The Spirit of Queensland (Queensland Rail) - Australia

The Spirit of Queensland (Queensland Rail)
The Spirit of Queensland is a Queensland Rail long distance passenger rail service. It is operated by a diesel powered Tilt Train that runs five times a week on the North Coast line between Brisbane and Cairns, a distance of 1,681 kilometres. At the start of 2015 it replaced the diesel-hauled train The Sunlander.
Spirit of Queensland History
In October 2010, the Queensland Government awarded a contract to Downer Rail for the construction of a new Tilt Train. The two existing diesel tilt trains used on the Cairns service were also refurbished and extended in size, with the inclusion of first-class sleeping carriages. Known as the 'Sunlander 14' project, a total of 25 carriages would have been acquired:
  • two new power cars and 12 new carriages to create a third train set.
  • one spare power car (later two),
  • 10 new carriages to expand the two existing train sets to a 14-car consist,
  • refurbishment of 14 existing carriages from the existing train sets
By expanding the train length from nine to 14 carriages, three 'luxury' sleeping carriages, one 'first-class' lounge and one restaurant car could be included in the consist, replicating the services provided on The Sunlander. The construction of four new power cars allowed for the inclusion of the most up-to-date safety features in the driving car of each train, as well as minimising the risk of disruptions in the event that an incident occurred while a second power car was undergoing heavy maintenance.
The resulting project was costed at $195 million and allowed for the operation of five services a week, with a total capacity of 1320 seats. However, costs had risen by 2012, and the Queensland Auditor-General reported that the eventual cost would be from $358 to $404 million, because Queensland Rail had failed to take into account the requirement for upgraded maintenance facilities, as well as en route provisioning. The Auditor-General also believed Queensland Rail had overestimated how popular the new service would be, and had a mistaken belief that the 'luxury' component of the train would attract more high-paying customers.
In 2013 the project was scaled back, with the train length being reduced to nine cars by removing the luxury sleepers and restaurant cars. That resulted in a revised project cost of $204 million.
In October 2013 the first refurbished Tilt Train entered service on the existing Brisbane to Cairns service. With the introduction of the Tilt Train, which has a maximum speed of 160km/h, the journey time was reduced to 24 hours 55 minutes.
Spirit of Queensland Train Layout
Each Spirit of Queensland Train Layout:
  • two power cars to drive the train and supply power to the carriages,
  • two 'railbed' sleeper cars with airline style lie-flat seating,
  • three premium economy sitting cars,
  • one luggage / staff carriage
  • one lounge / galley / club car
Spirit of Queensland Further Information
The Spirit of Queensland combines modern seating and entertainment options with the charm of long distance rail travel. Contemporary, comfortable and designed for relaxation.
Travelling between Brisbane and Cairns five times a week, the Spirit of Queensland redefines the modern rail travel experience with a comfortable and convenient way to access spectacular holiday destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays, Townsville and Cairns and everywhere in between.​
​​​So wherever you're heading, the Spirit of Queensland will have you relaxed from the moment you step aboard to the time you arr​ive at your destination.
Spirit of Queensland Route
Spirit of Queensland Route: Brisbane to Cairns
Spirit of Queensland Distance: 1681 kms
Spirit of Queensland Departs Brisbane: Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri & Sat at 3.45pm
Spirit of Queensland Duration: 24 hrs
Spirit of Queensland Departs Cairns: Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri & Sun at 9.00am
Spirit of Queensland Services
  • In Seat Entertainment
  • In Seat Service
  • Bed Linen
  • Amenities Pack
  • Power Adapter
Spirit of Queensland Onboard Facilities
  • Club Car
  • Luggage
  • Travel Options
  • Toilet
  • Drink Fountain
  • Showers
  • Disabled Accessibility
Spirit of Queensland Overview
Spirit of Queensland Service Type: Passenger Train
Spirit of Queensland Status: Operating
Spirit of Queensland Locale: Queensland
Spirit of Queensland First Service: 28 October 2013
Spirit of Queensland Current Operator(s): Queensland Rail
Spirit of Queensland Start: Brisbane
Spirit of Queensland End: Cairns
Spirit of Queensland Distance Travelled: 1,681 kilometres
Spirit of Queensland Average Journey Time: 24hrs, 55mins
Spirit of Queensland Service Frequency: 5 each way per week
Spirit of Queensland Track Gauge: 1,067mm
Spirit of Queensland On-Board Services
Spirit of Queensland Seating Arrangements: Yes
Spirit of Queensland Sleeping Arrangements: Yes


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