Across the Land and Over the Border we go
It’s no Orient Express, Shinkansen or even Polar Express! It’s the Overland Train travelling interstate from Melbourne Victoria Australia to the South Australian city of Adelaide. It’s 10 hours and $50AU dearer than the 45 minutes flight option. This is my thoughts on Ted’s decision to do this, embracing that, and enjoying the experience.
Ted decided it would be a good idea to catch the train to Adelaide. We’ve been invited over for the cricket.
Catching the train was my last choice. He loves trains and right now he’s as happy as a pig in shit. I would of chosen a road trip or flight over the train travel option.
I’ve travelled by train in Malaysia, Japan and China. We travelled on overnight first class trains in both Malaysia & China. Now, there first class train travel is very basic, but I enjoyed it. I was comfortable. The seating was basic but my feet didn’t swing in the breeze and I was able to lie down in our sleeper when I really wanted to relax.
I guess being in another country it was also exciting. In Japan we had a green card pass which is first class for the Shinkansen’s. They were great. Modern, fast and comfortable.
I’m traveling interstate in my own country. As much as I like Adelaide it isn’t as exciting being on a train in another country of course, but I’m not knocking back a weekend away.
We are on the Overland. I always have imagined rail travel interstate would be very comfortable with modern carriages. Not so is the Overland.
This train is old and noisy. Our VLine country trains are much more comfortable and modern. The ticket for this pleasure was $50 dearer than the 45 minute flight to Adelaide. We departed at 0805hrs and arrive around 1800hrs tonight. So a long 10 hour trip.
The seating if you are shorter in stature is uncomfortable. Your feet may swing in the breeze and there is no foot rest. No blanket or pillow has been offered and the temperature could be a tad warmer for me.
Interior of the Overland Train . No access for electronic devices, no wifi, no footrests for shorter people.
Interior of a Shinkansen in Japan. Comfortable seating.
The Interior of a Shinkansen. Modern, access for electronic media devices and foot stools! Thank you!
The Overland train seems popular for the grey haired traveller. There are some younger people on here but I feel a generation too young for this crowd on this carriage.
With no access to any electronics it’s like stepping back an era somewhere in the 1970’s where newspapers, magazines and books are opened for entertainment.
The toilets in the Shinkansen’s in Japan were modern and almost hotel like. On the Overland I felt like I was going to the toilet in Nan’s nursing home.
Overland toilet Premium class carriage
Considering that I see Australia as an affluent country and this train is privately owned by the Great Southern Railways, and we have a premium class ticket, and it’s an interstate train, I can’t help but be disappointed at what is on offer here in the way of aesthetics and comfort and meeting the needs of the modern traveller.
The food on the Overland is plentiful. Breakfast was served and it didn’t seem long after that the morning tea snack trolley came around. And we are almost about to be served lunch, so you won’t starve at least.
We’ve passed by Geelong, Aarat and lunch is on its way. We are 4.5 hours into the trip. Ted works whilst I blog.
Lunch arrived and we passed through Horsham and Dimboola. There was a changeover of driver and we were on our way again.
Chicken curry and rice which was quite nice
I now found myself in the dining carriage where I search of a power point to charge my phone. Here I stepped into the next generation like Michael Fox in the movie Back to the Future, being transported into time periods. The decor didn’t change but the patrons had.
Some guy sits close by charging his phone and computer. People chat and eat. I feel like I’ve left the nursing home temporarily.
Surprisingly, the train is quite full. It’s not begging for patrons. Others have flocked to this train as we did. I look around and wonder about these peoples lives. Where are they going, why did they choose to travel by train interstate like us? We did because Ted’s a train enthusiast but are all these other people? Some would not be going to Adelaide from Melbourne, some are traveling shorter distances so flying wasn’t an option, but those who could of gotten a $50 cheaper airfare ticket and a 9 hour and 15 minute quicker trip, why have they chosen the Overland for heck sake.
I guess life’s to be embraced and this it what embracing life is all about. Different experiences.
There’s more of a buzz in the dining carriage. I don’t feel like I’m in the library anymore, now perhaps an ambience of Coles cafeteria.
I look out the window at the dry flat barren land so typical of the Australian country landscape. We pull into Nhil a country town still within the Victorian borders.
We crossed over the Victorian and South Australian border into Border Town S.A whilst being served our dessert. This would have to be in amongst one of the best vanilla slices I have ever had.
30 minutes of time saved in the day. We are now on South Australian Time.
I sit and look out the window thinking of Banjo Patterson the Great Australian poet where my thoughts wonder to his writings about our great land, the Australian bush. Ted tells me that a previous Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke was born in Border Town. I’m back in the dining carriage with the main intent to charge my phone. It’s become a popular place now over 6 hours into the long haul. Power points are in demand for the modern era person.
There’s something different to sitting in a train carriage with the familiar sound of wheels turning on a track and the jolt and swaying of the carriage as it hustles along the track as opposed to the car and it’s road noise. It’s endearing. Diesel trains however don’t quite have the same nostalgia as steam trains.
I remember having lunch on one of our Victorian much loved steam trains, Puffing Billy . We ate and sipped on our white wine as the vintage steam train climbed the Dandenong ranges, window open and the occasional choo choo of the horn and puffs of steam outside the window. The sunshine streaming through the lush thick foliage, the beauty of the trackside ferns was in contrast to the landscape we are travelling across now.
The train slowed down as we went through the wheat town of Kimba S.A for us to see the artistry on the silo’s as we passed. They were beautiful. Incredible even.
Tap on the link below for more information about the Artist.
The train speeds up and we continue on our way. Along side the track appears this massive water pipe which runs for kilometres.
Before I know it, it’s afternoon tea. We are definitely not wanting for food on the Overland.
I’m back in the carriage and we’ve picked up a variety of ages along the way. Kids, parents and middle aged folk.
I have now over eaten and feeling like a well known puppet, Miss Piggy.
The train forges forwards with its patrons all carrying a belly full of food. We cross Murray Bridge the first bridge ever built to cross the mighty Murray River. Adelaide is becoming in sight. About 1.5 hours to go.
Ted keeps working and I keep blogging.
Back to the meal carriage and it’s power point location.
The Overland takes us through a picturesque lush inhabited area. It is the Adelaide Hills.
Railway crossings cars, people and their dogs are starting to appear amongst the greenery. We must be getting close to arrival.
We made it to Keswick terminal in Adelaide. Buses or trains do not leave from this station. It’s a 45 minute walk to the city or a taxi. We gathered our luggage and hopped in a taxi.
What a multi cultural country we live in.
We then arrived at our $600 a night hotel. All I can say is OMG! You can stay in Crown Towers Melbourne for that! Has the cricket pushed up the prices we ask ourselves?
Tomorrow we move Hotels and also head to the cricket, The Ashes, Australia v England. Corporate Box…… bring it on!