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Published August 1st 2020
This is a train trip known as 'The Westlander' booked via Queensland Rail Travel. The train journey is very slow, tiring and yet a lot of fun somehow. The landscapes of the downs are beautiful yet spooky whilst the consistently slow speed yet power of the train is hypnotising. The shade of green progressively changes the closer the train gets to the outback.
The shade of greenery dulls further west towards the Maranoa, September 2019.
The train travels departing from Brisbane (twice per week returning) towards Charleville via Toowoomba, Dalby, Chinchilla, Miles, and Roma. These towns are the main population centres where the train can stop and pick up passengers but there are several other smaller towns as well. In Charleville (where the train terminates) there are many outback connection buses and outback tourism points of interest in categories such as history and science.
When I took the trip, I disembarked in Mitchell and stayed overnight in a historic pub before taking a daytime bus trip home. If I had one criticism of the trip, it is that it has to stop at many places at very inconvenient times yet a clear excuse is the trip itself is over twelve hours long, so it's impossible to make each stopping time convenient. Buses from Bus Queensland service the outback, so I found accessing both bus and train was a great combination.
Famous travel journalists from all over the globe have been on this seemingly humble train trip. The main problems involved are minor and not worth impeding what is a glorious Australian long-distance journey. This was such a unique experience and due to heavy subsidisation due to the important role the train trip plays for the rural economy, the trip is still affordable.