Upcoming trip to outback Queensland on rails

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Re the dual gauge shuffle - my dining partner tonight aboard the train to Longreach - also a rail fan - had also spotted the oddity on a visit to that station and proposed that it might be to get the carriage closer to the platform for boarding and unboarding purposes. It’d reduce the gap between carriage and platform

It was a logical enough explanation for me - so perhaps that’s what it’s all about?
That is indeed the most likely reason. In Bangladesh where there is an extensive dual gauge network (Indian Broad Gauge and Meter Gauge) you see these at station where the Meter Gauge track is on the side away from the platform in the main line but at the station it switches over to the platform side.
Re-examining the shuffle pic, platform proximity can’t be the explanation. I’m taking the pic from the boarding portion of the platform where the double rail is on the right, so farther off the platform than along the upper part of the pic.
In my day and a bit in Brisbane I went wandering using my Brisbane travel card and sorted out some next-leg matters. It was a very cold start encouraging the receptionist at my hotel to allow me to check-in at my 0530h arrival time at no additional charge! This was very handy as I was able to get my bags sorted for the trip to Longreach - I could store a bag of next week’s clothing in the baggage car rather than have it clutter the tiny cabin.

A prime objective was to cross the iconic Story Bridge over the Brisbane River as a pedestrian. A Sunday national politics panel discussion TV program uses city/specific picture backgrounds for its feature interviews with pollies and other noteworthies. The Story Bridge is used for Brisbane-based interviews, others used include the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Melbourne’s Princes Bridge, and one crossing the Torrens in Adelaide.

I’ve walked across the others and wanted to complete the set. I accomplished this by 1030h on day one. I then got myself lost walking the streets in what I thought wa the right direction but I was off a bit before I worked it out and found the hotel again. I had the next day with Brisbane rello to look forward to.

After returning to Roma Street station the following evening about forty minutes before the 1810h scheduled departure, I saw the train was at the platform being provisioned-up

At boarding time I found my cabin A14 was at left rear of the second carriage behind only what looked like staff accommodation. The cabins are arranged either side of a narrow central corridor with the bunk lying along the rail like for the Amtrak roomettes and VIA’s room for one, rather than across the rails as in the XPT cabins

It’s well dark at 1810h in midwinter here, so I knew sightseeing would not be on.

In any case I was allocated the 1900h dinner service and went to the lounge car to meet my fellow travellers. As suspected they were- to be fair, like me - SKI grey nomad types and up for a natter. The main courses; choice of steak, pork, or lasagne, were cooked aboard and included in the fare. They were very serviceable. Also included is a wine or soft drink, so I chose a red to accompany the steak

I stayed up for a bit afterwards getting my bearings with GPS assistance before the zzzzs hit. I awoke before we hit Rockhampton and followed progress for a bit before sleep part two.

It’s now 1028h and we’re heading west along the Tropic of Capricorn with another nine hours of travel before Longreach.

It’s a bit of a shoogly ride, cruising at 85 mph mostly where possible, and low 60s elsewhere through grazing and wheat country it seems, but we haven’t hit the red soils yet. It’s highly-prized black soil agricultural country here.
The Longreach train at Roma Street ready for departure - the station also serves metro trains:
These pix


  • 5986D234-98B9-45BF-BB93-4A64274A5E7B.jpeg
    3.1 MB · Views: 0
  • 78EC64FF-0B8D-4DD1-96AF-A663C60A5667.jpeg
    3.3 MB · Views: 0
  • F9D92DD6-B91F-4833-95B6-DAB8FDC0A12C.jpeg
    3.2 MB · Views: 0
  • 8C7E8E3E-39F2-49FF-83E3-FB9C283B7B3D.jpeg
    2.8 MB · Views: 0
At Barcaldine there is a site which recognises the foundations of the workers’ political and industrial arms.


  • 25B065AB-F260-47D3-9F77-26D6710C083A.jpeg
    1.6 MB · Views: 0
  • 48CA621B-B56E-41DD-926A-21F5937224F4.jpeg
    2.2 MB · Views: 0
  • 8681050F-7C00-4EDE-8D86-59DBB179C272.jpeg
    3.2 MB · Views: 0
Almost at Longreach - about an hour still to run as we are well into the dark again at 1837h.

My Garmin tells me some details of the trip, but I think it has aggregated a few, so I will investigate later tonight and see what sense I can make of things.

This is a pic of the train just before its departure from the outback town of Barcaldine:



  • 235F1662-A230-4AA8-B276-AC5CCD407930.jpeg
    2.7 MB · Views: 0
Re-examining the shuffle pic, platform proximity can’t be the explanation. I’m taking the pic from the boarding portion of the platform where the double rail is on the right, so farther off the platform than along the upper part of the pic.

My apols for the gauchery of self-quoting, but I've returned to the dual-gauge shove-over. Just at the top of the pic you'll see what seems like a set of points, allowing a left turn - so perhaps it's connected to that. Is the engineering of points easier or safer with the double-rail on the inside of the turn rather than the outside of the turn? It'd be the outside rail of the turn which takes the greater lateral load, surely?

The shove-over seems to apply to just a few metres of track. I've have a look at the pic again and estimate that stretch is only about 20-30 metres. If I get a chance on my return through Southern Cross in about eight or nine days, I'll pace it out.
I’ve been in Longreach for a few days and had a look around. Of particular relevance yo this forum is the Qantas museum in Longreach. Qantas - Australia’s national carrier - was founded here in central-west Queensland. Indeed, the Q in Qantas stands for Queensland (Queensland and Northern Territory Air Services).

There are several ex-Qantas revenue planes on display, including some pre-WWII aircraft as well as a 707, 747, a Lockheed Constellation, and a DC3. I was happily there for a good couple of hours mooching along having a stickybeak. There are some interactive flying exhibits as well as displays of the evolution of Flight Attendants’ uniforms. There are various jet engines in the floor also. Fab stuff!
Some of the aircraft on display:


  • AD52F07B-8A36-4F33-A70B-141E50BAAB83.jpeg
    733.8 KB · Views: 0
  • 577BF087-7926-4369-8844-6F9C87A1A7A9.jpeg
    764.5 KB · Views: 0
  • 40780CAB-EBEF-407A-A4CB-F0FCB0808759.jpeg
    1.1 MB · Views: 0
  • 4409CF22-624D-4124-BA2B-0B1A1C1538C6.jpeg
    2.9 MB · Views: 0
  • E3EAF669-F856-4127-871E-3D3C307C1EDB.jpeg
    3.8 MB · Views: 0
  • 6A901663-A5AE-455D-A556-80D369EF9EDF.jpeg
    3.4 MB · Views: 0
  • 595CE970-3F9F-4698-8888-EC5A19FEAE19.jpeg
    3 MB · Views: 0
Before that I visited a cattle and sheep station (Oz for “ranch”) and saw a shearing demonstration, as well as toured the station spotting heaps of native wildlife including emu, kangaroos, camels, and heaps of bird life, all sharing the space with the sheep and cattle. That was a decent morning, too!
A mob of very young ‘roos in the middle distance hurry away from our vehicle through the grasslands - mostly young Big Reds it seems.


  • IMG_1005.MOV
    31.7 MB
There’s a lovely expression in Australian English used to describe someone who is barely in control of something, or is a bit stupid: they “Have kangaroos loose in the top paddock.” The above is a visual depiction of that expression :)
Another nice Oz expression might translate to a Texas or other beef-cattle area in the USA, and used to describe someone who is all words and little action. “He is all hat and no cattle!”
Oh yes, that expression has definitely come to the States and is widely used in Texas and even in the national capital far to the north and the east.