FAQ's on Long Distance Rail Travel 
between Melbourne - Sydney - Brisbane

3801 and 3830 - Click here to enlarge
3801 and 3830

1. Who provides the rail service between Melbourne - Sydney - Brisbane?

The rail service is provided by CountryLink Their site provides timetables fares etc.

2.Can I catch a train from Melbourne through to Brisbane without having to change trains in Sydney?

No, unfortunately. Such a service has been contemplated for the last 100 years or more. Maybe one day it will happen. For the time being, you need to catch a CountryLink train to Sydney. Then change for another CountryLink train to Brisbane.

3. Can I take a battery powered short wave/FM radio on the train?

Good question. Yes you certainly can. Unlike airplanes, trains don't have sensitive navigation equipment that radios can interfere with. Also suggest you take some earphones. also the reception in many places is not very good.

4. Can I take my mobile phone and use it on board?

Yes you can. You can have  radios, mobile phones, CD players etc on and working from the time you board the train right to the end of your journey. The good thing is that you don't have to turn them off every time the train arrives and leaves a station.

5. Is there an ATM machine on board.

No there isn't. Take some cash with you.

6. Is there a Movie screen and TV on board.

Not on the trains between Sydney and Melbourne. This helps to keep the old fashioned romantic feel of rail travel. You'll be able to experience travel just like your baby boomer parents did. Back in those days before the internet, mobile phones etc, people actually sat around on trains and talked to one another - amazing!

7.With no TV or movies, I'd expect CountryLink to provide some magazines like the airlines do. Am I right?

Country Link does have its own in house magazine like the airlines do. Apart from that, you might be lucky to find an old copy of Time magazine that some other passenger has left behind. It has always been a tradition in rail travel to buy yourself a magazine at the station before departure.

8. I've just recently immigrated to Australia. Can I get a vegetarian meal like I do on the airplanes.

Yes. You'll need to inform CountryLink 48 hours before departure.

9. What sort of food does the snack bar sell?

Good Aussie tucker. Pies, scones, Cherry Ripes, cups 'a' tea etc. They also provide cooked lunches and dinners. 

10. Can I get an alcoholic beverage on board?

Yes, you can. Beer and wine are available. The beer may be watered down to stop you from getting drunk. Only light beer is sold on certain trains.

11. Do the trains have sleeping accommodation?


12. Is there a shower on board.

Yes. For sleeping class passengers only.

13. Is there anywhere on the train I can smoke.

Certainly not. Smoking is banned on all trains in Australia.

14. Does the train make a stop occasionally so that I can get out, stretch my legs and have a smoke?

Yes. But to keep to the timetable, stops are short lived. You'll know when a smoking stop is approaching as half the carriage will jump out of their seats and head for the door.

15. Can I get a through train from Sydney to Cairns.

No. You need to change trains in Brisbane and catch another train, run by a different company in a different state. 

The Brisbane to Cairns trains are run by TravelTrain which is a part of QR

16. Why doesn't Australia have one company and one gauge to cover the whole country like Amtrak . Wouldn't that be simpler.

That's a good idea.

Other Rail Links
| Yaraka MixedMary Valley  |  Cape Byron Rail Trail  |
| Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and Calcutta trams, India
| Kyoto Roundhouse. Japan | 3801 at Casino N.S.W. |
| Public Transport photography by John Coyle |

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   This site last updated April 17th 2001