warm spa with the central location allowing me to add some aspects of the inner city and suburban Townsville to my holiday whilst also yielding refreshment and rest and replenishment. So the stopovers are important and there is always an option to take only one complete journey instead of there and back to Townsville.

Hence, my tips are: don't overdo it on the train travel, use stops to refresh. I won't say how long I was consecutively on trains for, but I realise that the best way is to travel to Townsville, and if by train take two days to refresh, yet if by plane, just half a day or overnight. Then take the train trip, it leaves at 12.40 PM two times a week. Then, take three days in pleasantly surprising Mt Isa, which has a nice Civic Centre and lovely staff at the library next door, a PCYC with a skatepark next door, motels, a shopping plaza, a lookout over the town conveniently located, bus stops, long-distance bus journeys home, an airport with direct flights to Brisbane, the mining industry, but my insider's tip is to try a pie at Brumbys up the road from the Civic Centre. I tried out their King Island beef pie and after a long train trip, knew I was onto something good.

The rail station is safe, especially when staffed, and you won't have to catch trains there when unstaffed - with departures from Mt Isa to Townsville aboard The Inlander twice a week at 1.30
PM.

Then, catch The Inlander in the opposite direction back to Townsville, and either fly, train or bus back to Brisbane.

Why should one invest in such an experience? Well, the crew were lovely, so were the stations, but in fact, the ultimate drawcard is the right pace coupled with the low power of the train, and the fact it is a train journey from yesteryear. Riding a train when compared to a car is like a bicycle to pedestrians, not for differences in speed, but the difference in perception, in that I'm implying cars, walking, jogging go at a pace, but not 'the right pace', while bicycles give riders opportunities to look at what is around them, which when touring is so useful. For The Inlander, the pace is sublime perfection, and the accompanying pull, and stuttering of the locomotive addictive.

All things stipulated by Queensland Rail (by call centre staff and website) are promised yet delivered as well, such as timely light meals, including fresh-tasting packed sandwiches, a piece of cake, a fruit and fruit juice mini-carton while breakfast is cereal and milk. They also serve instant coffee as often as possible and switch lights off overnight. I saw that the passengers were very friendly and many knew the crew, from frequent journeys. It is ultimately such a simple idea yet with that incredibly balanced pace to it, a tempo that hypnotises but also produces fine viewing and enjoyment as a rail passenger. If there was one thing I wanted to communicate more than the rest is the journey's pace and feel to it as well as accompanying viewing, that is its strength, the reason I write so enthusiastically about such an experience.

I feel it is well worth a trip to Townsville to try such an experience, you'll feel like putting a comment below when or if you take this trip because it's a hidden gem of astronomical intrinsic value. This is mainly due to Townsville being a bit further north in my opinion - most Queensland train trips depart Brisbane, so it's a bit different but for the pace and style of train trip, for the friendly and experienced crew, a crew that delivers this journey week in week out, and from my summing up pictorially below, do take a trip to Townsville and try The Inlander. If you do, you will enjoy something different in quality and iconic rail journeys for outstanding memories and value for money.

Townville Station
Towsville Station on morning of the first trip.


Seating prior to first journey.
Seating prior to first journey.


The inlander @ Townsville Station.
The Inlander @ Townsville Station.


The lounge
The Lounge carriage is good for stretching the legs out


Cloncurry plaque
Cloncurry plaque


Sunrise
Sunrise on the (second) day


Scenery from train window near Mt Isa
Scenery from train window near Mt Isa


Approaching Mt Isa Station at 9.11 AM 26-08-2021.
Approaching Mt Isa Station at 9.11 AM 26-08-2021.


Mt Isa Railway Station
Mt Isa Railway Station 977 kilometres and 21 hours later, yet ahead of schedule.


Luggage is signed well.
Luggage is signed well.


Mt Isa mines and station
Mt Isa mines tower over station.


Cloncurry is a longer ten to twenty minute stop-off
Cloncurry is a longer ten to twenty minute stop-off


The Inlander @ Cloncurry Station.
The Inlander @ Cloncurry Station.


Hughenden Station is old yet functional
Hughenden Station is old yet functional


The Inlander @ Hughenden Station
The Inlander @ Hughenden Station


Charters Towers Station signage
Charters Towers Station signage


The Inlander Carriages, at Charters Towers.
Ready for the home stretch, The Inlander Carriages, at Charters Towers.


Outside Townsville @ 8.05 AM 27-08-2021.
Outside Townsville @ 8.05 AM 27-08-2021.


Townsville station at the foot of Castle Hill
Townsville station at the foot of Castle Hill
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  51
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Great train journey west of Townsville
When: All year round, with winter months ideal
Phone: 1800 872 467 is bookings for Queensland Rail Travel
Where: From Townsville to Mt Isa.
Cost: B-Quick Fares for the entire journey were 108 (AUD) dollars for adult full fare at time of publication.
Your Comment
A very interesting and information loaded article. There is something olde world about trail travel these day.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4054) 265 days ago
Popular Articles
Categories
Lists