The XPT train journey from Sydney to Brisbane covers 988 kilometres and passes through hidden valleys and stunning pockets of New South Wales that you would not otherwise encounter by road or air or sea.
Hidden valley out our window - image taken by writer
The entire trip between the two state capitals takes approximately fourteen hours, so it is definitely not recommended for those in a rush. At times the train travels at a top speed of 160 kilometres an hour, however the stops at small towns (Kendall, Dungog, Eungai, Urunga, Kyogle) along the route slow the journey down considerably, which means there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the scenery.
The seating options are economy, first class and sleeper - all of which provide generous leg room, reclining seats and tray tables similar to a plane but with way more space. There is a buffet car selling snacks - sandwiches, wraps, fruit salad, chips, ice creams, chocolates, tea, coffee, beer, wine, and even ham and cheese croissants and fresh scones with jam and cream. There is also a hot meals menu which includes butter chicken, spaghetti bolognese, Thai vegetable curry, Shepherd's pie, and roast pork.
Two XPT Trains depart Sydney daily. The day train departs Central Station at 7.11am and requires a coach transfer from Casino to Roma Street Station in Brisbane. The night train departs Central Station at 2.41pm and this is a direct service to Brisbane, arriving at 4.53am. For us, the overall XPT experience was an excellent, stress-free way to travel which I highly recommend. It is a great novelty especially for kids, but just make sure you take plenty of activities to keep everyone occupied along the way.